VILLAGE NAME: Neikuppi
Work undertaken in the village till date
Our journey in the Karmayoga Leadership Experiential Project started in May. It was a new experience for all of us to visit such a small and beautiful village. We walked through the village during our initial visits trying to get to know the village and its people. We played with the village children, got to know their interests, hobbies and aspirations. We also spoke to the youngsters to find out that there are graduates in the village who are looking for jobs. Our point of contact (POC) Mr Ezhumalai had been extremely helpful during our attempts to understand the village and its situation. To establish more connections and widen our reach in the village, we organized an address and an interaction session with Mr S Narasimhan (Manager- NABARD, Founder- Bharathi Foundation Thiruvaiyaru, Tamilnadu) and a drawing competition for the children on Sunday, 2nd June. We distributed pamphlets in the village, personally inviting most of the villagers for the event which resulted in good level of participation from the villagers for the event.
Initially we had started teaching English and other subjects to all the students from 1st -12thStd in the two tuition centres in the village. We used pictures, videos and other means to make learning as fun and as interesting as possible. As time went by we realized that to develop leadership skills within ourselves and to make the villagers self-sufficient, their dependency on us had to be reduced. Hence instead of teaching the younger children in the village, we formed a sub team to focus on English education for students of classes 8th – 12th. The plan was to focus on creating self-learning opportunities through videos, reading assignments etc. and make the senior students capable of teaching the younger students.
Videos, animation movies and short films of educational value and social awareness were used at various occasions for their learning. A projector from college was used for screening the videos.
We started interactive sessions with the youngsters (mainly unemployed engineering graduates) of the village, focusing on spoken English, aptitude training and interview preparations. We also used visual aids like Spoken English Tutorial videos to enable easier understanding. However the response from youngsters had been disappointing in the beginning. Our lecturers conducted one informal session but the turnout remained minimal. The youth of our village were more interested in playing cricket and this had hampered our interaction with them.
Cricket Match as an Entry Tactic: Thus we decided to go to their home ground and create opportunities to interact with them through cricket. Great Lakes cricket team played against the Village team. The match was a proper cricket contest with both the teams playing their hearts out. Meanwhile, we interacted with the players who had not come to our previous sessions. It was a good starting point for us to interact and we become friendly with all the village players. We discussed our agenda with them and tried to persuade them to attend our youth sessions and many responded positively. From then on we were able to conduct the sessions on a regular basis.
Blood Donation Camp
Neikuppi KY team also helped TamilNadu Science Forum (TNSF) and Neikuppi village to conduct a Blood Donation camp at Neikuppi. We received good support from the village and our institute with around 30 students from GL attending the camp to donate blood. The event also helped us in getting connected with TNSF.
We celebrated with the students by screening videos and documentaries that depicted India's freedom struggle, freedom fighters, Indian map, Presidents, Prime ministers Etc. We also had a video consisting of speech by Dr Abdul Kalam, addressed to school children. We thus tried to celebrate Independence Day by creating maximum awareness amongst children about our country, the history of the freedom struggle and our freedom fighters.
The second KY Convention was held on 24th Aug. 8 villagers including Farmers, Housewives, and working youth attended the convention from Neikuppi. The convention created ample opportunities for the villagers to interact with experts on Health, Agriculture and education sectors receiving specific inputs addressing rural needs.
Teacher’s Day Celebration
A greeting card making contest was conducted for the students and each of them made a greeting card for their teachers and wished them. Mrs MallikaViswanathan, former principal of Adarsh Vidyalaya and grandmother of one of the team members was kind enough to come from Chennai to address the students and the villagers. Events like Musical chairs, short race, singing and dance were conducted and performers were rewarded with chocolates and candies to appreciate their courage and talent.
Neikuppi had a considerable number of cattle, goats etc with no proper animal medical facility close by, Hence we came up with idea of conducting a Veterinary camp to help the villagers. We successfully conducted the veterinary camp at our village on 19th Oct. We used different marketing ideas to publicize the event. Distributing pamphlets, meeting MNREGA workers at their workplace, informing students etc. were some of those. The event went on smooth with over 150 animals being treated including goats, hen, cows and buffaloes. The success can be credited to the efforts of Dr. Mariappan& Team and the cooperation and help from the villagers especially our POCs
Public Toilet Issue
To get the unused Public toilet opened and functional, we joined hands with Self-help group heads Mrs.Jayanthi and Mrs Ranganayaki to convey the message to villagers staying near to the Public toilet facility. We conducted a survey in this part of the village and collected the list of households without toilet facility and used the opportunity to try and convince them the importance of using toilets and not defecating in the open. After continued efforts and with the help of self-help heads, a meeting was conducted with all the women near the Toilet facility area. Today they have started using the toilet facility and we take pride in convincing people about the facilities’ health benefits and how it improves their standard of living as a whole.
Tuition Centre in Colony
We also succeeded in convincing the people that tuition centre had to be reopened in the Ambetkar colony area and the classes should be continued like last year. 4 youngsters and Mrs. Devaki agreed to take care of the setting up. And the classes eventually started on 28thwith around 25 students and the youngsters promised to continue this the whole year.