VILLAGE NAME: Natham Kariacheri
Village Team Members (PGPM): Saptarishi Saha, Shaileja A Verma (Village Coordinator & Section Coordinator), Sunny Suresh,
Village Team Members (PGDM): Ankur Baj (Village Representative), Anuj Ajay Kumar Shrivastava, Arnav Talwar, Mannem Anudeep Reddy, Shiven Saluja, Ramyaa Ramesh
Village Coordinator:'Vijayshree S Menon'
Our journey so far...
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will... Kariacheri - a village we never heard of has gradually become something close to our heart. As a part of the Karma Yoga project , we started working with village in Kariacheri.
About the village
Natham-Kariacheri is a village panchayat under the ThirukazhukundramTaluk in the Kanchipuram District of Tamilnadu. Natham and Kariacheri are two sister villages that are clubbed under the same village panchayat. It is about 5 KM to the east of Great Lakes Institute of Management, quite near to the pristine beaches of the Bay of Bengal.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the village residents. During off-season, they get employment in the nearby towns like Thirukazhukundram, Chengalpattu, Mamallapuram etc. Many people are permanently employed at the Kalpakkam Atomic Power station, which is 8 kms from the village. Many are also into the Limestone Business
There is a primary school at Kariacheri (till Standard V) and a high school at Natham (till Standard X). Children are enrolled in these two schools. The schools run with basic infrastructure.
Healthcare is poor in this panchayat. Villagers often have to go to Chengalpattu town to get good medical care at the Government General Hospital.
Karma Yoga activities:
Great lakeshas been associated with Kariacheri Village as a part of KY project for the past 3 years since 2009. The areas of focus in this village has mainly been education, SHG ,creating Health awareness, conducting health camps, Skill training &Agri business.
In 2009, the students found few areas where they could pitch in and empower the villagers. They worked with women Self-help groups, the village school and the health facilities available in the village
In 2010, the students from great lakes focussed on Education , Medical camp, Skill training Programme, & Organic Farming. In 2011, the students worked on Health awareness programs , Education & SHG front.
In the education front the following have been done in the last 3 years In 2009: The school children though eager to learn don't have a proper means to do so. Their only support comes from the teachers in the school. GL students tried to improve their awareness about the potential opportunities available to them in the world beyond their village. They were able to convince the school headmaster to meet up with a few corporate and convince them to pay for buying new books for their library. In 2010: GL team took up English and Basic Computer training for secondary school children of Natham village. In 2011: GL Students started teaching children spoken English. We slowly realised that there would be greater benefit, if we could establish science clubs in village. Hence in collaboration with TNSF, we established a science club in our village. It was named Sir C.V RamanTulir Science club. The aim of this club is to teach science through simple experiments and broaden their thinking. It is meant to facilitate learning through fun. We identified Mr.Yoganathan, the local person in the village as its coordinator. Science club formation events:
As a part of this activity, GL students also conducted a star gazing event through telescope in the village. It was a huge hit. Children & adults participated with great zeal and saw Venus& the Moon with its craters.
GL Students also showed the children some motivational videos on people such as the entrepreneurSharathBabu and Tamil Nadu 10th Std.Board Exam toppers so that they could take inspiration and study hard. SHG:
Interacting with the village women was an enriching experience. Their state of affairs is not very different from what we see in the moving documentaries. The raw passion with which they talk tells you something about the years of yearning to do something extraordinary. Though not many had any clue about what they wanted to do 5-10 years from now, not one lady wanted to see life simply pass by.
It was understood that most of the villagers did not even know about the benefits that a self-help group can offer. The first priority was to spread awareness of its existence to the neediest persons of the village. In this regard, GL students were able to convince the self-help group members to come up with a list of women in the village who were interested to start small entrepreneurial ventures with the financial backup provided to be provided by the self-help groups.
GL team spoke to the members of Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in the village who are looking to take up new business opportunities. The skills they would learn would help them supplement their income from Agriculture, their main occupation. GL team has contacted EdServ, a leading education and training firm, to organise these trainings through funding from Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
GL team contacted an organization called Prakriti which was into paper bags business. The students had a discussion with the owner to conduct training in the village for the SHG women.
GL students contacted M/s Scope International's CSR division. Apart from educating the villagers and conducting HIV awareness campaign
As a part of spreading health awareness we decided to start from SHG. GL Students contacted RUWSEC Hospital in Karumarapakkam , which conducts several health programs, camps for women's healthcare. RUWSEC will be formally involved in conducting health awareness programs in the village. As a part of this program, GL students arranged for the first health session conducted by RUWSEC on general women's health. The turnout was encouraging.
The primary occupation for most of the village folks is agriculture. They are currently cultivating one crop a year; mostly rice. GL students decided to make them aware of the benefits of crop-rotation and contract farming. In this regard, they interacted with agricultural expert Mr.Madhavan from IIT to give a talk to these villagers. Mr.Madhavan is known to impart training for farmers charging a very nominal fee for his services. He even guides the farmers who undertake his training in their 2 subsequent harvests.
GL team came across Mrs.Sabitha, a resident of the Kariacheri village, actively involved in organic farming. She is interested to take up organic farming to other nearby villages and promote it as a viable business. GL students also worked with her in assisting her promote organic farming in the village. The Journey continues . . . . .