OUR INSPIRATION

While India is an eclectic and vibrant mixture of cultures, traditions, customs, and people, it is also home to 33% of the world’s poor. Among the poor that live in India, approximately 70% reside in rural areas that often lack access to safe drinking water, sufficient food, and basic facilities. However, it is the people of these rural communities that contribute to feeding the rest of the country and the world

In early 2013, Amrita University’s Chancellor, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma), proposed a program in which Amrita students and faculty, in conjunction with students and faculty from international universities, could spend two weeks to 6 months in villages in India in order to understand current challenges and, subsequently, develop sustainable solutions.

The program was officially launched by Amrita’s Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, University of California, San Diego on September 27th, 2013. READ MORE »»

OUR VISION

The Amrita Live-in-LabsTM program aims to expose youth to problems faced by rural communities in India. Through experiential learning opportunities, participants put theory into practice by generating innovative solutions, thereby facilitating critical and collaborative problem solving abilities of participants.

OUR PROGRAM

Amrita Live-in-LabsTM is a multidisciplinary experiential learning program that facilitates the research, development, and deployment of sustainable solutions for current challenges faced by rural communities in India. The program is designed to engage participants in a mutual learning and sharing experience by breaking classroom and lab barriers to implement theoretical knowledge to address real world problems. The program allows participants to study, observe, and interact with rural populations while living in rural communities to gain a better understanding of challenges in the areas of Health & Livelihood, Education & Technology, Environment & Farming, Energy, and Infrastructure & Basic Facilities. The University of California, San Diego (USA), was the first institution to sign on as an international partner for the Amrita Live-in-LabsTM program.

OUR APPROACH

Since the emphasis of the program is on mutual sharing and learning, we at Amrita strongly believe in taking an inclusive approach to addressing challenges and, therefore, encourage students to work with rural populations to come up with sustainable solutions. As a result, the program is designed as a two-way model of sharing and learning and encourages students to be open to "other ways of thinking".

OUR PLAN

International students, both undergraduates and graduates, can spend one month to a semester (4- 6 months) as a member of an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty at one of the program sites (villages). Before heading to a village, students will receive an orientation about village life and culture. Following the orientation, students will either join an existing on-going project or identify a new project that addresses a challenge in a particular village. Subsequently, students will design, test, and implement an affordable, comprehensive, and sustainable solution to the specified challenge.

After students complete their time in the field, they will submit a report about the village, the challenge they addressed, and the subsequent solution that was applied. Students will also make an oral presentation to Amrita faculty about their work and their overall experience in the village.

Please Note: As the program primarily revolves around field work, projects and project locations may change due to unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, all participants are requested to be flexible while confirming projects and locations.

This program is overwhelmingly positive and I give it my personal recommendation. Not only was I able to experience the amazing and tantalizing culture of India, but I was able to observe and immerse myself in the remote tribal villages of Southern India. I was able to grow as a person while fostering friendships and bridging my cultural understanding of how societies organize and operate.
 
students-speak
Brandon Arkinson
Bachelors in Disability Studies
Ryerson University, Canada 
Service Year: 2015
This experience gave me hands-on skills and re-energized my passion for Public Health. I learned a lot about living in India and about Kerala’s rich culture.
 
students-speak
Kelsey O’Brien
Masters in Public Health
Harvard University, USA
Service Year: 2015