February 17, 2011
Department of Social Work, Coimbatore
Students from the Department of Social Work at Coimbatore recently participated in a national conference, Social Development in India: New Vistas and Challenges, presenting papers that covered many dimensions of social development.
Conference themes included eradication of poverty and hunger, gender equality, education, health, youth, mortality, human resource development, rural, tribal and urban development.
M. Deepu, Ravi Mohan R. and Madhusudanan S., first-year students of MSW (Master of Social Work) presented a paper titled Differently Abled and Social Development.
The paper focused on the fact that people with certain handicaps are not generally disabled but differently abled. The authors highlighted the need to raise public awareness about this as also the need for social inclusion of such people.
“Even though national policy seeks to create an environment that provides the differently abled with equal opportunities, protection of their rights and their full participation in society remains a challenge,” the students noted.
They provided the example of a 2001 court order that declared that banks and ATMs should have access ramps and provision for Braille coding. “Most banks still have not complied,” the students reported.
The students also highlighted the work of Indian NGOs committed to the empowerment of the differently abled. They provided the example of UDIS Forum in Coimbatore that is currently training 2000 differently abled persons to take up jobs in the IT Park in Coimbatore. They also mentioned the Kochi-based Prathyasha Foundation that annually organizes community marriage ceremonies for differently abled couples.
The second paper presentation titled Impact of Education on Kerala’s Social Development by Ravi Mohan R. analyzed the intrinsic and instrumental effects of education on Kerala’s impressive social development.
The author used the parameters of UNDP’s Human Development Indices and UN Millennium Development Goals in the analysis.
“This Kerala Model of social development has gained worldwide recognition due to the fact that even with moderate economic growth, great success in human well-being was achieved,” the author noted.
Another paper written by Madhusudanan S., Ravi Mohan R. and Anne R. titled Experience of Social Work Trainees in Educational Settings in Ettimadai Town Panchayat, Coimbatore was also presented.
The students described the positive outcomes of various resources, activities and psychosocial interventions in a specific school district. A village resource center, nature club, promotion of health and awareness classes for the differently abled were specifically mentioned.