International Partners : Brandon Arkinson, Heather Margaret, Emma Norris, Sharla Everd, and Kimberley Slimming, Ryerson University, Canada
Amrita Partners : Fathima Salim, Happy Cordiallangstieh, Sasikala P., Sherlyn Gracious, and Akash Panigrahi, Department of Social Work
Village: Komalikudi, Kerala
Project Duration: 1 month
Identified Challenge & Aim: With increased poverty, spiraling debt, and and an inability to find sustainable employment, many villagers turn towards alcohol to drown their sorrows. Seeing this behavior, the next generation is also succumbing to its detrimental effects with families being torn apart and children dropping out of school. Therefore, alcoholism has become a growing concern among rural communities.
The Study/Innovation: The team conducted semi-structured interviews to understand social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and technological factors and features in the village. They also went around the village and made a resource map. This gave the team a clear picture of the sustainable resources available in the village and helped the team understand the quantity of the resources available. This was subsequently followed by several activities with village children. The first activity was a general knowledge quiz for tribal children to assess their aptitude on topics such as family, body awareness, and nutrition. Next, the team conducted activities and programs to support the underlying philosophy of developing respect for Mother Nature, emphasizing that lessons from nature can contribute to increasing self-esteem and foster a connection with the environment. The team then utilized an immersive app to teach children about basics in math and English. This was followed by programs about the ill effects of alcohol and substance abuse, using storytelling, drama, mime, and videos. Lastly, the team hosted football games where village adolescents learned about self-respect, self-confidence, teamwork, cooperation, organizational structure, and dynamic problem solving.
At the end of all the activities, the team conducted an impact analysis using pre-determined parameters and scales via a tablet-based survey.