Friday, 25 September 2015

Exploring our rural roots

As we entered the bus, one by one, all of us were equally excited for the overnight visit that would expose us to the rural environment of Karnataka. This excursion, which was undertaken by the final year undergraduate students of Sociology between 31st July to 1st August, was directed with the help of the Centre for Social Action. The main objective of the trip was to create awareness among the students about the rural life of India by sensitizing them to rural communities. One of the main tasks assigned to us was to study the village system and its important components.After a journey of around 2 hours, we reached the base camp in Halasinakayipura village, Hoskote, where we received a warm welcome from Mrs.Shakuntala, the head of the village cluster. She rendered a brief summary of the developmental activities that were initiated in the village by CSA. We were made aware of how CSA had worked in the village for the first 7 years after which all the responsibilities were given to the villagers for better functioning. She also oriented us with the challenges faced by them before the advent of CSA to the village, which include – lack of awareness about the nutrition to be provided to children and pregnant women, problems in the areas of education, financial inclusion and women’s position in society.
We were met by Mr.Ranjit Kumar Singh after a delicious lunch. We had an enthusiastic ice-breaker session with him, after which he gave us instructions about the activities to be done. All of us were divided into 2 groups and had to visit two different villages with our respective leaders.
              Team Ragi Mudde visited the village of Chikanallala, where on visiting the school [Nammoora Sarkaari Hiriya Prathamika Shaale] they interacted with the headmaster. The students found out about the day-to-day functioning of the school and the problems faced by them, one among which was the lack of benefits received from the government. Further, the students visited two households, where they had friendly encounters with the inhabitants. They learnt about the functioning of self help groups and how the men of the houses enthusiastically supported their wives in all of their endeavours. One of the interesting experiences of the students was weaving silk with a charkha that was improvised by the wheel of a cycle. This was looked at as a source of additional income.
Activities were carried out in Halasinakayipura by Team Suhaas’s Angels. They visited the school in the village, agricultural fields and two houses after which they observed a self help group meeting. All this gave them a firsthand experience of the daily circumstances of rural society. The students learnt songs in Kannada from the schoolchildren. They saw fresh crops being grown and were also offered a few vegetarian delicacies like tomatoes and ridge gourds. On their way back to the base camp, they also had the opportunity to witness a beautiful peacock in the forest.  
As the day came to an end, the two groups returned to the base camp, tired and exhausted. Everyone had a scrumptious dinner and retired for the night.
The following morning proved to be a peaceful delight with the smell of fresh earth and the sound of birds singing. Consequently, most of us went out for a morning stroll, exploring the interiors of the village. After a tasty breakfast, we prepared ourselves for Shramdhaan, or the gift of service, which was to be provided in the form of painting the school walls of the Halasinakayipura School. An artistic quarter of us were involved in painting the water cycle and depicting the stages of a woman’s life through our colours and brushes. The rest of us applied coats of primer on the other walls. Completing this task took a time period of 3 hours after which we had a session of reflection with Mr.Ranjit Singh.
All of us shared our experiences during the session and discussed the learning outcome. We reflected and internalized our roles as agents of change in order to transform the adverse situations in rural society. We conversed about the importance of development projects and the session ended with us giving a few suggestions as to how this rural exposure programme for students could be improved. We had a wholesome lunch and set out on our way back.
In its entirety, it was a beautiful experience that widened our perspectives and gave us multiple dimensions of looking at the world.



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