SAHRDAYAM-Community Development Initiative

Objectives of the Practice:

  • To generate among the faculty and students a deeply ingrained urge to be informed about and to be involved in community issues and causes.
  • To transform the valuable youth energy to serve the society.
  • To foster among faculty and students spontaneous and joyous response to volunteer and social action.
  • To ensure active and creative societal involvement in the development of students through collaborating with communities related to it.

The Context

As the institution is situated in a rural area, most people are economically weak and need assistance – economical, educational, medical and skill sets. Setting energetic youngsters at the centre of development processes can ensure inclusive and sustainable involvement. Sahrdayam is a programme that enables the students to organise ample and affordable support programmes for the local community. The upcoming generation needs to be sensitive to these people and this sensitiveness would make them appreciate the under privileged and indulge in humanitarian activities.

Practice

In collaboration with the Local Bodies, students of the institution have been conducting different social service activities. The services are extended to almost every nook and corner of Kodakara Panchayath and have been continuing for several years.

The Department of Value Education had decided to provide meals to the needy people in the poor home at Kodakara, namely Emmanuel Kripa. This is a home for the mentally disabled Women run by a private trust and managed by Rev.Sr. Jancy, who has dedicated her life for the upliftment of such helpless mentally challenged women. The Department, realizing the need to inculcate the Value of sharing, decided to motivate the students to provide lunch to the inmates of Emmanuel Kripa once in a week – on Mondays.

Students are always active contributors when it comes to donating blood at times of casualty and actively participate and coordinate awareness programmes.

In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the institution deliberately launched the Covid Outreach Activity in an attempt to amalgamate all the endeavours of social commitment under a common banner. It began with the distribution of facemasks and sanitizers to the public which signified the institution’s motive to ensure the safety of the public as its prime concern.

ln order to raise awareness regarding the importance of vaccination in confronting the Covid -19 pandemic, a survey was conducted by the Covid Cell of the institution on 16th April,202l . 5 teachers and 15 students constituted the team for conducting the survey. The survey aimed to evaluate the knowledge, attitude, and practices of the participants towards the Corona virus vaccine and to further encourage them to take full dose of vaccine. Data were collected from the people residing in Pulipparakunnu Ward 16 of Kodakara Grama Panchayath. The NSS unit of the institution arranged an awarness programme in Kodakara to raise awareness against Covid -19 and the importance of taking vaccine.

The NSS unit of the college observed the NSS Day by distributing Covid prevention kit to the public. As the second outreach activity in Covid-19 pandemic, the institution distributed prevention kits to the employees of MGNRE(Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme) and to the auto drivers of Kodakara Grama Panchayath, in order to create among them awareness on preventive measures. SCAS arranged an outreach programme – Reach to the Unreachable at kudumbasree hall of Kodakara panchayath on June 08, 2020.

The NSS volunteers conducted DISHA: a post-covid socio-economic survey. The students visited around 120 houses as part of this and conducted a detailed study in order to identify the necessities of the people. Considering the psychological impact of Covid-19 on the students, the Counselling Cell of the institution offered counselling services to the Covid-19 affected students and their families, as and when required. The College management insisted on giving due concern and special attention to students and families directly affected by the pandemic. In the difficult situation of the pandemic and lockdown, the students had a tough time dealing with the sudden change in their routine and lifestyle.

As part of the fight against the second wave of Covid-19 virus, the institution handed over Medical Equipments to Kodakara Panchayath. The programme was inaugurated by distributing medical kits to 20 wards of Kodakara Panchayath by Finance Officer Fr. Shaju Chirayath by handing over medical equipment kits to Kodakara Panchayath President Shri. Ambili Soman. The medical kit included pulse-oximeter, digital thermometer and steamer.

The institution extended its hands towards the under privileged by organizing the distribution of Covid-19 prevention kits to the inmates of the Sasthampoovam tribal community on 4th June 2020.

The institution in collaboration with the Health Department of Kerala actively initiated various outreach activities as part of flood relief including food kit and medicine distribution. Free medical camps and counselling services were arranged for the affected community.

The Nature Club always stays alert in creating awareness on sustainable environment and hence students engage in various activities including sapling distribution and cleaning initiatives of public spaces.

The institution is offering community services including charity measures and social services in an unparalleled scale which is evident from construction of houses for the needy. Extending financial aid for the repair and maintenance of houses are also provided in this regard.

The institution addresses the illiterate and marginalized sections of the society with a keen interest so as to ensure that illiteracy is eradicated. The institution has initiated training sessions and classes on basic English skills and IT-literacy programmes in precept with this.

The institution organizes various career guidance programmes and appreciates the achievements of children from local community in arts and sports.

Identifying the employment needs of the public, the institution organizes career expos which are exclusively free.

The institution organizes various welfare programmes for the differently abled including culture meets and nutrition programmes for the pregnant women and children  of the Panchayath, which is a testimony for its concern towards the under privileged.

Evidence of success

The Human Excellence Department of our institution is highly successful in delivering sustainable and meaningful orientation programmes for the students which is evident for the zeal and enthusiasm the students express, while engaging in such community development initiatives. The social outreach programmes has inculcated among the students an empathetic attitude towards the sick, aged and disabled people. This was noticed during the Covid-19 pandemic times when the students on their own volunteered, in their respective areas of residence, to render service in collaboration with the Health Department. A vibrant platform of hundreds of Nature Club members is successful in organizing cleaning activities and pollution eradication measures in the community. The students sensitize the community on sustainable environment measures. Students are now more interested in nature preservation and environmental protection activities. We can easily identify many areas where there is a concrete role for the students in fund-raising, spreading awareness and even providing psychological support to the needy people. The community and the local bodies wholeheartedly support our students in the activities. As envisaged in the mission statement of the institution, the project is on its successful path in fulfilling its mission. The output of the project is measured and evaluated by the progress made during the last years.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

The project is supported financially by the staff, students, alumni and well-wishers. But the effective functioning of the project activities need extra funding. This is usually met by support from well-wishers. The scarcity of such well-wishers in this area does pose a threat to the financial stability of the project. Being a Self-financing institution, the institution has financial constraints on unleashing the full potential of various events and it needs to be solved by availing public-private participation or by setting up a special fund for the purpose. Another problem we encounter is the shortage of time because of the tight academic schedule. With the introduction of semester system and with introduction of many other extracurricular activities on the campus we are constrained to limit the activities within the time frame.