Hi all, greetings from FSL India’s Centre for Experiential Living (CEL), Kundapur!
Margaux, a long-term volunteer (LTV) writes to us again about an awareness raising activity on sanitation she has been carrying out for children in the Kanchipuram District of Tamil Nadu.
“On 17th June 2014, I (Ms. Margaux, LTV volunteer working in Water and Sanitation with FSL-India) continued my journey towards promoting good hygienic methods towards achieving better sanitary conditions among children in Panchayat Union Primary School in Thenneri, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu.
I found that puppetry is a good medium to get the attention of children which make them attentive to the issue addressed. On this finding, we conducted a puppetry show for the children belonging to the 8-9 years age group in Thenneri. It is a kind of fairy tale telling to the children through puppets. I drew the characters of the tale and made the puppets by sticking the pictures drawn on the stick.
It is the story of the kingdom in which the people fell ill all of a sudden and the reason for their illness was anonymous. The princess Stella asked the wise Horseman of the kingdom to roam through the kingdom to find out the cause of the disease and how to cure it. He travelled across many lands and seas, finally found that the water which was supplied for drinking purpose from the pond caused the illness. He met the magician on the way back and the magician made the soap out of magic and asked the horseman to give to the people for use. He further insisted the horseman when and how it had to be used like before eating food and cooking; after going to the toilet etc. Then the horseman met the doctor who insisted that the water has to be boiled before drinking; he also explained how the water is getting polluted such as through open defecation etc. Finally the horseman came back to meet the people and insisted the personal hygiene methods to keep away from diseases. He left the message that “PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE”.
I am really excited to convey the message through puppets by acting out as the puppets behind the screen. Of course, FSL-India Chennai Team helped me with Tamil voice over. I am very happy to make the children to be attentive to hear the fairy tale story through the puppets. I believe that they carry the message and not only follow the personal hygiene themselves but also spread among their friends as well.”
On the 10th of June, 2014, the Home Based Project (HBP) team carried out an appropriate technologies demonstration in Senapur and Marvante (Kundapura). 23 children gathered for the demonstration.This activity was inspired by a demonstration that previously took place in our HYSCO camp in Tamil Nadu.
The HBP team members carried out three demonstrations:
Using tetra-packs to make mats
By cutting and ironing out 145 tetra-packs, HBP team members, along with the children created 12 floor mats.
Using spoiled milk to make paint
Spoiled milk, lemon juice and beetroot juice were added together before being filtered to create natural paint for children to use
Using eucalyptus oil to make natural hand sanitizer
Adding cooking oil and lemon juice to eucalyptus leaves, storing it for five days before filtering out the liquid, participants produced natural hand sanitizer
On the 28th and 29th of May, our Chennai team, along with Margaux, a long-term volunteer (LTV), conducted a workshop on Home Remedies for Diseases in the villages of Thenneri and Echoor in Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu.
The aim of the workshop was to show participants how diseases or illnesses such as cholera, malaria and the common cold can be cured by natural resources that are available at home. The session began with an informative video on cholera, malaria and the common cold – how it spreads and what steps to take to tackle it. After that, the facilitators actually demonstrated to the participants how to make home-made solutions from resources such as ginger, neem leaves, lemon, onions and black pepper.
From the 3rd of March to the 23rd of March, we had two volunteers from the United States participate in a Construction/Environment/Tibetan Culture themed workcamp in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Even though it was a small group, our two team leaders aided the two international volunteers to achieve satisfaction and fulfilment that they sought through volunteerism.They actively took part in various activities including painting a school wall and black board, and educational drawing at Dharamkot Government Primary School.
The two motivated volunteers conducted sessions on health and hygiene awareness to the school children, and almost 40 children benefited from this activity. The volunteers also cleaned an open field located in McLeodganj along with the staff from a local NGO called Waste Warriors, with an aim to promote awareness among the local community in keeping their surroundings clean.
As part of their inter-cultural learning, the volunteers had the opportunity to interact with Tibetan monks. They also took part in a Tibetan cooking session. Although the volunteers were busy doing all of these activities, they had just enough spare time at the end of their stay to take part in a site seeing excursion to a Hindu temple, Baghsu waterfalls, Dalai Lama Temple, the Tibet Museum, and the Tibetan Children’s Village community. The volunteers also did a presentation about their country traditions and cultural aspects for the school children.
Manoj, a beneficiary of the 11th and 12th Happy Move Camp, gives a personal account of his experiences and shares the actions he’s taken based on what he learned.
“I am Manoj, studying 5th Standard in Panchayat Union Primary School in Senthamangalam, Kancheepuram District. During August 2013 (11th Happy Move Camp 2013), the Anna (brother) and Akka (sister) from Korea came to our school and took many activities such as renovat[ing] the toilets, hand wash platform etc… We all were so excited. After they left, [in] October 2013, one Anna from FSL-India came to our school and formed [the] Children’s Parliament in our school to monitor and keep the school premises [and] toilets clean and neat. I became [a] member of the Environment Committee of the Children’s Parliament. FSL-India Anna came to our school often and started insisting on green and clean environment.
Again, [in] January 2014 (12th Happy Move Camp 2014), Korean Anna and Akka again came to my school for camp… This time, [a] few of them came to my house and planted a tree with [a] tree guard in the open space. They all identified me and told me to water the plant daily. Being [a] member of [the] Environment Committee, I [was] so inspired and decided to grow the garden at my home. I discussed with my thaththa (grandfather); he also encouraged me and helped me to promote [a] kitchen garden two months ago.
Now there are brinjal, green chilli, water melon, cluster beans etc. grown in my garden. I feel very proud to say that this is the garden created by me and it is my own plants…! Now I am moving to another school for my higher class… I [will] tell my new friends to grow plants [in] their homes…!”
During the months of July and August, 2013, FSL-India had collaborated with Better World Korea, Hyundai Motors India and Hyundai Motor Company Korea for the 11th Happy Move Camp in Pappankuzhi, Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu.
A kitchen garden had been promoted then and on the 22nd of April, 2014, a field office of our Chennai team went to visit it. To their great pleasure, the field officer found the small 10 ft x 4 ft kitchen garden extremely well maintained. The banana, curry leaves and drumstick trees were flourishing in the kitchen garden. In addition, the fence was fully covered beautifully with the climber of broad beans to make the kitchen garden very green and shadowy.
During the month of March, 2014, a Children’s Parliament was formed in the Panchayat Union Primary and Middle Schools to monitor and follow-up the activities of the 12th Happy Move Camp (HMC). The 8 villages that the Children’s Parliament is to monitor are Ayyamicheri, Thiruvankaranai, Uthukadu, Echoor, Senthamangalam, Thenneri, Shingadivakkam and Melottivakkam in the Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu.
Four committees were formed to monitor:
- Environment committee
- Water and Sanitation Committee
- Health and Hygiene Committee
- Nutrition Committee
The Children’s Parliament will not only cultivate the habit of keeping oneself healthy and hygienic, but also motivate other children and community members to do so as well.
On the 10th of April, 2014, a Health and Hygiene session was conducted for nearly 40 women and men in Thiruvankaranai, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. The topic of this session was awareness on hand washing methods; the steps, and its implications such as cholera and pneumonia.
On the 6th of February 2014, our Home Based Project’s Tent School team took Senapur’s tent school children and their parents to the Nada Guddeangadi Primary Health Center in Kundapura for a health check-up. Two volunteers, Ms. Bona and Ms. Gabriella, joined a tent school teacher, Mrs. Geetha, and a coordinator, Ms. Manjula, to assist the children and their parents. Seven children and two parents received check-ups, tests, preventative injections, medicine and helpful advice from Dr. Chikmary.
Tent school children often do not have access to nutritional food, and face malnutrition, anemia etc. In order to eradicate this problem, our Tent School team provide them with fruits, nuts, jaggery, green grams and built a bio-intensive garden so that they can grow and consume nutritional fruits and vegetables and enhance their nutritional health management.
Antonia Hauser, one of our long-term volunteers from Germany, volunteered for four months at the Paramedical Educational Trust in Tamil Nadu. The organisation believes in “Health for the Rural Mass in India.” Antonia conducted awareness programmes for community members on the topics of health and hygiene and taught school children English and environmental studies. Following is her reflection of her stay in India.
“When I planned my trip to India, I was talking to many people, reading and hearing a lot of different opinions and trying to figure out how it will be. I was very eager to get information, how the country, the culture, the people would be, especially from volunteers that already returned, but every time it was not satisfying and I felt like I did not get enough information.
Now, after finishing my voluntary service and looking back to this experience, I can at least understand why no one was able to give me an exact answer to all my questions: India is just too big, too different, and too difficult to wrap it into some sentences. I see myself like a white sheet that got colored and cut from India and all the things I experienced here. And it is not my duty to analyze this sheet. I will just keep it very safely in my mind and look at it whenever I feel.
As a resume, I have to say it was not the work only that defined my stay. it was much more: living in an Indian family and getting to know their culture, but also experience love and care, even if we will only have some short time together; learning to cook various Indian dishes and waking up with the smell of fresh cut flowers and the voices of vegetable selling farmers on the streets; talking to people in the bus, on the cycle, at the market without knowing any Tamil sentence, but still understanding their interest and happiness to have you here; making new friends all over the world and traveling together to make the experience “India”; be annoyed but also feel very alive while roaming through the Indian cities and watch the people on the streets. And also giving – knowledge, love, interest, information, work, time, a listening ear and many, many smiles.
I learned various things here: from simple Tamil words and reading to work in an NGO, fundraising and starting new programs. From cooking Indian to going by the bus, taking care of yourself in the Indian traffic and how to behave in this culture. I learned about myself, how and what I can do; I learned to wear sari and lungi and about people’s feelings, thoughts and the old traditions in India. All in all it was not only an experience for me, but also for my host family, my friends and my family at home.
I am happy that nobody tried to tell me exactly how India would be. I think it is just not possible and any attempts will make it more difficult for the other. And this way I had the chance to fill the sheet “India” on my own. It has some dark spots and maybe cuts – but I love it and I am sure I will look at it many times and even maybe repaint it in some years. I am very happy that I made the decision to come and work here, but like any other thing: you should come and see it in your own…”
On the 27th of November, 2013, our Home Based Project’s Tent School team, along with two volunteers, Katharina and Amanda, went to Senapur, in Kundapura planted a kitchen garden for seven migrant families. With help from the migrant families, the whole team sowed ten varieties of vegetable seeds and created a fence around the 10×8 square feet kitchen garden.
The aim of this activity was to combat severe malnutrition experienced by migrant families by providing them with a sustainable method of growing their own food. The migrant families were given instructions on how to care for the kitchen garden, and how to use their waste as compost for higher yields.
Duration: June and July 2012
Project / Field: MVP / Regular Teaching
I would like to share about Miss Maria and her work in a regular teaching in Model Village Project. She hails from Mexico, came to India for a two-month volunteering in a teaching project facilitated by FSL-India. She worked in a government school in Chennai. She really impressed people by her hard-work with the children. She taught spoken English, mathematics, computer, rhymes, songs in English and many games. All these activities, she did innovatively and her interactive session with children through games she could make them understand the concept of Maths. Now children are able to speak, understand simple words in English, frame sentences and recite English rhymes. Read the rest of this entry