Campaigns for change
Social service has become a defining component of colleges in Mumbai.
Student- led blood donation camps, plantation drives, cycle rallies to spread the message of going green are customary in colleges in Mumbai.
Social work has become an important part of the curriculum in these colleges. Many city institutions encourage students to participate in activities aiming to help the underprivileged. Other than academics and co- curricular activities, students are an active part of social service campaigns organised in college.
Project Chirag, a project initiated by HR (Hassaram Rijhumal College of Commerce and Economics College) in association with SIFE ( Students in Free Enterprise), is aimed at providing solar lights in rural villages across several states. “This year, we provided solar lights to more than 3,000 rural households in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said Ayan Jeloka, general secretary of the Students’ Council, HR College.
Project Chirag, initiated three years ago, provides solar lamps to villages at minimal rates. “Differently- abled people in Mumbai are employed to make solar lamps for these villages. College students then visit several villages and explain the importance of solar energy,” said Ayan. Students are invited to participate, and they remain active in this initiative throughout the year.
Several other campaigns such as ‘anti- smoking on campus’ and ‘anti-plastic’ drive have become an important part of the curriculum of HR College.
Sophia College for Women, as part of their national Model United Nations Conference, MUNSOPHI-CAL 2012, visited several village schools near Rajgurunagar, a town in Maharashtra. Participants of this activity ‘ Cultivating Change’ held sessions on conflict resolution and the significance of the United Nations Organisation in schools at Pimpri and Vetale villages. “Our aim is to reach to the grassroots and make people understand the importance of conflict resolution,” said Tanya Singh, secretary, International Relations Club.
A group of 20 students who visited these villages were delighted to see students in rural areas actively participating in conflict resolution sessions. “Students came up with ideas and suggestions which we hadn’t thought of while formulating the problem statement,” said Nikita Serrao, final- year Advertising student.
Similarly, Jai Hind College organises the Bachat Gath fair every year in the college premises to promote handmade objects such as bags, and kurtis made by underprivileged women in Mumbai. “We provide stalls to groups of women registered under this gath free of cost. It gives them an opportunity to exhibit their work and talent,” says Asst. Prof. Santosh Ghag, chairperson, CSR committee of Jai Hind College.
Students of Indian Institute of Technology— Bombay, are actively involved in creating awareness about LGBT rights and extending support to students with alternative sexual orientation. SAATHI, a student organisation, has more than 130 students members who actively participate in discussions and help in creating awareness about alternative sexual orientation among college students. Aditya Shankar, a core group member of SAATHI, said “All members meet once a month to discuss issues of LGBT rights and extend support to fellow students with alternative sexual orientation.”