The Hindu

Campaigns for change

Social service has become a defining component of colleges in Mumbai.

- NIHARIKA PANDIT The writer is a student of Sophia College for Women, 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.

LGTB rights

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.”

 ??  ?? A session on conflict resolution as part of
‘ cultivatin­g change’.
A session on conflict resolution as part of ‘ cultivatin­g change’.
 ??  ?? The project chirag team
The project chirag team

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