GSIS has taken up the initiative to sustainably serve (through the IAYP Residential Project of the Gold Award aspirants) the Kolikarai village under the aegis of the Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association. Fourteen of us (8 boys and 6 girls) from Grade 12 embarked on this mission from November 14 to 18, 2014 at Kolikarai, a tribal village of the Irula community in the Kotagiri taluk of the Nilgiris district. This tribal hamlet is located 28 km east of Ooty. We started by organizing and storing our provisions, kitchen utensils, tools, and bedding and once this was over, we were eager to get into action. It was a thrilling experience to cook our own food. Washing our own used plates and kitchen utensils, laundering our clothes were quite an eye opener that these mundane chores are possible and great to be engaged in. We learnt what it is to manage our living space for the next five days.
Housed in the space provided at the village hospital and crèche, we helped clear off the weeds and trash from the nearby play ground which was also used as a volleyball court by the villagers. We were engaged in digging and setting up a compost pit for garbage disposal. Along with these, we had set up a fence around the play ground.
In the following days, we presented an awareness skit on sanitation and healthy living. This was performed by students of the IGCSE Global Perspectives. We spent our evenings visiting homes and interacting with the village folk to understand their lifestyle. We found the people of Kolikarai very warm and supportive of our efforts to render service as well as to learn from them the true spirit of living.
The NAWA ofce in Kolikarai encourages traditional herbal medicine. The herbal garden was a wealth of knowledge about the importance of varied herbs in providing immunity and important nutrients to our body. As a part of our project, we cleared the garden a8nd the pathways of all the weeds there. We then helped clean the Kolikarai village hospital.
The Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association runs a primary school in the vicinity for the children of the Kolikarai village. We spent time with the children. We engaged in classes, distributed snacks. This project has truly made us experience another aspect of life. We learnt to survive with basic resources.
The IAYP Residential Project challenged our outlook and expanded our horizons. It has inspired us to undertake our duties and responsibilities faithfully, excel in all that we do and to contribute valuably to society. There is no substitute to education as relief from unwanted pain and difficulties in life.
Knowledgeable interaction with people is of primary importance to alleviate avoidable hardships and to foster greater understanding and appreciation of life. Click for more pictures