Manjunath from Banglore, India, used the skills he learnt on his ICS placement and applied them to create a wider impact in another rural community in India. As part of their joint Action at Home project, his team gained media coverage of their awareness-raising activities in four local newspapers, enabling him to spread positive messages and support for sanitation, health and hygiene even further. He has built a positive relationship with the community and has been invited back to continue sharing knowledge around these issues.
“During my ICS placement I was an in-country team leader, working on a project promoting livelihoods in a tribal community in rural India. Throughout my placement I learnt many skills together with my UK co-leader and the other volunteers about how to raise awareness about issues such as saving water, sanitation, health and hygiene and the importance of education. I became very passionate about applying these skills to reach even more communities as part of my action at home project.
My ICS team led a variety of awareness-raising sessions in local village schools. When we spoke to the teachers at the schools we learnt that many children had dental problems like early tooth loss and gum problems, so we decided to raise awareness of the importance of brushing teeth. We also observed the children using a lot of water to wash their plates so we also ran a session on water conservation.
Seven volunteers from India, myself included, decided to do our action at home project together. We did some research with school teachers and explained about the Raleigh ICS programme. We discussed the most common diseases in the village, the health and hygiene of the children, the importance of education and the rate of drop-outs in the school. The teachers were really engaged and impressed, and gave us permission to run an awareness-raising action day at the school.
Sixty-four children, four teachers, several village youths and seven Indian ICS volunteers took part in the action day. Having worked with children during the ICS placement, we knew which methods of engagement worked well, so we decided to do an interactive session about health and hygiene which included using coloured powder to explain how germs are spread. We showed a video about health and hygiene and built a demonstration tippy tap to help illustrate the importance of hand washing and saving water.
My team ran lots of interactive activities and educational games to keep the children interested. We encouraged the children to value dental hygiene with a tooth-brushing song, which they loved. We also distributed pencils, erasers and sharpeners, explaining the importance of education and encouraging them to stay in it. We involved all the teachers and village youths to ensure that they would be able to continue to build on the messages of our action day and deliver them themselves in future sessions.
After the action day, my team discussed with the teachers about continuing to run sessions like these with the children and the importance of youth involvement in the community. One of the teachers, Mrs Padmavathi, told us that these kinds of activities were really necessary for the health and hygiene of the children and also and praised the work of us Raleigh volunteers. She has invited us to return to the school to continue to raise awareness of sanitation, health and hygiene. She also invited us to the village’s celebration for Independence Day, where we could share our work with two hundred community members, including village elders.
As young people, I don’t believe we always get the proper encouragement and support to be able to prove ourselves. I think a lot of young people feel nervous about stepping out of their comfort zones and aren’t always aware of social problems. Raleigh ICS was a platform for me to prove myself and through ICS I was able to make positive social changes. I am really interested in continuing to contribute to society and continue to work in development.”