BUILD Team Takes an Educational Field Trip with Payir’s Children, Visits Tribal Health Initiative in the Sittlingi Valley, Addressing Concerns of Thottiyapatti Learning Center about Solarpowered Light and More, by Kristina Chu

by tuftsigl
Aug 30

Previously, we wrote that we were planning an educational field trip for Learning Center, Payir, and village children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. We are happy to report that the trip was a success! The children enjoyed their time at the planetarium, airport, and tropical butterfly park. They will be taught an extra lesson this week reviewing what they learned during the trip. Also, we have discussed with Payir’s head instructor about creating a sustainable model for seasonal educational trips. To motivate students, it has been decided that participation in trips will be based on their marks and attendance records.

Over the past few days, the trip team has been focused on the learning aspect of sustainable development and nonprofit work. First, we embarked with Payir personnel to see their daily nutritional program in action. To minimize malnutrition and anemia in young girls, the program gives laddus (traditional Indian sweets) rich with vitamins, healthy fats, and iron to district schools. As a team, we had several opportunities to talk with students and teachers about how the program is helping. Since we have previously helped Payir design promotional materials for the project, this experience was fulfilling for us. Second, we travelled to the Sittlingi Valley to visit Tribal Health Initiative, an NGO focused on rural public health from a holistic perspective. Their focus programs are a tribal hospital with modern medicine practices, a community health outreach system with trained health auxiliaries, an organic farming initiative, and an income generation project for women. THI is successful and well respected in the community, and it was a fulfilling experience for us to see a different side of NGO work taking place there.

We have finalized the next steps for the installation of solar powered LED lights and wall fan in the Thottiyapatti Learning Center. The teachers have found that the students are straining their eyes to read and write, and that the Learning Center overheats quickly. The concerns have made this project a priority for us. In the coming weeks, a solar power expert will visit the Learning Center for evaluation and price estimation.

Also, we began to analyze the data collected from our Thottiyapatti Village surveys. We plan on involving our entire club with statistical analysis when we return to Tufts. We have completely finalized our budget for this trip. In addition to the budget components mentioned in the last blog post, we have allocated funds for EcoSan toilet repairs- clogging and lighting. We have been touched by the teachers, mentors, and children that have crossed our paths during our trip. They have inspired our team to put together a video about the work going on here. We hope to show this to BUILD elders and new members to come. We are so grateful for our time here with Payir and the Thottiyapatti community.