NSS volunteers of Gayatri Vidya Parishad Junior College interacted with the people of the community and educated them on various issues.

According to the recent survey conducted by NSS volunteers at Peda Jalaripeta, there is a high degree of illiteracy, school dropouts and child labour among children and alcoholism and domestic violence.

A team of 50 NSS volunteers of Gayatri Vidya Parishad Junior College (GVPJC) felt it was a great opportunity to be part of the week-long awareness camp, interacting with the people of the community, identifying their problems and educating them on various issues. They worked together to promote ‘literacy’, ‘health and hygiene’ and created awareness through medical camps among fisherfolk and help them eliminate their ignorance to the maximum extent possible. Initially, it was not easy to convince the people and bring them together, said Sai Kumar, one of the volunteers. “It made us learn how to deal with different set of people and help them understand the importance of being a literate.”

Out of 890 dwellings covered during the camp, it is surprising that 50 per cent of the households have no toilet facility at home. “It is so disturbing to note that people do not have basic amenities like drinking water and sanitation,” said Kavya, an NSS volunteer. Women and girl children are given less priority by almost every household. She said that the survey identified 66 school dropouts who have taken up petty jobs.

Other major issues include loans and men being addicted to alcohol, noticed Lakshmi, another volunteer. “Though many seek loans from banks and other self help groups, private money lenders continue to rule the roost. The drowning financial burden, inconsistent income coupled with less tolerance level result in marital discord. Because of which, domestic violence is on the rise,” she explained.

Two-way inspiration

The NSS volunteers said that the camp inspired them as well as the people of the community. The first-hand experiences enlightened the students and know about many pressing issues. “The interactive sessions made us bring closer to the fishermen and understand on what ‘hand-to-mouth existence’ is all about. If not for them, there would never be a change in our attitude and thought process,” said Dilip Kumar.

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