When two Malayali students addressed students from South Asia and the U.S. on fighting climate change

At a camp attended by 100 girls from India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and the U.S., Devananda Subin shares her childhood misery caused by climate change. Arundhathi V.A. speaks about her experience of being part of a community-driven flood forecasting warning system

Updated - June 08, 2024 07:27 pm IST

Published - June 08, 2024 06:32 pm IST - KOCHI

Arundhathi V.A., left, and Devanandha Subin at the WiSci South Asia STEAM Camp in Kochi on Saturday.

Arundhathi V.A., left, and Devanandha Subin at the WiSci South Asia STEAM Camp in Kochi on Saturday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement 

Devananda Subin from Puthenvelikkara grama panchayat, a coastal village in Ernakulam district, was just seven years old when she wrote an emotional letter to the Ernakulam District Collector in 2019 on her agonising trip to school wading through the water swept in by tidal flooding. She could not wear her school shoes, no vehicle came to pick her owing to the submerged paths and then one day her pregnant mother stumbled and fell while taking her to school. Her letter created a flutter propelling her to a minor celebrity status as panchayat authorities were dispatched to her house for inspection.

However, the wheels of administration move painstakingly slow and now when she is 12 years old, an embankment is being built along the area, which when completed would benefit 200-odd households from tidal flooding.

Devananda spoke about her childhood misery caused by climate change and how she seized the initiative to resolve it by writing to the Collector at the WiSci (Women in Science) South Asia STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics) Camp that concluded here on Saturday. The camp was attended by 100 girls, mostly aged between 15 and 17 years from India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and the United States. It is being organised through private-public partnerships between Girl Up, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, the U.S. Embassies of India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, TE Connectivity Foundation, Google, Caterpillar Foundation, and United Airlines.

Arundhathi V.A., a Plus One student from Puthenvelikkara, was another student volunteer to address the gathering on her experience of being part of a community-driven flood forecasting warning system in Puthenvelikkara since 2021. “I measure rain gauges and then update it on a WhatsApp group and portal every day at 8.30 a.m. It is critical to livelihood security as well. Sharing my experience with girls from other countries was really exciting,” she said.

Tackling climate change

C.G. Madhusoodhanan, CEO, Equinoct, which runs community-sourced Impact-based flood forecast and early warning system that has been recognised by the UNICEF, said that the two voices were selected to drive home the lesson how even children and students could contribute in capacity building in tackling climate change. Students like Arundhati’s consistent weather monitoring effort to build hyper-local data helped Equinoct to pitch for UNICEF’s Office of Innovations Venture Fund.

“Resigning to one’s fate offers no escape route. Devananda’s efforts, which have opened the way for bringing respite to an entire community, show how it is critical to be proactive in the face of a crisis,” he said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.