India: Sustainable Development and Social Change
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Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The program includes visits to a diversity of NGO headquarters, prominent academic and research institutes, and villages. Visits to locations in Rajasthan expose students to the realities of rural life in India and socioeconomic development in arid and semi-arid regions on the state.
In a typical semester, the excursion component of the program may include visits to all or many of the following NGOs, academic and research institutions:
- Bodh Shiksha Samiti (Jaipur and Rajasthan) works toward quality education for underprivileged children through its community residential schools founded in 1987. It currently serves more than 26,000 children (urban and rural) through its bodhshalas and government schools in Rajasthan.
- Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (Jaipur Foot Factory)
The Jaipur Foot Factory is the world's largest producer of prosthetic below-the-waist limbs provided free of cost to those in need, irrespective of caste, religion, origin, and ethnicity. This excursion introduces students to one of the most successful models of a physical disability rehabilitation center and provides an opportunity to learn about social change and the empowerment of individuals with physical disabilities.
- International College for Girls (ICG), University of Rajasthan
ICG is a private institution that provides higher education for women in the Jaipur district of Rajasthan. SIT students may interact with students their own age currently enrolled in the college.
- Gram Vikas Navyuvak Mandal Laporiya (GVNML) (Laporiya, Rajasthan)
GVNML is run by Mr. Laxman Singh, an Asoka fellow, social activist, and development practitioner. The organization is engaged in various development and conservation initiatives including biodiversity conservation.
- Pak Visthapit Sangh (PVS) (Jodhpur)
PVS is a rights-based movement that highlights the plight of Hindu refugees who have been victims of religious fundamentalism. The organization conducts advocacy work for their citizenship and rehabilitation.
- Uttari Rajasthan Milk Union Limited (URMUL) Trust (Bikaner) works with indigent individuals to facilitate increased self-reliance.
- National Research Centre on Camel (Bikaner)
Considering the importance of camels in the socioeconomic development of arid and semi-arid zones, the government of India established this research institution. The centre undertakes basic and applied research for the improvement of keystone camel species in collaboration with national and international institutes.
- Barefoot College (Tilonia)
The Barefoot College is a rural development organization led by the people it serves and whose development goals are self-defined. The Barefoot College provides basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities, with the objective of making communities self-sufficient and sustainable. These solutions can be broadly categorized into the delivery of solar electrification, clean water, education and livelihood development, healthcare, rural handicrafts, and communication.
Immersion in development interventions and sustainability development and social change occurs through the program’s five- to seven-day workshop. Diverse workshop opportunities are offered in the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.
Sample workshop sites:
- Kiran Centre (Madhopur/Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
A center for education and rehabilitation for children and youth — many of whom have polio, cerebral palsy, rickets, or hearing impairments — Kiran provides children with education, vocational training, physical rehabilitation, and other skills. At Kiran, SIT students are able to see the work in all the units and to volunteer their time with children and youth.
- Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) (Dehradun, Uttarakhand)
RLEK is a nongovernmental organization that works with communities in the hill state of Uttarakhand. Started in 1970s spearheading the local issues and development work in the tribal area of Jaunsar-Bhawar, today it works in six states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana. It currently works to bring awareness about human rights and to supplement the initiatives of the National Human Rights Commission and the various state commissions; community forest management (CFM), with special focus on safeguarding the rights of the indigenous nomadic Van Gujjars community and on capacity building of marginalized communities in Panchayati Rule (local self-governance) while working towards gender equity in local governance.
- The Adivasi Academy (Tejgadh, Gujarat)
The Adivasi Academy is established to create a unique educational environment for the study of tribal communities. It is aimed to become an institute for the study of tribal history, folklore, cultural geography, social dynamics, economy, development studies, medicine, music, arts, and theatre. With its multidisciplinary approach and related interventional measures, the academy is striving to create a new approach of academic activism.
- Jagori Grameen (Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh)
Jagori is a national feminist-based organization committed to social justice that works with communities to address discrimination based on gender, class, caste, religion, and disability. At Jagori, students are exposed to different interventions such as informal women’s courts, rural knowledge resource centers, inclusion and capacity building of women in local governance systems, and sexuality and human rights education.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Jaipur
Language Study: Hindi
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