Mangalore, Feb 12: St Aloysius institute of Management and information Technology (AIMIT), St Aloysius College, Mangalore, organized the rural immersion camp to Mundgod and Nesergi taluks of North Karnataka from February 1 to 7.
Rural exposure camp is a unique feature of the AIMIT curriculum. The camp was held as a part of the academics to stay in a rural village for a week and experience their livelihood.
The motto of the camp was in harmony with that of college “Men and Women for others”. With around 80% of Indian population living in rural India and the blue ocean concept (exploring new business opportunities) being adapted by corporate India, the rural camp was a wholesome experience for the MBA students.
The full strength of 162 students of the first year MBA were sent to Mundgod (45 kms from Hubli) and Nesergi (30 kms from Belgaum). The development of rural Mundgod was started by Jesuits in the year 1982 with the inception of Loyola Vikas Kendra. LVK as it is better known, under the leadership of Fr Arun Louis SJ has encouraged many Self Help Groups (SHGs) and the students had to stay in remote villages. In Nesargi Fr Tom Kurien and Fr Joe Chenakala have the NGO called ‘Jana Jagaran’. They too have been operating there for over 20 years and looking after the development of the villages through SHGs. One of the unique projects initiated by Jana Jagaran is the production of biogas for cooking from toilet waste which has helped the people of this region.
All the students were dispersed in the areas around Mundgod and Nesargi with ten students in each village and two in a house. They did the daily chores of houses and the fields. All the groups gave tuitions in school and conducted games for the children. Some groups even organised cultural programs with a social message for the villagers.
The peak moment for many groups was definitely that they were successful in enrolling students to school. The general tendency of the people was to send their children to fields after they turned twelve, but the students were successful to change the minds of few of the villagers. Education is something that is picking up. Everybody has the eagerness that their children should study. The children were very hard working. There was a small 11-year-old boy Ningappa who knew tables up to 30 by heart. From this it was known that they have the will to study but no opportunities.
“Rural exposure camp has taught me a lot. The way people stayed happy even staying poor can’t be expressed in words. We always tend to cry about the things that we don’t have instead of making use of things that we do. Being happy and self contended with everything is most essential,” said Mahammad Imthiyaz.
“We enjoyed a lot in the villages. Our initial expectation was a bit scary as we had no clue how our stay would be over there. But the experiences we had would be cherished for the rest of our lives,” said Hany S.
“The villagers followed the principle of Athithi Devo Bhava. Even with the little resources they had, we were taken care of well by them. Many of our students had the language barrier but the villagers were happy with us as no people visit them and their smiles said it all,” said Manish Joel Fernandes.
Fr Denzil Lobo SJ, director of AIMIT said, “Every year we send our students to the rural areas to experience the frugal and simple lives of our village folk. It is a unique experience to our students which they will remember for the rest of their lives. And I am sure that, at least some of them, would think of our village folk and do something for the development of the villages.”