As a change is bought through evolution, students now have joined hands with the international and national bodies to bring rural development. Several projects have been assigned by the functioning bodies which are handled by the students to bring change and development of the nation as a whole.
Considering the facts eight students have joined hands with the women of the village to construct the toilets for the latter under a mission called Women Empowerment Sanitation, funded by Amrita University.
Of the eight students of class 11 and 12, five are girls and three boys. Interestingly, two boys are of Indian origin. Katie McGahan, Ansley Harrallson, Rahil Kamath, Ruben Roy, Billy McGahan, Sydney Simmons (class 12) Lexi Young and Mary Bryce Brannen (class 11) are the students on the unique mission.
Along with them, the school vice-principal Joseph Dimon and Science teacher Daina Kelly, parents Sucheta Kamath who hails from Maharashtra, and Lisa McGahan also worked with the team. The construction of six toilets is in progress.
Around 24 houses in Sulagodu and the surrounding villages need toilets. Though language was a barrier, the Americans used gestures to communicate with the local women and have even picked up a few Kannada words like Akka, Amma, Mannu (mud), gundi (ditch).
A significant aspect of the project was that the villagers – Prema, Hemavathi, Srimathi, Savitri, Ganga and Jyothi – learnt the construction techniques from an online video designed by Amrita University. They were also given a reference manual. Whenever in doubt, the women quickly referred to the video and returned to their work. In addition to roping in technology, to make sure the construction meets quality standards, the team works under the guidance of a local building supervisor.
Joseph Dimon, vice principal of Westminster, said the students gained practical experience of building toilets here, which is not possible in the US as everything is done by machines. They have also learnt some useful lessons from their women co-workers. Construction is a combination of art, science and commerce, he added with a grin.