Shuddhanta Patra | Posted February 09, 2024 07:00 AM
To combat rural problems through management skills acquired in B-school, MBA students in Chennai are working with villagers in Tamil Nadu's Mahabalipuram. The students are reaching out to the villagers to teach them financial literacy, offering weekend tuitions to children and empowering women through 54 self-help groups created by the students.
To foster socially responsible behaviour, The Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai involved its students with community engagement innovative programme Karma-Yoga. The initiative helped future managers to make use of the knowledge acquired in the classrooms.
Karma-Yoga, a Leadership Experiential Action Program (LEAP) is an integral part of the Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM) and Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) at Institute.
Since leadership is the most challenging trait, the Karma-Yoga programme will help them build their leadership and team building skills. The visit to villages will also help in understanding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) along with understanding experiential learning techniques.
The Institute has adopted 27 rural villages in the neighbourhood to expose full-time students to rural life and work on projects to improve village conditions. Each batch is divided into 24 teams, one for each village. As a team, students visit the assigned villages, build relationships with the local communities to study and learn about rural life, informed the institute.
Prof Arulsamy S, professor of Sustainable Livelihoods and Development Communication Models for Sustainable Development at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, says, “Having studied rural life, each team takes up projects with the objective of implementing sustainable development goals among rural communities. These projects are primarily designed to alleviate poverty by educating children and empowering women through self-help groups. Under this initiative, livelihood opportunities are created for different stakeholders to enhance the quality of life in the local community. It also provides experiential learning—the art of learning by doing for students.”
The students have created 54 self-help groups (SHGs) in the villages and identified two SDGs. “In order to achieve gender equality among women, programmes have been designed to promote decent work and employment opportunities among the selected 54 women SHGs. A financial literacy and microfinance project was started in partnership with Jana Small Savings Bank in the adopted villages,” he adds.
The students imparted financial literacy to help the women start small businesses. The activities carried out based on proper financial planning helped them secure small loans from banks and microfinance institutions.
Women from more than 15 SHGs have started small business enterprises, earning Rs 5000 per month, apart from their regular household income. There is a gradual increase and growth among the village women which will reflect in the development of the whole village, says Prof Arulsamy. The students have constructed 146 toilets for several houses in Nallur and Perumalchery villages and organised over 100 medical camps.
Imparting practical knowledge