The Joy of Giving
A glimpse into MANITHAM, the 7 day NSS camp.
By Vaishali Vinod (B.Tech Biotechnology, 2015-2019)
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
― Rabindranath Tagore
The greatest gift somebody can give someone is a smile, and the greatest gift you can give yourself is contentment. This aptly summarizes the occurrences of the 7-day camp ‘Manitham’ by National Service Scheme (NSS).
The dawn of 20th December witnessed the enthusiasm of over 200 NSS student volunteers at Thenponmudi, Karamadai, Coimbatore. The male volunteers were provided accommodation at a primary school in the locality while the female volunteers stayed at a hostel nearby and reached the camp by 8.45 am every day. The male volunteers were in charge of all the culinary activities of the camp.
The camp was inaugurated by the faculty advisors of NSS, who put forward the objective of the camp to the villagers. Soon after this, the volunteers commenced their activities by cleaning the school – trimming excess grass and levelling the ground – in order to enable the school children to play. A few other volunteers dug a pit in the ground in order to dump food waste. The villagers were informed about the workshops and activities done throughout the camp, in the form of a notice distributed by the volunteers. At noon, the Student Development Programme (SDP) was conducted which involved games, activities and student-faculty interaction.
Each day commenced with a prayer, recitation of a thirukkural , followed by the work schedule for the students. The allotted work was usually completed by the volunteers at around 2 pm. On the second day of the camp, the volunteers constructed a fence around a water tank in Bellaepalayam, painted the library and the high school and cleaned the temple. The village bus stop which was in a dilapidated condition was mended back into shape by the volunteers, who willingly took up the job of reconstructing the worn-out structure. In addition, a team of volunteers took up the task of conducting a survey in the vicinity of the village. After lunch, another set of activities were conducted as part of the SDP to enhance the skills of the students followed by guest lecture sessions.
On the third day, the Women Development Program was conducted with the motive of empowering women in the village. One of the student volunteers, Akshaya (B.E ECE, 2014-2018) taught them to make homemade soaps, which proved to be an entirely new experience for these women. ‘Kavi Arangam’, an event in which many students presented their poems, was held in the SDP session. Selection of participants for the Pattimandram to be held on the sixth day of the camp also took place during the same session.
On the following day, an automobile workshop was organized by the students where they repaired the villagers’ vehicles free of cost. In addition, a weaving awareness workshop was conducted for the villagers by the faculty of the Textile Department, on efficient weaving using hand-loom. The usual work in the neighbouring villages took place without any delay throughout the seven days.
The fifth day of the camp also witnessed a free medical camp by a team of doctors from PSG IMSR, benefitting nearly 150 villagers. The day came to an end with 13 cultural events as part of the SDP, in which the students showcased a variety of talents.
On the penultimate day of the camp, the volunteers put in a rigorous effort to achieve the targets set for them, a majority of which they completed by the end of the day. The atmosphere of the village lightened up when the camp celebrated Pongal, in advance, and hosted various other traditional activities. The day closed with the attention-grabbing Pattimandram that followed the Pongal celebrations.
On the last day of the camp, the students kept their spirits high and contributed as much as possible to fulfill the targets of the camp which were successfully accomplished at the end of the day. Our honourable Principal, Dr.R.Rudramoorthy opened the bus stop built by the NSS volunteers and also initiated the tree plantation activity. The work done by the students was presented to the villagers and the faculty in a video, awakening a feeling of pride and accomplishment among the students.
The camp provided the students with a wonderful opportunity to exhibit their talents and also to explore Tamil culture. It not only benefited the village, but was also instrumental in creating a platform for the students to mould their personality and to enhance their skill set. After the valediction, the students came back home with gratified souls, everlasting memories and hearts full of delight. It’s rightly said that engineers build not just skyscrapers and robots, but a better world as well!
Photo credits: NSS-PSG Tech
VAISHALI VINOD (B.Tech Biotechnology, 2015-2019) is passionate about writing, music, dance and cooking. She loves adventures and is a nature and an animal lover. She aspires to become a social activist.
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