Published: 08th November 2021
Four school students are helping a rural village in AP be more aware of their health. Here's how
They have created modules and have even started a fundraiser that will enable them to install filters in the village so that the villagers have access to clean drinking water
Sometimes, simple solutions are the most effective. So when Dia Reddy and Harini Gadiraju from Hyderabad joined hands with Aneesh Mamidi and Krish Gangaraju from Bengaluru, while enrolled at 1M1B Foundation's The Purpose Academy, and they were assigned the rural village of Thurputhallu in Andhra Pradesh to address their multifold issues, like healthcare, clean drinking water and more, the students decided to go down the route of simplicity. But just because it was simple, it doesn't mean it was easy to achieve!
Let's start from the beginning. Complex problems of the world need young minds to apply themselves in new and innovative ways. Hence, The Purpose Academy was launched by 1M1B Foundation in partnership with the College of Engineering, SCET at UC Berkeley and the Innovation Acceleration Group. This is the same programme that the quartet signed up for in June 2021. Assigned to the village, the students first started interacting with the natives there, with mediation facilitated by the on-ground 1M1B team. They spoke to about 20 villagers over Zoom. "We found that the villagers, who were mostly fishermen, had access to clean drinking water only three to four times a week which forced them to turn to the polluted water of lakes," shares Harini. Due to this, they were catching water-borne diseases and medical care was not accessible either.
(From top left) Dia Reddy, Harini Gadiraju, Aneesh Mamidi and Krish Gangaraju
The students, who call their initiative Project Auxilia, decided to address these problems by creating simple, short and understandable audio-visual presentations. These 10 to 15-minute-long videos addressed topics like cardiac health, waterborne diseases, substance abuse and women's health. Since this month, these presentations have been played at a school in Thurputhallu, which is equipped with a projector, for 16 batches of villagers. To ensure that there is some information retention, two interns have been hired from the village itself and pre and post-assessments are done to understand how much the villagers have understood the modules. "We prepared the modules both in English and Telugu and my mother helped with the Telugu voiceovers," says the 15-year-old. These modules are simple and straightforward. For example, the waterborne diseases module talks about typhoid and what should be done if one catches it.
Recently, Harini personally visited the village since her hometown, Bhimavaram, is about an hour or so away from Thurputhallu. "I met the school principal whose school we are using to project the modules and he told us that he wants to show our women's health module to their students," shares Harini. She even got to meet the MLA of Narasapuram Prasad Raju who assured her that they have his support.
During a session
So, what now? There is a fundraiser that they have started on ImpactGuru over two months ago so that they can install a charcoal water filter and aluminum sulfate rocks that will help the villagers gain access to clean drinking water a lot more often. They are also working on an artificial intelligence (AI) app that can detect malnutrition in a child by just clicking a picture of them. So though a lot has been accomplished, a lot more remains and these students won't stop at anything.