AID-IOWA CHAPTER DETAILS AND INFORMATION
i) Project name: Eureka Seed Village Integrated Development Programme
Background: This is a large scale project aimed at the holistic rehabilitation of Tsunami-affected areas and builds on AID's expertise on education, health, life-skills, livelihood and agriculture. The 50 seed villages are spread across Cuddalore, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu.
Additional info: AID Iowa adopted ten of these seed villages.
ii) Project name: Eureka SuperKidz Villages
Background: Eureka Child works in the poorest villages of Tamilnadu to ensure quality education and health for children from marginalized families. Eureka SuperKidz is an after-school education program that is currently active in 1,000 villages across Tamil Nadu, making a positive difference to the lives of over 60,000 families through the quality education children receive and the employment generated locally.
Additional Information: The Indian Student Alliance at the University of Iowa is partnering with us to raise funds for this project.
Eureka Superkidz after-school session (Palankoil village, TN)
Amount approved: - NA
iii) Event: Khana Kahani (Tiffin Talk)
Background: Vijaya, our latest volunteer at the time was moved by what she saw and heard at the 2012 annual AID conference in the Bay Area. She came back to Iowa and declared that she would start Khana Kahani to do her bit for India. Every month starting September 2012, volunteers have cooked and sold Indian food for $5 a plate and donate proceeds to AID. So far the menu has been as diverse as Chole Bature, Idli Sambar and Dal Baati Churma.
AID-IOWA Khana Kahaani event for the month of September 2012
iv) The Monsanto Hearings
Background: In April 2012 a group of farmers, environmental advocates, veterans, artists, and community members got together to share testimony and review the record concerning Monsantoâ€™s impacts on eastern Iowa and the world. AID Iowa testified on behalf of people and organisms from India. The AID Iowa team drafted a testimony in the form of a 10-minute dialogue between between Bt Cotton and Brinjal. This testimony was included in an art installation in Europe and also became part of a film named The Monsanto Hearings screened in Europe and now doing the rounds in the US. "Brinjal" and "Cotton" have since then been spotted by local Iowans in prime spots such as the farmers market.
AID-IOWA chapter co-ordinator Renu Pariyadath and volunteer Abhilash participating in the Monsanto hearings posing as Bt Brinjal and Bt Cotton respectively, featured in a magazine(2012)
Event name: AID Shuruaat 2012
Background: AID Development Coordinator Somnath Mukherji gave a talk at our second annual introductory event that was widely attended by high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and university faculty.
AID-US Coordinator Somnath Mukherji with the AID-IOWA chapter members at the second annual inaugural event â€“ Shuruaat at the University of Iowa (November 2012)
AID-US Coordinator Somnath Mukherji giving a talk about AID at the second annual event â€“ Shuruaat at the University of Iowa to graduate and undergraduate students along with faculty. (November2012)
vi) Event name: Bhopali Screening
Background: We are doing a series of events leading up to the 28th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster. These include site visit presentations, a screening of the documentary Bhopali and an information table on the day of the anniversary.
Bhopali Link : http://www.bhopalithemovie.com/
vii) Outreach and Partners: We established partnerships with Muscular Dystrophy Association, Indian Student Alliance and Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa by tabling at their events such as Diwali, Independence Day, Plate of Prevention and other cultural events.
Tabling at Diwali 2012 by AID-IOWA chapter at the University of Iowa (November 2012)
3) Site visit reports Eureka SuperKidz Kurtha,Bihar – Meenakshi Kushwaha, AID IOWA Chapter volunteer
At the first glance, a Disney-sponsored playroom in the making may seem so out of place in the Kurtha village of Bihar. A Naxalite affected area with no electricity and limited accessibility, Kurtha has few things to boast about. However, the Disney playroom, an award that Kurtha kids have earned by making it to the top 20 of a national level competition called “Design of Change,” speaks volumes of the real change that Eureka Super Kidz (ESK) centers have brought about in Kurtha and neighbouring villages. The ESK program is an extension of the successful Eureka Child project in Tamil Nadu -- a group of innovative and well structured village education centers providing high quality education to children. In its third year now, Bihar ESK program spans 100 villages with one ESK center per village. The ESK
center in Kurtha has about 30 students under one teacher. The teacher, a young boy in his early 20s was selected by the elders of the village and was trained by the Eureka coordinators. The class was vibrant and children were excited to show off their language and math skills. As the teacher held up postcards with pictures of fruits, automobiles, and actions, and posed related questions, the kids answered with cheerful unison. Due to budget limitations, the current centers are running classes for standards 1 to 3. More centers are needed for older students. It was interesting to see the toddlers (age 3 to 4), who had come to class with their siblings, either sat quietly or engaged in coloring activities. The teacher explained how the younger ones were learning to sit in the classroom. â€œYe bacche abhi baithna seekh rahe hain,â€? he said. Every month, 10 ESK centers organize an activity fair where kids participate in competitions like
Eureka SuperKidz Bihar â€“ AID-IOWA volunteer Meenakshi Kushwaha with the children at the SuperKidz center in Kurtha, Bihar dancing, singing, drawing, quiz, etc. Their parents, who mostly engage in agricultural activities, are content and enthusiastic about the fact that their children do not have to be urged about coming to ESK centers. Needless to say, they are very happy to see their kids learn. They feel more involved in their
children’s education and overall development. ESK resource center also has a pool of games, books, and newspapers that are equally distributed to all centers on a rotation basis. Last year, two children from Kurtha village along with ESK coordinator Dharmendra Ji travelled to Ahmedabad to tell their story for the “Design for Change” competition. They had designed a street play to tackle the problem of gambling in their community. For children, who have only seen a railway engine in their books, this was a huge deal! It is fair to say that AID Bihar’s Eureka superkidz program stands as a beacon of hope and promise for the residents.
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh-Renu Pariyadath, AID-IOWA Chapter President During my visit to Bhopal this July I accompanied campaign activists to get an insider’s perspective on the gas disaster. One such campaigner was surveying settlements around the Union Carbide plant where residents were forced to consume ground water contaminated by the plant. Water contamination actually predates the 1984 gas disaster by about two years, when Carbide began functioning and toxic wastes from the plant seeped into the ground water. It became evident that the Madhya Pradesh government’s attempt to provide clean drinking water following the recent Supreme Court order has not benefitted the people. The new water supply is from the Narmada and pipes run dry for most of the week, the residents explained. When the water does come, it is usually available for an hour or two, about once a week. Having arrived on one such rare day I watched on as men and women from a few of the households tried, in vain, to fill their empty pots from taps that produced thin, thread-like streams of water. But what do you do on the days you don’t get this water, I asked a resident. “We drink (toxic) water from the bore well. What else do you do when you need water?” My interactions with people from the city over the next few days barely touched the surface of the scale of the gas disaster. I naively wielded a pencil, notebook and voice recorder to accurately record survivor narratives of the disaster but my attempts to capture in words, what was being said, failed. All I was able to do was hold their gaze, listen and try to inhabit their pain. Survivors were everywhere. They were among the autorikshaw drivers who helped me get to Sambhavna Clinic for the gas-affected. One of them wondered if he might be a good candidate for treatment at the free clinic and described his continuing eye and respiratory ailments that began that night. The soft-spoken taxi driver who quietly drove me around for a day confessed as I began to take leave that he lived close to the factory, always had, and related an unsolicited account of what happened that night. It would seem to an outsider that all was well and that the city had “moved on” if one casually passed through. The stoic appearance of many a countenance
perhaps runs counter to what we would expect from a people whose struggle has been on for 28 years. But if you persist, the freshness of their wounds is palpable in the stories they share with us. Renu Pariyadath, volunteer at AID-University of Iowa
At Bhopal: An ICJB campaigner distributes pamphlets inviting survivors to participate in a rally to Delhi
At Bhopal: Children undergoing special education and occupational therapy at Chingari Rehabilitation Center in Bhopal
4) Optional volunteer video talking about AID, why they joined AID, etc.
5) specify if you want separate OFI fundraising goal for your chapter to be reflected on your chapter page.