Learning and Teaching…

By Megan:

July 8th: We started the day today at 9:30am for breakfast. We then went to a wonderful presentation about the Organization for the Development of People (ODP) lead by Gita Mitra, Dr. Krishnan’s sister, who has been a part of ODP from the almost the very start. We had learned about ODP in our pre-departure class but it was really exciting to hear about what they have been doing in India. (Also Annamma who is taking us on our field trip tomorrow!)

ODP is the Diocesan Social Service Society of Mysore. ODP’s mission is “empowering the marginalized to enjoy their legitimate rights, by bringing along a change in unhealthy attitudes and values systems, through a process of capacity building, networking, advocacy and rights based actions.” ODP has many different areas including academics, water sanitation, women empowerment, natural resource management, livelihood enhancement, health and sanitation, research and development. ODP is involved with over 1,000 villages in 4 districts. Their approach has shifted from charity based to a more people oriented approach. This is important because it will be more sustainable in the long run. ODP has different committees that work together so every member is a more involved and participates. The Women Empowerment Program does a lot of different things including supporting elected women representatives in Panchayaths (village councils). Watershed programs provide better livelihood security and better quality of life in drought prone areas. We saw pictures of dams and wells to collect rain water. It was really great to learn more about programs not related just to speech and hearing.

After lunch…

…we decided to try to see some animals on ODP’s campus. Many of our members got the chance to hold tiny bunnies that were very cute.

Cows at OPD that provide all the milk used here…

Some students bought women’s empowerment bags. Mahilodaya means “women rising”.

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Students also bought things from the shop at the front of ODP which sells items made by women in some of the surrounding villages.

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We gave our first presentation today on disabilities. We had members from ODP come to learn more and ask questions. We did a great job presenting on our assigned topics. The staff at ODP that came to our presentation asked engaging questions and seemed really interested in what we had to say. We really improved from the first time we practiced this presentation so that was great to see! Hopefully they will be able to take what they have learned and be able to use it when interacting with people with disabilities.

We were able to also do a couple of team building activities with the staff which was a good way to end the presentation.

After our presentation, we decided to go shopping. We visited a lot of different stores and a lot of us got a lot of fun items!

We saw a lot of cows again today! We learned that ODP has cows that provide milk to the whole campus. We also saw cows on the streets while we were shopping. The cows directly in the street reminded me of the book we read before class called the Milk lady of Bangalore.

Cow on the street…very common in Mysore 🙂

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