The Telegraph
Saturday , March 7 , 2015

Private varsity adopts village

Bhubaneswar, March 6: The concept of adopting villages by the corporate sector seems to be percolating down to universities across the state.

While the Berhampur University has already adopted villages near its campus and the Utkal University has announced its plans to do the same, private universities haven't been left behind.

Students of the department of good governance and public policy from a private university here have adopted a village named Bhalunka and are working on improving its sanitation, drinking water, energy and waste management of the community.

To begin with, the students will initiate small projects to create sustainable livelihoods that will last three years. Some of them are also planning to take up social entrepreneurship to create balance between structure and innovation. The objective is to promote rural development and sustainable livelihoods, said a student.

"We were deeply concerned by the lack of proper health care, sanitation and drinking water facilities in rural areas despite Odisha being one of the promising investment destinations in the country," said Gajula Praveen Kumar, a student, adding that teaching people how to fish was more important than handing out fish.

Chairman of the Engineers without Border, a development sector organisation, Ashok Agarwal, who inaugurated the project, said: "If you have a good idea and the passion to pursue it, you will be able to succeed regardless of your background, experience or expertise."

"Social work is not about charity, but about empowerment. I advise students to empower people with the right intentions and commitment. Empowerment can only happen when the required skills and the intention to use them to earn a livelihood are provided. Today, rural India needs committed micromanagement of social projects for sustainable livelihoods," K.C. Mishra, vice-chancellor of the Sri Sri University.

He also said Bhalunka was part of the list of 20,000 model villages listed by the Centre in the recent budget. A students' chapter of the Engineers without Borders was also inaugurated during the launch of the initiative.

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