Dear fellow friends and blog readers,
If you do not already know, I have this obsession with India and Vedic culture, and upon graduation from McGill, I was looking for a position where I can leave my books and atlases at home and see India in its true form! So... if you haven't found out yet, I will be spending this summer in Chennai, India on a media (photo/video) project with a not-for-profit organization. Many of you have asked me what I'm up to so I decided that I would simply do a blog post for the month of April. So there you go, read below
&& Wish me luck!!
Where will I be working?
I will be working with AID India
(Association for India's Development)
in the southern region of India, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
3 Months (May 2015-August 2015)
Why AID India?
AID India’s development covers all interconnected spheres of life and livelihood such as agriculture, health, education, natural resources and women’s empowerment. They not only highlight the problem in the afflicted area but they find creative ways to address it and implement micro projects or campaigns in the area as powerful tools to bring about change.
What's my story?
I first embarked on my application as an educator to help improve children’s skills in basic reading, Mathematics, English and Science. However, I soon realized that I could combine my other “out-of-the-classroom” skills and initiate a project that would perhaps leave its remnants years after I leave. This thought encouraged me to contact the coordinator with hopes of contributing a creative vision to their organization.I have been in the creative field for over six years, and I am confident to say that I am adept with my camera. Although I had initially presumed that the organization would prefer to do more traditional projects; to my surprise, I found out that the AID India was looking for someone with my skills to ameliorate the quality of integrating technology in the classroom through video.
What's their story?
There are some fundamental changes that need to happen at the grass-root level and AID India hopes to use my visual stories at different rural schools to tackle preexisting social problems and stereotypes. For example, in the educational textbooks students use at their primary schools, the various illustrations reiterate the inferiority of women in society, especially those who are housewives. Children going to school, even having been exposed to education, soon become molded with the ideology that their father is the source of knowledge whilst their mother’s knowledge is only restricted to the domain of the kitchen or their home. The vast layers of the internalization of inferiority has been inculcated over generations and despite the shift in modernity in India’s main cities, the rural areas are still suffering from high levels of gender inequality.
How can I instigate change?
I understand that this issue might be a difficult onion to peel; nevertheless, I do not underestimate the power of an awe-provoking video aimed towards challenging and changing the seed of an idea that was rooted generations ago. Videos and photographs in the classroom are a new appealing way to address important issues in the classroom, especially those students in the rural regions who do not have the means to access technology. By targeting school children, we hope bring change while they are still in the process of developing their worldview. We realize that we can only make meaningful change on a small scale at first, and even if one child changes his/her mindset in his/her community, then we will have succeeded.
Please feel free to follow me on Instagram @minamohit to see recent updates about my project. I am currently private on Instagram because Google keeps using my photos in its searches and I'm not cool with that so just ask to follow and I'll accept right away. I'll be documenting my India adventures and posting them here every month. Many people have asked me to get snapchat, so if that happens then it will probably also be "minamohit" or something... However, Instagram is the best bet so far. I need your blessings, luck and prayers. I can't wait to share my journey and my learnings with all of you!
Until next month folks
- my next post will be from a hot and humid internet cafe in rural India!!
Enjoy your summer and happy holidays!
Hopefully it's not as hot as mine :-p
Mina is a multimedia journalist currently based in London, U.K.
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