A social service and educative gathering effort by the Palm Meadow’s chapter of Social Welfare Group, Whitefield Rising for the women workers in the complex.
To interact with maids, arrange for informative talks and teachings beneficial to them and their family, provide them a forum for sharing their talents (be it in creative art, music-dance, folk wisdom or cooking skills) amongst themselves and with us. This effort will go a long way in them appreciating us as a community, and also brighten their otherwise sole work focused life within Palm Meadows.
How this came about
- The group brainstormed ‘what’ would improve the welfare of the many workers engaged in different types of work in the many ‘gated communities’. A number of topics and steps were put together. These were primarily Health, Sanitation and Literacy.
- It was felt that ‘welfare’ should also include creative learning, a platform to socialise and an opportunity to share existing talents….hence the idea of a ‘koota’
- Decided to begin with the lady workers, because they impact their children and they are more receptive to change!
- A letter introducing the concept of a ‘Koota’ was drafted and sent to employers and to the ladies to invite them to attend.
- Inaugural gathering on 20th of July, at the Amenities Center in Palm Meadows
At the very beginning Anuj Valmiki included the gathering in our vision of ‘Arivu Nalivu koota’ and also made it clear that this was not going to be a place to unionize or bring work issues for discussion
The first interaction had a very informal agenda, mainly interaction and introduction. Ahalya Kumar (Pam Meadows resident) conducted the proceedings in Kannada and Tina Kishore translated in Hindi.. The session concluded with Ahalya sharing a simple home remedy for cold/cough which was much appreciated.
The attendance far surpassed our expectations-around 50 of them came!
- Second meeting on 17th Aug
Ahalya spoke to assembled women about food categories ie, proteins and carbohydrates and how they nourish the bodies and readily available foods that contain these. This was rounded off with a nourishing recipe!
Dr. Seemanthini Desai (Consultant Microbiologist, Chairperson, Infection Control Committee at Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore ) came and talked to these women about dengue fever-its causes, prevention, symptoms and early response towards a suspected patient. The talk was really appreciated by all of us!
- Maids also felt it was a “social” gathering and felt good going there.
- We also got more resident volunteers!
Fun Learning Activities
a) Rangoli Competition using organic colours
b) Singing competition in any language
c) Using clay to create Ganesha or Puja items- a talk to discourage buying idols made in plaster of paris which are traditionally immersed.
d) X-mas Koota! Games and information on Xmas – symbols, colours and story behind the festival as well as, a small treat of plum cake and coconut macaroon!
What we need from residents
- Make your staff available and adjust their working hours for 1 hour on 3rd the Saturday of each month to enable them to attend this gathering.
- You can volunteer on site and share your knowledge, awareness, life & social skills with others.
We are piloting this effort at Palm Meadows and want to help those who are helping us every day. We want to show that we care for their betterment and joy!
- We hope that we can soon create a fast track Literacy model for our Koota members- both in English and Kannada. Most attendees requested for these classes and that the meetings should be held more frequently.
- We also hope that we can reach out to the wider group of Whitefield Rising for more people who would like to join us in this group and replicate this in their communities
- A big plus would be people who can speak Kannada because conversing in the local language creates instant comfort and ease. Please join us if you are conversant in Kannada, or if you can work with the literacy model, or if you know interesting arts/crafts/skills that can be taught to these ladies.
Please take it forward and make a change!