Transforming the lives of hundreds in India
There can be few projects making more of a difference to people’s lives than the DMU Square Mile India project.
Since the official launch of the programme in early 2016, more than 300 De Montfort University students have visited Ahmedabad, in the Gujarat province, to help make a difference.
Flood-risk homes are being rebuilt, children are getting an education that would otherwise be denied them, people are getting tests that are improving their health and youngsters are getting dance and drama lessons.
The project, working alongside the local charity Manav Sadhna, has now expanded to strengthen the education programme across five community centres in the city, which provides learning support to 2,000 children.
Students and centre leaders have developed a rich curriculum which includes arts, dance, crafts and a supportive environment where they can flourish.
Work has also taken place to design new homes for the Loving Community in Ahmedabad, a home for former leprosy sufferers.
Every year, heavy rain floods the homes of hundreds of people, who are forced to camp out in the community centre for months on end.
Volunteer students on the architecture course working on plans for a new library in Ahmedabad as part of the Square Mile India project
DMU architecture students have worked in collaboration with a local architect to develop designs that will modify the homes and raise them, to prevent flooding in the rainy season.
The cost of the works has been met by fundraising carried out by DMU students, staff and friends of the university, with activities being held on campus.
Volunteer students being briefed before going out to help in the community of Ahmedabad as part of the Square Mile India project
DMU Square Mile India also supports the Loving Community Centre, which was founded in 2009. It is based in the heart of a community bought together by the disease they all shared – leprosy. By supporting this centre, more than 150 people will have access to:
- Free dinner programme for some of the neediest in the community;
- Workshops and educational programmes;
- Hosts community wide meetings;
- Lighted area for children to play and study;
- And an indoor shelter for residents whose homes are flood during monsoon season.
These are just the latest of a plethora of projects that have taken place in the past three years.
More pupils, especially girls, have been enabled to stay on in education after students built new washrooms at their schools, trees are being planted to reduce the damage caused by flooding, there are safeguarding workshops for children, health information events, business enterprise workshops and computer coding courses among the raft of projects.