Seraj Valley-Kullu: Two first year undergraduate students from reputed Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC, Pune) completed a six-week internship starting May working with My Himachal in the rural Upper Seraj Valley of Kullu District.
Dushyant Kumar and Maynak Susngi, SIMC students were involved with a number of My Himachal projects which included video documentation of the My Himachal Health Mela, 2010.
Two short PSA-like videos, The Work Continues and Don’t Forget Us, on My Himachal child healthcare efforts working with Jibhi CHAI/Lady Willingdon Hospital were produced.
The interns shot and edited the health mela video PSAs working under the direction of Payson Stevens, Advisory Board member My Himachal.
Working in collaboration with Padam Singh, My Himachal Manager, Dushyant and Mayank also hiked to remote villages and did surveys on two new projects; one focused on gathering written and photographic documentation on the quality of tourist accommodations (hotels, guest cottages, homestays) in the Upper Seraj Valley to support livelihood development in the tourism sector and the other project did surveys in the higher villages so as to assess chronic water shortages and awareness related global warming issues.
“We are under the impression that impacts of climate change have already commenced in Himachal Pradesh,” says Payson, leader of the My Himachal rural water recharge project. “There has been a great deal of variability in weather and monsoon conditions these last few years. Higher villages, especially those without sufficient green cover, are suffering from lack of water. The residents of a number of these villages are now forced to travel 1-3 km each way to get their daily water.
We’re hoping to initiate a My Himachal Water Recharge Pilot (WRP) to see whether traditional and modern techniques can help recharge the micro-water catchments for these villages and help alleviate the problem,” says Payson.
My Himachal advisors, Sanjeeva Pandey and Jessica Wallack, assisted Payson in the development of the survey questions along with input from the NGOs GrassRoots (Uttarakand) and Arghyam (Bangalore). Mayank helped Padam Singh in gathering data from 11 different villages as part of the WRP.
Dushyant assisted Padam in the data collection and photographic documentation for the tourism project visiting 14 accommodations.
Though the My Himachal intern program is in its fourth consecutive year, however, this was the first year SIMC student interns were mentored by the organisation.
Earlier students from the prestigious SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai (SPJIMR Mumbai) have interned with My Himachal at Kullu and Shimla.