Brijith Maria Thomas - Selected fot the Social Hackathon 1.0
Brijith Maria Thomas is a first year MSW disaster management student. Being born to a family of farmers, she was fond of plants and greenery at a very young age. In her teenage days, when she realised that the earth is on the brink of great danger, she has begun to collect data and participate actively in nature club and activities to identify the crisis at its root level. During the graduation time, she started an online page for sharing her thoughts and concern on earth and its greenery, called 'greenplantlet'. Although it has only 500 followers now, those people who discuss the ideas and keep a track of her activities are fair enough to share the ideas to an extended audience. Now, even when she is doing her MSW program in disaster management, she is aiming to the greater good of society and nature. In between her graduation period and post graduation, she even did a sign language course to break the barriers of languages and spread the idea that, even gestures have the power to communicate perfectly, when, someone is determined to convey something important.
Anjuthengu aka Anjengo is a coastal Panchayat and town in Chirayinkeezhu block, Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. It is the place with immense historical relevance. It is situated 9 km south-west of Varkala Town along Trivandrum - Varkala - Kollam coastal highway. Anjuthengu is inhabited with fishermen community and their livelihood is fully dependent on the sea and the lake. Fishermen community of Anjengo faces grave issues and the most important among them is the issue of livelihood. As already mentioned the community is dependent on the sea and lake for their day-to-day needs of life. We could realise that there is the issue of decline in fish resource in the sea mainly because of the increase in arrival of big boats named ollivellangal. These large boats are equipped with trackers and specially designed nets for fishing. A huge amount of fish is collected by these boats (including the smaller ones and eggs). Hence, the availability of fish for the indigenous people of Anjengo is minimum. This adversely affects their day-to-day life, since their lives are completely dependent in fishing practice. Another issue they face is that of the decreased permit of kerosene. This force them to pay more on fuel for the boat – engine. At the same time their earnings from sea is poor. This eventually pushes the families into debt. The impact of Ockhi cyclone in the lives of people still persists; even after 3 years of the disaster. The trauma pulls the survivors of the disaster to get back home, even a small change observed in the climate during the fishing. This made others to exclude the survivors while they depart to fishing practice. Previously men were the main earning members of each family, but in the post disaster scenario and also due to the issues of ollivellam women are forced to find job in order to take care of the family. Men also find alternative job like daily wages as livelihood measure. But in the pandemic scenario their lives are in misery
Women belong to the community are interested in agriculture. They are ready to start cultivation, if adequate support is provided (Currently there is no support from the part of Krishibhavan in starting a new venture). We are planning to solve the issue of livelihood up to a certain extent by supporting the women in starting agriculture in their areas. We expect that if the venture becomes a success then more support will be available from the part of government as a step to promote the livelihood of the community.
We believe we have the power to make changes by using the skills we already have as we are MSW Disaster management students and rehabilitation is one of our focus area also Anjengo is included in our field work, and also we would like to promote women empowerment through such activities by providing them skills and livelihood assets which contribute to improve their socio-economic status.