Josh Varghese - Selected for The Social Hackathon 3.0
Updated: Jun 27, 2021
Josh Varghese - a media student hailing from Vazhoor, Kottayam. Along with his Masters in Communication and Media Studies (Marian College, Kuttikkanam), he is actively involved in various other social programmes. And it was during his internship at Radio Neythal 107.8, Alappuzha, he came to know about the plights of fishermen community in Alappuzha. He tried his best to unveil their struggles infront of the world through few documentaries shared via social media. And it is for the upliftment of these people in Ottamassery he is here! For this Social Hackathon!
Ottamassery is a small village in Kadakkarappally panchayath of Alappuzha District, Kerala. More than 90% of the villagers here are fishermen and the sea remains as their major source of livelihood. They do not own big fishing boats and these poor fishermen can only cover a distance maximum up to 10 km from the shore. This group does not earn any fixed income! Moreover climate change and other reasons limit their workability into 5 to 6 months a year. Rest of the year they actually struggle to survive. Only few women from their community go for work and they work in various fish companies. The high cold condition in which they work causes arthritis. Also the chemicals which they use to preserve fishes burn their hands, and they cannot continue their work next day. Therefore, it does not serve as a daily bread-earning work. And the wage they get is very low. For few years, this area is facing issues of high tide as well. During high tides, fisherman cannot go fishing and it creates extra burden for these people. It affects their houses and other infrastructures and no one helps them in this regard. Even though Government promised financial help several times, it is not reaching them on time. The people here need an additional source of income other than fishing to survive during the low or no income generating period. State Government's food kit is a great relief for them, but they need to find some income method other than fishing to fulfill the necessities of their family. They need to be self-sufficient and independent. Ultimately they deserve a better economic status. Our project aims at uplifting their financial status and economic growth with the participation of children and women in the community.
Ottamassery is a place where its east side is backwaters and the people here are experienced in fishing. One idea that we propose is cage farming. Cage farming is ideal for areas with backwaters and is supported by the government as well. It requires an initial investment, but government provides subsidies and thus is budget-friendly. The second idea that we put forward is mushroom farming. Ottamassery is just an hour far from Ernakulam, a metro city of Kerala, which has a huge market for mushrooms. This does not require a huge initial investment and tiresome efforts.
Through this project, we aim at:
Introducing and providing awareness about the project to the people of Ottamassery to earn a living during their no income times of the year.
Training them to gain an additional skill that will help them gain additional income.
Educating them about the grants and support provided by the government and how to get the benefit of it.
Making them independent and building confidence.
Bringing together the people of Ottamassery to collectively work and gain the project's benefit.
Encouraging cage farming in the backwaters of Alappuzha.
Promoting gender equality and women empowerment by giving work for both men and women equally and by making the women the bread earner of the house.