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Mary Ritty Citus - Selected for The Social Hackathon 3.0

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Mary Ritty Citus born in Ottamassery to a fisherman family, knew the plights of the fisherman community from her childhood. She wanted a change to this scenario. She tried her best to unveil their struggles in front of the world through few documentaries shared via social media platforms. She takes this social hackathon as a first step to this goal. She pursued her degree in Zoology from St. Joseph's College for Women, Alappuzha under Kerala University. As an ardent lover of books, she always wanted to know more about literature, and she gained her masters in Malayalam from SD college, Alappuzha. She was an active volunteer during the 2018 flood. She is currently working as a Radio jockey in Radio Neythal 107.8, a community radio for the fisherman community in Alappuzha.


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.

  • Relaxing the tension of single earning families by making the women and children capable of earning.

  • Implanting the quality of hard work, dedicated efforts in the minds of the children.

  • Connecting the small village to the big markets and opportunities.


Our team consists of 3 members, of which two of us are journalism students and one is from Ottamassery who really go through the struggles of the people there. As part of our internship work, we had gone to that place and could know their pain and sufferings. As human beings and responsible citizens, we felt it would be an honourable effort to do anything for those suffering there. And we wish they too live a happy and satisfying life which they deserve like every individual in this country.



Project Neythal aims at uplifting the economic status of the people of Ottamassery. As mentioned above, most of the people there are fishermen and they struggle to survive 5-6 months of the year due to lack of work. With the active participation of children and women of the community, we introduce them to two farming ideas which will help them gain a regular income for living. Project Nethal also aims to link these farmers to the potential market of Ernakulam, which is only an hour away. With the grants from the Government, we believe that Project Neythal will improve the living standards of the people of Ottamassery.


  • To uplift the financial and economic status of the people of Ottamassery.


  • GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Apply now for The Social HacKathon and receive $250 along with mentorship

to put your ideas into action!

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