Class 9 Students Visit CIRHEP


From 7th to 10th October, the 9th grade students were taken on a service-learning trip to the Centre for Improved Health and Environment Protection (CIRHEP) Training Centre in Nilakottai near Madurai. The trip was facilitated by Mr. Anand Ethirajalu, Coordinator of Project GreenHands.

The Center Coordinator, Mr. P.M.Mohan, a rural economist and farmer by profession, and Mr. P.Rajkumar, along with the rest of the CIRHEP team, provided first-hand anecdotes of the realities of the Indian farmer. Over the course of three days, students participated in both theoretical as well as experiential sessions through which they acquired knowledge on watershed management practices, the workings of a farm, sustainable agricultural / farming practices, forest ecosystems and impending threats, and the role of women’s self-help groups (SHGs) in women’s empowerment in the rural sector.

Students trekked to the top of the nearby Kadavakurichi mountain to understand watershed forestry and thereafter went on a guided tour of the composite system of check dams and farmer ponds that had been created to re-charge the ground water table and prevent soil erosion. Field work included bund making, floriculture harvesting, weeding, and preparing organic bio-preparations (bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides). Students visited the nearby village and played environmental education games with students who were part of an after-school nature program, and interacted with a local women’s SHG to learn about its various income generating activities.

On the final day of the trip, students were taken to the nearby hill station of Kodaikanal. The day started off with an early morning forest trek with Mr. Bala of the Palni Hills Conservation Council. Students were fortunate to spot a herd of gaur in the wild. The rest of the day was allotted for recreation and leisure activity in and around Kodaikanal Lake such as cycling, boating, and horseback riding.

Needless to say, it was a memorable trip.