It is time to go to Kerala and to discover social engagement activities in South India.
The flight from Pune to Cochin takes about 1,5 hours only, but just at the very first view Kerala appears as a completely different place: this is not just a different climate zone, but also a different way of Indian life. Kerala is the part of India where many rich Indians live. In the cities hotels, shops, streets seem to be better organized. We pass elegant houses, villas with large gardens and garage. There are many churches along the way – in Kerala ca. 25 % are Christians.
Kerala is a state in the south-west region of India on the Malabar coast. Kerala is the twelfth largest state by population and is divided into 14 districts. Malayalam is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.
The region is known as a prominent spice trade location. It is a very green land with huge palms, lakes, tea and spice production. The state has the highest literacy rate 95.5 %. Many rich people go to abroad for studies.
Our next stay is at the Peermade development society, the PDS. Here we will spend the next three days and get some insights into Tribal development, women’s development programme, micro enterprise development, organic farming and insurance programmes, the visit of an alternative medicine producer and tea and pepper producers.
When we arrive we meet two young students from the German Karl Kübel Stiftung (foundation) who participate in the ‘Weltwärts initiative’, a programme where young people stay from 6 months up to two years in emerging countries and actively participate in socially engaged organizations such as the PDS. During dinner they tell us about their experiences and their activities. They have been staying here for about seven months now. During the stay they visit single PDS projects and take care on documentation issues by writing case studies and producing video material that will be used to promote PDS activities here in India, but also in Germany.
The two women have spend also regularly time with local children with the intent to train English language skills and enjoying together intercultural activities. They tell us that they have celebrated together il “nikolaus”, baked German bread and also talked about some globally famous artists. Hearing about them and seeing some examples the Indian children designed Indian people by using the Van Gogh or Picasso style…
The two Germans feel very welcome and respected here in Peermade. Just in one thing they are not really happy: that their stay will end soon. It seems that they had a really good time in Kerala!