Friday, July 6, 2012

Mysore Project: Palliative Care and ILR

My summer in Mysore was spent working in SVYM's newly established palliative care unit. As an Industrial and Labor Relations student with little to no health background, I was initially a bit nervous my skill set would be incompatible with the tasks I would be assigned… I could not have been more wrong.

Taking the city bus to work.

As I learned, only 20% of palliative, or end of life, care is physical aid, and the other 80% is a combination of psychological, economic, social, and spiritual aid. During my time here, I had the opportunity to go on field visits with health care volunteers and interact (as much as the language barrier would permit) with patients. Actually getting to witness first hand the interplay between health conditions and socioeconomic conditions was something that left a lasting impact on me. Work, and the ability to sustain one's economic independence, was something that many of our patients could no longer do, which as an ILR student was a prominent concern.

Working in the office.

My primary project for the summer entailed creating a training manual for volunteers that encompassed everything they would ever have to know or do. This included everything from basic nursing to social entitlement schemes to how to communicate with patients. Applying my human resources knowledge, I was also able to create a presentation that could be used by trainers to teach volunteers, as well as pre/post tests to gauge effectiveness of trainings and assess volunteers’ skills. As an ILR student working in the unfamiliar world of doctors, nurses, and health care volunteers, this project was an eye opening experience, and it was rewarding to apply all that ILR has taught me to such a worthy cause.

With my supervisor, Neal.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Hidden Gems of Hyderabad

Old Hyderabad.
Felicia (l) and Dipabali (r) in Hyderabad.
By Dipabali, ILR'14, and Felicia, ILR'14, share their GSL service project in Hyderabad.

Both of us are working with a government agency, called SERP (Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty), that empowers the rural poor through social mobilization and improvement of livelihoods in the state of Andhra Pradesh. SERP’s initiatives include education, health care, and finance, focusing on disadvantaged communities. Our concentration is on the disability population affecting nearly 70 million people in India. The socio economic gap for people with disabilities is vastly due to their unemployment rate of over 85%.  For the small percentage of employed people with disabilities, the working conditions are not optimal for them.

Currently in India, there is no formalized process that allows people with disabilities to receive accommodations in the workplace. Most accommodations are implemented through ad hoc methods. Our task is to develop a handbook that will guide HR managers and employees with disabilities through the filing for accommodations process. This handbook will be modeled after the U.S HR policies but customized to fit the Indian system. Affiliated with the World Bank, SERP is the leading model for disability programs and policies in India. The implementation for this filing process can impact the rest of the country on accommodating people with disabilities in the public sector.

Our second project is with CPDL (Center for People with Disabilities Livelihood), a non-profit organization that is partnered with SERP and the Wadhwani Foundation. CPDL works with students with disabilities from rural villages and trains them to obtain jobs in various industries such as retail and IT. Our task is to design sensitivity modules that will educate both public and private sector employers how to positively promote good practices for people with disabilities. Both of us are extremely grateful for the support and opportunity given to us from EDI. Our ILR training has also provided us with the skill sets and resources necessary to thrive in our projects.  
Arun Karpur and Susanne Bruyere of EDI visit students in India.
Worker in the Diamond Factory Crafting Jewelry.
Hyderabad is the Capital of Bangles! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mysore Project: "GRAAM - Working to Make a Vibrant Village"

By: Simon, ILR '14, describes his 4-week service learning project at GRAAM, SVYM.

Simon speaking with a GRAAM staff member.
Simon taking local transportation in Mysore.
GRAAM office at SVYM.
"Graam" in Kannada (the language spoken in Mysore) means village. The work I do revolves around the village - building a strong, vibrant community for every child in every community. Currently, I am working as a researcher and policy writer for GRAAM's Education Leadership Management (ELM) program to help make this a reality. Improving the quality of education for every child requires many stakeholders: parents, teachers, headteachers (principals), community members, and other education officials. The ELM program hopes to train headteachers to make systematic changes to the school, utilize resources better, and engage the community. The training's will encompass over 200 schools. To measure the success of the training program, I was commissioned to create mechanisms of capturing data and information to better understand the program. After creating these research mechanisms, I have helped to develop the specific tools that will be used in the field. Now my work has shifted to writing policy. I am writing education policy on improving leadership in the Indian government school system. Next week I will have the opportunity to go out in the field and visit area schools. 

My success in this project has much credit owed to my education at ILR. My research experience at the Scheinman Institute and courses in organizational behavior and collective bargaining have been paramount to bringing my skill set to the ELM project.