Carmel College has, since its year of establishment, strived to stay true to its vision and mission of empowering the young women of the locality through education, with the higher aim of bettering their social standing and society at large. With a vast majority of first- generation learners at hand, disseminating quality education has both been a challenging and rewarding experience for the institution. Education at Carmel has never been limited to classroom learning, instead, it has always been about inculcating in students a commitment towards the community through engaging in various extension, outreach and linkage programmes as part of their learning and progress. Students have been sensitized to the socio- cultural, political, environmental, particularly gender-specific issues transpiring in their immediate surroundings and world at large, through various institutional initiatives, so that they are equipped to respond and react sensibly to the reality around them. Various institutional Committees, Cells, Forums, Student Union and departmental Associations, with student representation, spearhead several community enhancement initiatives.
Mala, the small town, is primarily a layman’s haven and Carmel College has always known where the people’s heart lies. Therefore, several extension/outreach programmes have been initiated in collaboration with governmental organizations/departments and NGOs, hospitals and schools, and local bodies. Under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan by MHRD, the college adopted five nearby villages, where copious awareness campaigns and health surveys have been undertaken. At the forefront of the community, building initiatives are the NSS and NCC units of the College.
NSS units No.2 and No. 89 of the campus are one of the vibrant subunits in the State. Each year, the units hold special camps in select locales of the institution’s adopted villages or care homes, where students live with the community, interacting with them and engaging in activities to raise consciousness on health, environment, gender, and social issues. Free medical camps have been set up with the support of NGOs, hospitals and Banks for the benefit of the community. AIDS awareness campaigns funded by Kerala State AIDS Control Society, cancer detection and awareness campaign under OPPAM scheme, palliative care programme, awareness class on lifestyle diseases, health and hygiene, in particular on menstrual hygiene provided for the women of the community, are notable ventures. As part of Blood Donor Day observance, a blood donation camp is set on the campus for willing staff and students to donate blood. Awareness classes from experts on diverse social issues like human rights, legal awareness on women laws, demonetization, drug abuse, road safety, pollution and use of plastic, waste management, consumer protection rights, cybercrime, Covid-19 health awareness have been part of the various camps. Skill development/entrepreneurship training programmes have also been initiated for the women community through training in the making of bags, umbrellas, LED serial bulbs/stars, paper pens, soap and other toiletries. The units have also been in the forefront to initiate two house constructions for the family of two students from the college under the AHAYAM project of Calicut University.
The institution exemplifies a ‘green lifestyle’ and is an active advocate of nature conservation. Undertaking cleanliness drives in adopted villages, within and outside the campus, observance of sevanavaram, tree plantation drives, participation in Central Government initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Swachhata Pakhwada, Swachhta Hi Seva are regular practices under the aegis of NCC and NSS units.Green initiatives including Mutathoru Vazha Project, tapioca cultivation, training in mushroom cultivation and vegetable gardening have been provided to the Kudumbasree units of adopted villages to ensure a sustainable livelihood.
The institution aids neighbourhood women collectives to work together, get informed through insightful sessions and free library services. Vacation classes and free tuition in English and mathematics have been provided to the children of the locality. Holy Mass and confession services are extended to the nearby community in the college chapel. The Carmel Extension Centre for Women facilitates training for the local women in tailoring, embroidery, handicrafts, ornament making, bookmaking and binding book, enabling them to secure a means of living. A Community College also functions to provide affordable and quality diploma courses in DTP, banking and tally to aspirants of all age groups from the locality.
The faculty and students of various departments have also been at the forefront of sharing resources with the community. Training in mushroom cultivation, organic farming, preparation of karkidaka kanji, apiculture, vegetable gardening by the Department of Botany, training in making LED serial bulbs and daily use products like a paper pen, soap, detergents, carpet by Departments of Physics and Chemistry, extension classes to nearby schools on topics of social relevance including legal literacy, Open-Source Software, plastic waste disposal, reproductive health, communication skills, child abuse and child protection along with ayurvedic medical camp, health and socio-economic surveys initiated by departments of Political Science, Vocational Studies, Chemistry, Zoology, English and Sociology respectively are a commendable few. These student units and each department have linkage with nursing homes and care centres for the differently-abled where they pay annual visits and distribute basic amenities, sweets and food.
The institution has also been able to fruitfully translate its resources for community upliftment during the adverse times of OKHI and the deluge of 2018. Management, staff, students, PTA, alumnae, and well-wishers actively participated in the flood relief campaigns, making a significant contribution, both in-kind and cash. Both NSS and NCC participated in the ‘Rebuild Kerala’ survey held at Annamanada and Kuzhoor Panchayaths, and ‘Clean Mala’ of Mala Panchayath, and constructed a house with the assistance of Aster Medcity, Ernakulam. AICUF and Jesus Youth units of the college collected clothes for the Ockhi victims of Kuttanadu and Alapuzha.The student volunteers extended their contribution by partaking in rescue operations, cleaning the ruined dwellings and pathways, collecting material supplies and food for the deprived.
At the heart of each of these endeavours is the desire to better the life of people in the community. Carmel College believes that no education is holistic, if it fails to connect the learners with the reality around and has stayed true to this conviction in all its practices.