Close this search box.

Amrita University collaborates with Harvard University students to fight alcoholism

Key Points

  • Harvard University public health students partnered with Amrita University social work students in a Live-in-Labs program to study and address alcoholism’s impact on tribal mental health in Wayanad, emphasizing experiential learning.
  • Acknowledging the pervasive issue of alcoholism in tribal areas, the initiative focused on breaking the addiction cycle through youth education. The Amrita CREATE program used tablet-based learning to educate 1000 tribal youth on various subjects, aiming for lasting impact.
  • Tribal students trained as change ambassadors spoke out against alcohol addiction through initiatives like street plays. Ongoing efforts, driven by university volunteers and tribal youth, plan to sustain engagement and address the deep-rooted problem of alcoholism in Wayanad.
7 June 2015
Main topic
Related topics
Education Healthcare Research Rural Development

In January 2015, public health students from Harvard University and social work students from our own Amrita University teamed up to research the impact of alcoholism on the mental health of tribal peoples in Wayanad as well as address the issue through youth education and empowerment. They put their respective strengths in research and implementation to practical use under the Live-in-Labs program, an experiential learning program that places students in Indian villages to directly understand the problems faced by rural populations and to design, implement, test, and demonstrate innovative solutions to those problems.

Students sit on the ground in a circle with villagers

Alcoholism is a major problem in tribal areas. Whole families and communities are in the grip of this addiction. With the erosion of traditional culture and values, as well as other entrenched issues such as poverty and lack of education and resources, this population struggles with alcoholism and its associated problems, which affect entire families and communities.

Research has shown that breaking the cycle of addiction is best achieved by educating the youth of a community. Therefore, our students introduced an Amrita CREATE program developed to spread awareness and foster empowerment in the next generation at one of our education centers in Valaramkunnu, Wayanad. The initiative uses tablet based learning to train 1000 tribal youth in computer concepts, health awareness, social awareness and value-based education. Selected student ambassadors help raise health and social awareness in their school and entire village.

At Wayanad, several tribal students from our education center elected to be ambassadors of change. The university students trained them to speak out against alcohol addiction at the local school. On the 18th of January, a program was held at the at Shree Shankara Vidyanikethan UP school in Cherukara, Wayanad, Kerala. The young ambassadors performed a short ‘street play’ on the dangers of alcoholism. Followed by an explanation about the health consequences of alcohol addiction on the body. Lastly, they asked the other schoolchildren to draw pictures on how alcohol has impacted their own lives. The session ended with the crowd taking an oath led by the new tribal ambassadors committing to avoid the pitfalls of addiction.

Keeping in mind that a one-time approach does not solve such a deep-rooted problem, the collaborative program plans to continue over the next few months. With the dedication and perseverance of both university volunteers and tribal youth ambassadors, we can begin to break the insidious cycle of addiction and bring hope to Wayanad.

Latest news

Watch Amma’s daily livestream

Amma offers us the possibility to connect online with her on a daily basis. During these livestreams, we can meditate with Amma, chant bhajans (devotional singing) and hear spiritual teachings.

Registration is required to access these livestreams:

Add Your Heading Text Here