IViL – IIT for Villages is a student run organization in IIT Madras(IITM). It serves as a discussion forum and action platform for students of IITM to implement their ideas for Rural India.It is an institute body approved by the Student Legislative Council, IITM (SLC).
The passion of the student-volunteers drives IViL forward . IViL provides a flexible platform where the volunteers have the freedom to pursue their ideas for rural India.
Dr. John Bosco Lourdusamy, our ex-Faculty Advisor has summed up the driving force behind IViL in the following words, “Not only do we at IViL envisage having an impact on Villages in India, we also feel that our activities will contribute to the holistic development of IITians who participate in our endeavours. We believe that by looking outside our campus and by exposing ourselves to the conditions that exist in rural areas of our country, we will be able to sensitize some of the next generation of IITians to the needs of the nation. We hope that the empathy we gain from these exercises will make us better citizens in the long run and that some us might even pursue socially relevant career opportunities. In either case, either by designing or implementing appropriate technologies and/or processes in rural areas, we would like to use our skills in science, engineering and business to improve the quality of life and reduce the inequalities among India’s citizens.”
How IViL Started
One fine day (in the even semester of 2005) B.Tech students doing a Humanities Department course on “Modern Science in India” at IIT Madras went to a village called Natham, 50 km from Chennai, as a part of their course assignment. Their aim was to find the possibilities of greater interaction between institutes like IIT and rural India.
Based on their reports and subsequent discussions with more students, it was felt that while a lot of difference could be made to the village by the potentials of IITians (and vice versa), there wasn’t much realization of the same on either side. Hence came the suggestion for a student body which would work in all possible ways to help bridge this gap. Thus was born IViL!
Growing step by step, with the dedication of generations of IViLians, IViL has created its niche in the institute. Much effort by the founder members has gone into making IViL an institute-recognized entity.
Vision and Mission
To leverage the unique and vast resource base in the institute for a wider audience. It is a discussion forum and an action platform for the students of IIT Madras to implement their thoughts for rural India.
Because we believe that action without deliberation is neither efficient nor effective. We endeavor to foster an environment for intellectual discussion through KnowEx or Knowledge Exchange sessions, rural visits and by thorough documentation of activities.
Because some of the greatest lessons are learnt only when moving from the stage of ideas to execution. This is facilitated by means of short and long-term projects or social experiments taken up by the group to positively impact the rural community.
How we work
IViL Google Group serves as the lifeline through which all major announcements and discussions take place. All project discussions including proposals of new projects and updates are routed through the group. Any interested student of IITM can join the group. The team works, keeping the IViL Google Group updated on the progress.
Student volunteers also take up administrative work for the smooth functioning of IViL. It includes general coordination, finance, documentation and publicity, and the point of contact of each ongoing project. IViL believes in working together and joint responsibility, hence constantly tries to ensure that there is no hierarchy. The inclusion of aforementioned roles is to improve efficiency and accountability.
IViL also holds regular meetings. Project updates for the week, general discussions, discussion on new project ideas, finance approvals etc. happen in the weekly meetings. These meetings were once held under what we fondly called the ‘knowledge tree’ outside the library and later on at the CLT foyer (Central Lecture Theatre) on Thursdays at 9 PM. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the weekly meetings are held online on Fridays at 9 PM.
Where we work
Villages have always been IViL’s active engagements. We have worked with quite a few villages over the years, including Komara (Andhra Pradesh, The Komara teaching project), Karijatha (Andhra Pradesh), Natham (Tamil Nadu), Veppampattu (Tamil Nadu), Kotturpuram gypsy colony in Chennai etc.
The various projects like Cycle Donation, Gadget Donation, Sankalp, Foodstall etc. are also associated with various villages mostly in the districts near Chennai, and vary from year to year.
The Ignited Minds Conference takes place within the campus of IIT Madras. We welcome new initiatives and areas that we can efficiently undertake.