From carrying the rich art form of Kathakali forward to travelling for social impact, here are the top social stories for this week
In our Catalysts of Hope series, we bring you uplifting, inspiring, and impactful stories of change.
Ayirur, a serene village on the banks of the holy river Pamba in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, has been christened as India’s first Kathakali village by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Surveyor General of India. Now it is officially renamed as Ayirur Kathakali Gramam (Ayirur Kathakali Village).
Situated just 60 km away from the famous temple shrine of Sabarimala, the village has around 70 per cent of people associated with Kathakali in some form or another. The village has a Kathakali Club, with 400 members, which provides study sessions in schools to teach basic mudras and make-up to students.
Additionally, the village hosts a week-long Kathakali festival on the banks of the Pamba every year, which attracts around 15,000 people. The club also organises a literary appreciation class every month to discuss classics, plays, and how they can be connected to storytelling through Kathakali. The village is now set to establish a Kathakali museum and an institute for Kathakali to further promote this ancient art form and draw tourists.
Read more about it here.
In 2018, Nikhil Pratap Singh, a former corporate employee, founded Planet Trotter, a travel-for-impact social venture dedicated to transforming remote Himalayan villages. Inspired by his passion for adventure sports and a desire to help marginalised communities, Singh uses expedition projects to drive socio-economic change.
He adopted three remote villages, distributing essential supplies, fixing trolleys, installing solar panels for schools, and promoting revenue-generating activities. The venture also organises expeditions like the ‘Valley of River’ and ‘Uttarakhand Caravan Expedition’, fostering cultural exchange and creating job opportunities in rural areas. Singh’s challenge was gaining the trust of locals, but he now plans to expand the initiative beyond Uttarakhand.
Meanwhile, in other socially relevant news…
Creating good causes
After the untimely demise of Sakthivel (38), a labourer from Manalur in Virudachalam, in March, his family was left struggling with financial hardship. His wife, S Muthulakshmi started working as a wage labourer to support her five children during this challenging period.
According to a report in The New Indian Express (TNIE), she sought assistance from DSP A Arokiyaraj at the Virudachalam sub-division. Seeing their plight and the dilapidated house they were living in, he was deeply moved.
With the help of several social activists, the DSP arranged for two girls in the family to continue their education at a residential school in Tindivanam. He got the three boys enrolled in a local government school in Virudachalam and also provided them with essential study materials. Additionally, Rs 10 lakh was raised for the house to be built. They were also provided with Rs 2 lakh worth of essential household items, including electronic appliances, to ensure the family’s well-being.
In another uplifting news, a 10-year-old boy named Vihaan Talya Vikas from Bengaluru was awarded the best photographer in his category at the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition held in London.
The competition was organised by the Natural History Museum London, to showcase the finest wildlife photography from around the world. Vikas had clicked a photo of a spider along with Krishna’s carving on the outskirts of the city. He draws inspiration for wildlife photography from his father.
“I am very happy and excited to receive this award. I like doing photography because it helps us think creatively and connect with nature,” he said, as per a report in TNIE.
Edited by Swetha Kannan