#21 PAKKAM INFO-HUB: An Information Hub For Resettled Communities In Perumbakkam
Sunitha Don Bosco, India

PAKKAM INFO-HUB: An Information Hub For Resettled Communities In Perumbakkam

Sunitha Don Bosco, India

Initiative's goals and main activities 

The ‘Pakkam INFO–hub’ will have a holistic approach in bridging the information and knowledge gap thus solving the exclusion of the resettled people by digital inclusiveness. The info-hub will be established through a participatory exercise for mapping the needs of the resettled community, especially women. We will mainly focus on dissemination of information and capacity building around digital media skills.

The specific tasks are: The ‘Pakkam INFO–hub’ will also play host to various capacity building initiatives for women in the resettlement site ranging from rights issues of the urban poor, public health issues, promoting self-employment through online platforms etc., Training selected poor women in their own regional language to become digitally active citizens. These women through peer teaching will help other women in their blocks to become active members on the digital platforms not only to voice their problems but also to look for solutions.

 The ‘Pakkam INFO –hub’ will also help government agencies as well as NGOs with information on the various needs of the resettlement site to chart out projects and welfare measures to solve the problems of the inhabitants. It will help in informing and linking important welfare schemes and measures of government to eligible people in the resettlement site.

The ‘Pakkam INFO –hub’ will play a role in creating new linkages between different groups, particularly women, which will support the strengthening of social networks and intends to create more social cohesion amongst the different groups in Perumbakkam.

 A monthly community newsletter “Perumbakkam madhaidhahz” will be designed, written and distributed digitally through Whatsapp, and Facebook users in the community. A few printed newsletters will be put-up in the community welfare office for those who do not have access to digital versions. A selected group of women will be trained in community journalism by the experts to print and publish the monthly community newsletter, so that the end of the project they can independently run it.

 They will be also trained on how to get local advertisement and to market their spaces for their future financial sustainability. Finally, as a community driven need based project, the sustainability of the hub will rest with the members of the community, so the project aims to train and equip women in Perumbakkam to run the ‘Pakkam INFO–hub’ through a participatory approach.

In order to get to the next level, the project needs:

The resettlement discourses with reference to Chennai are still restricted to academic researchers and academic publications. The mainstream media too have limited its coverage on resettlement issues to event based reportages. In order to break these barriers, the affected women in resettlement need a platform to voice their stories to the world.

As a community the affected women need to build social networks and embark on promoting leadership among peers. As academicians from media and housing rights our initiatives will enable women to amplify their voices through community media in digital media platforms. The plight of the urban poor women need to be brought to mainstream media discourse to influence policy change.