BALM – Sundram Fasteners Limited Centre for Social Action and Research
Message from co-founders:
With steadily growing interest in our constructivist and adaptive pedagogical approaches, we are fast moving towards our vision of building a cadre of human service professionals who will apply themselves to solve complex societal problems and promote equity, justice, and collective social consciousness.
To strengthen our learning environment, we hosted several special lectures and courses last year: Drs. Nachiket Mor, Phyllis Solomon, Deborah Padgett, Mark Salzer, Usha Ramanathan, Ravi Chellam, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, etc interacted with our students exposing them to issues of importance ranging from the right to food to comprehensive health systems, from manual scavenging to biodiversity, and from social inclusion to evidence-based health care. Some of these interactions have translated into action-research collaborations that will feedback into our programs and indeed into policy discourse.
We are particularly pleased that our students, thanks to our primary collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Departments of Social Work and Human Ecology, have had the opportunity to be part of a personalized and immersive education construct, with strong roots in practice and exposure to ‘wicked’ problems located in the messiness of the real world. It is our belief, and hope, that this approach will help kindle curiosity for new learning, stimulate critical thinking, and inspire passion and enthusiasm. Our success will lie in the application of these learnings and values in day-to-day practice, as we build a community of mental health professionals, changemakers, and leaders. Some of our efforts have already come to fruition with a few of our students leading programs in our Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Kerala chapters, as practitioner-scientists, community mobilizers, and mental health advocates.
We are committed to advance this vision of social development using education, training, and research as tools, such that the mental health care gaps may be bridged and those disadvantaged, marginalized, and poorly resourced are serviced equitably. We hold values of freedom and capabilities, plurality, and social good as essential to building a humane and equal society and aspire to enable students to imbue a similar line of thought.Arathi Krishna, Dr. Vandana Gopikumar, Vaishnavi Jayakumar