A salary between Rs. 100 and Rs. 150 a day are being earned by these students for the back-breaking hard work. This amount is being donated for noble causes.
B. Divyalaksmi, S. Preethi, E. Jenifer Mercy, G. Gowri and G. Suganya, from Sri Ramanujar Engineering College, Kolapakkam, Vandalur have learnt how to balance things in slush, harvest paddy and to remove weeds, in the few months of working in the fields.
The girls said they were unaware of how to even tuck in their saris when they began.
"Initially, we would hold hands to be able to stand firmly. After a few days, we learnt to balance. It is a great experience to work in the fields," Suganya said .
"Farmers work so hard to bring food to our tables. Since our work is for a good cause, we don't mind the strain," said Preethi. She added that farming has taught them another purpose and the whole experience has been overwhelming.
"Some of us have farmlands in our native villages and agriculture can remain our mainstay," Jenifer said.
S. Velmurti, K. Ashfaque Ahmed, R. Vishal, E. Naveen Kumar and K. Sathiyamoorthy from the same college, help to drive the tractors and farm animals, till the fields and pack paddy in gunny bags after harvesting. However, farming is not something new for them.
"We are into cashew cultivation and are used to working from sunrise to sunset. After I complete my MBA, I want to take up agriculture," Sathiyamoorthy said.
R. Babu and K. Kamaraj are the farmers who train these students, and in whose fields the students work. Kamaraj said, "It is nice to see students taking an active interest in farming. Only if the next generation comes forward, agriculture can be sustained."
The college ensures the safety of the students is met by escorting them to and from the fields. Leela Chezhian, college administrative officer said food is kept aside for the students, in their hostels, when they return from the fields.
"We are accountable for the students while they are in college and hostel. We also help them identify the causes they can donate their earnings to," she said.