Rishiyur and Vilakudi are two remote villages in the Thiruvarur District of Tamil Nadu.  The report represents the site visit made on 4th and 5th August 2003 in Vilakudi and Rishiyur villages.

The volunteers from Asha are Mr.Rajaram Krishnan, Mrs.Lakshmi Suryanarayan and Miss.M.Sathya Priya along with Mr and Mrs Arjun.


          Vilakudi has one primary school, one high school and two balwadies, which we visited on 4th August 2003.  We started the day with one of the Balwadi centre among the two, which was situated adjacent to the primary school.  The centre consist of 25 children and the building was constructed in 1986.  The building seemed to be in a very dangerous condition. The wall of the building on all the sides was damaged and cracked.  In rainy days, it is not possible to have classes for the children because there was no proper roof as well as water was observed by the wall.  We gave few crayons for the children and made them to sing and dance.

       We could just spend a few minutes at the Rishiyur Primary school. There the infrastructure is reasonably good. Currently they are quite congested. However a new building has been sanctioned under the NABARD scheme.

        Then we visited the other balwadi centre at Vilakudi, which was worse than the first one.  The classes are conducted in a hut without any building.  Actually, the place is given by the President of the village. It was previously a cow shed.  There was no proper floor to sit for the children.  Due to poor condition of the place, the families are not willing to send their children to Balwadi.  Moreover, it is always a danger of an insects falling into the food  or an insect bite due to the poor condition. They have been sanctioned a new building. This may be delayed by a few months. Till then they are planning to change the place, where the self-help group meetings will held.


       Rishiyur has one primary school, and a Balwadi. In the afternoon, we visited the primary school in Rishiyur village. In the school they arranged for a meeting with the parents, teachers and students for the distribution of uniforms and other things.  A brief orientation about Asha was given to the people who have attended the meetings and disturbution of an uniforms took place. There was some skepticism on the part of some of the lower caste parents in the group that they will not get a fair treatment and that inferior uniforms may be given to them. We had to reassure them that we will continue monitoring the activities and not hand over the reigns completely to the local village leaders. Mr.Rajaram Krishnan returned back to Chennai that day.

 On 5th August 2003, Mrs.Lakshmi Suryanarayan and Sathya Priya.M along with Mr and Mrs Arjun visited the Balwadi in Rishiyur.  The building was better than the Vilakudi centres.  We purchased few playing items for the children in Balwadi at Rishiyur. When we visited the place, the children was happy when we started playing with the children and teaching them the name of an animals by showing the animals toys. The centre consisted of 25 children where the nutrition food was supplemented.  Then we stepped into the primary school and had an discussion with the teachers about the teaching ways by Mrs.Lakshmi Suryanarayan.

      In the afternoon, Mrs.Lakshmi Suryanarayan spent half an hour in each section on various subjects like English, Maths, Story telling etc. which was observed by the teachers.  At last, the children as well as teachers was very glad and learned something within the time limit.  The Headmaster was very thankful towards Asha for providing especially the Atlas and Story books after knowing the usage of those things through Mrs.Lakshmi Suryanarayan.

     Mrs. Lakshmi Suryanarayanan also brought up the topic of teacher training with the teachers in Rishiyur Primary school. All the teachers including the Government teacher were very enthusiastic about coming to Chennai for training. They were willing to come during their Navarathri holidays. This was very encouraging.

     One important aspect in this project, we had a discussion with the manager of State Bank of India regarding the cattle loan for the people. The bank has sanctioned the loan for twenty people.

 (by Sathyapriya, Rajaraman and Lakshmi)