Project Dream and Light

Improvements to Rishiyur  &Vilakudi Primary Education

Asha Chennai Proposal – New Project- Year 2003

20th Dec 2003  


Rishiyur and Vilakudi are two remote villages in the Thanjavur District of Tamilnadu. Rishiyur is a particularly small and remote village with a population of about 1500. Vilakudi is a bigger village with a population of about 4000. Mr. Arjun, Mrs. Radha Arjun, Mr and Mrs Shyamalan are running a project in this village to improve the education, economic conditions etc. in these villages. These villages are the ancestral villages of Mr. Arjun and Mrs. Jaya Shyamalan. Asha Chennai has been involved in the project right since its inception in late 2002. The project was launched in Nov. 2002 with initial participation from D.P.Prakash and N.N.V.Prasad. Youth from these villages also came to Chennai to visit Asha-Chennai projects here. In February of this year K. Rajaraman  and Lakshmi Suryanarayanan visited these villages to assess the needs of the educational institutions in these villages.

Rishiyur has one primary school (with about 175 students) and one Balwadi (with about 30 children). The school has classes 1 to 5. They have received the approval to operate class 6 from the coming year. They have also started the same. Before the involvement of Mr. Arjun and family, the primary school was in real bad shape with just two teachers (which include the head master). In recent times Mr.Arjun and family have caused significant improvements to the school by adding 5 new teachers and making some infrastructure improvements. A new government teacher has also been posted to this school. The new teachers appointed by Mr. Arjun are motivated and well-educated (everyone has a Bachelor’s degree or higher). The existing government teachers have also been welcoming to the changes Mr. Arjun and family are bringing in. Of these 5 new teachers one of them would be leaving for personal reasons. Mr. Arjun and family need help from Asha to continue supporting the teachers.

The school has two buildings. Each of the buildings is 80ft * 25ft and has about 2000 Sq. Ft. of space. The buildings are fairly sturdy with good ventilation and lighting. The floor on one of the buildings is filled with holes and children find it difficult to sit and work in this building. Some infrastructural improvements like providing partition to separate the space available into multiple classrooms, providing a bureau and a desk for the head-master have already been done here by Mr. Arjun and family.

The Balwadi at Rishiyur is like all other Balwadis in the state. The children get reasonably good food but not much in terms of education. For middle and high school the children in Rishiyur go to the schools in nearby (4 Kms) town of Needamangalam.

In Vilakudi they have a Primary school, and a middle/high school. They also have two Balwadis. The two schools in Vilakudi are in reasonably good shape. The high school got close to 100% results and the help they need is more infra-structural which we feel we can postpone for a later stage. The primary school is very crowded but they are in the process of getting an additional building, which should decongest them. They do not have the right learning material for young children. This can significantly improve their education.

One of the Balwadis in Vilakudi is in bad shape. The building (20 ft * 20 ft) floor has holes is it. The walls need to be replastered and roof has some leaks. Otherwise the two Balwadis like the one in Rishiyur give good food but not much in terms of education.

The infrastructural contributions to these institutions are not expected to continue beyond this year. From the next year onwards, any infrastructural expense is expected to be met by Mr. Arjun and the villagers.

The big positive in the case of all these educational institutions is that the heads of these institutions and the villagers are positive about the changes we are bringing in and welcome our intervention.

In the following table we detail the improvements to these institutions and the cost estimates for the same.


 Project Goals:

The project would impact the following children,

  • 200 children at Rishiyur Primary school.
  • About 90 children in the three Balwadis.
  • 350 children in Vilakudi Primary school.

In these institutions the boy:girl ratio is approximately 1:1. We hope to see the following qualitative improvements due to this project,

  1. An acceptable educational environment that is conducive to and promotes learning.
  2. A motivated and trained group of teachers that cater to these children.
  3. Children who perform at or above the level expected for their age.


As the project progresses we hope to develop better metrics to measure the progress of the children and the success of the project like monitoring levels of numeracy and literacy skills of the children.


Project Details and Estimates for Year May 2003 to April 2004 


Work Description

Cost Details

Total Cost for Asha

Rishiyur Primary School


Earlier we had allocated Rs 30000 towards improvements to the existing building at the school. Under Sarva Siksha Abhigyan govt. has allocated Rs. 4 Lakhs for a new building for the school if we can show the land for it. One acre of land required for the school would cost Rs 1 Lakh. During the meeting on Dec. 14th we decided to allocate the money for building improvements towards purchase of land for the school.


Rs 30,000


There are three government teachers and 5 teachers appointed by Arjun. We need Asha funding for the 5 teachers. If the government sanctions additional teachers we may be able to reduce this number. But this seems unlikely to happen in the near future.

The teachers are paid a salary of Rs 1000/ month for a total of Rs 60,000 / year.

Rs 60,000


The government provides one Uniform per year for children. One uniform doesn’t allow the children to change daily and maintain their cleanliness. An additional Uniform would help greatly.

Uniform costs Rs 150 per girl and Rs130 per boy. For the 200 children expected next year we expect a total cost of Rs 30,000.

Rs 30,000


Several items are needed in each classroom to better equip then for providing good education. These include story books, geometrical instruments, slates, teachers’ kits, plastic trays, colour crayons and pencils, educational games, and a bureau to keep these in.

The cost of the school (with 5 classes)

Books – 5000

Geom. Instruments – 1000

Slates – 1000

Teachers kits – 500

Trays – 500

Colours – 2500

Edu. Games – 2500

Bureau – 10000

Note each of the above expense is for five sets for the five classes.

Rs 23,000


Currently the headmaster of the school has only one bureau. He needs one more to keep the materials.

One big bureau (unbranded) – 2500

Rs 2500


Sports equipment (football, cricket paraphernalia etc.)


Rs 3000


Tape Recorder and 10 tapes.


Rs 3000


Since there are no chairs and desks in the classroom, we would like to lay mats to cover the whole floor (of both the buildings).

We need about 200 mats (at Rs 25 / mat) to cover the whole floor.

Rs 5000

Three Balwadis (One in Rishiyur and Two in Vilakudi)


Playing Materials for children, cupboard and a tape recorder

Rs 30,000 for each Balwadi. The details of the materials for the Balwadi is provided in the attached document.

Rs 90,000


Vilakudi Balwadi Improvement

For flooring, repairing the walls/roof and repainting the total cost would be about Rs 40,000. We expect the villagers to bear Rs. 20,000 in cash and labour. Arjun would absorb any additional expenses.

Rs 20,000

Vilakudi Primary School


Vilakudi primary school has reasonably good facilities. Mr. Arjun and family have been less involved with the Vilakudi primary school than the Rishiyur primary school. Therefore we are not completely sure about the level of cooperation from this school. So we intend to just provide the classroom material covered under point 4 above (for Rishiyur school) and that too contigent upon the teachers from that school attending our training.

There are 10 classrooms compared to the 5 in Rishiyur. Therefore the cost would be double for all items.

Rs 46,000

Common Items


We intend to bring all the teachers involved in the program to Chennai for training. This would include the 4 teachers from the Rishiyur primary school, one teacher each from the three Balwadis, and upto three of the government paid teachers in Vilakudi primary school and/or Rishiyur primary school

The costs for this is covered under the Project Right-Start proposal.



Volunteers/interns from Asha Chennai would need to make one trip a month for two days to the villages to monitor the work, retrain the teachers and report back to Asha.

Each trip would require the following,

Train Tickets + transport – Rs 500

Local Accomodation – Rs 500.

Food – Rs 100.

There would be 10 trips. Some times two volunteers would travel. So we expect a total of about Rs 15,000.

Rs 15,000


Fund Requirement/Schedule Summary

Rishiyur Primary School                Rs 1,56,500

Three Balwadis                            Rs 1,10,000

Vilakudi Primary School                Rs    46,000

Travel, Training and Monitoring       Rs   15,000 

Total Project Funding Requirement Rs 3.275 Lakhs = Approx US $7250.

 Ideally we would like to have the following amounts right on May 15th – Rs 30,000 for the Rishiyur primary school flooring, Rs 4000 for the salaries for May, and Rs 10,000 for some of the other expenses. So we would like to have US $1,000 by the May 15th. From then forwards we can get US $1000 per month till the money is all sent.

 If money is raised in US by this time, Mr. Arjun and family are willing to put the money upfront when the money is still in transit.

 If the money cannot be raised by this timeframe, then we will have to schedule the teacher training and construction around the next holidays (say Quarterly holidays). This would also imply that this children would receive the benefits of our project only for part of this academic year. However over the long term (i.e. over 3 years) the impact of whether we start the program now or in four months will have negligible impact.