Dream and Light
Improvements to Rishiyur &Vilakudi Primary Education
Asha Chennai Proposal – New Project- Year 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
In the following table we detail the improvements to
these institutions and the cost estimates for the same.
The project would impact the following children,
In these institutions the boy:girl ratio is
approximately 1:1. We hope to see the following qualitative improvements
due to this project,
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
Details and Estimates for Year May 2003 to April 2004
Fund Requirement/Schedule Summary
Rishiyur Primary School
Vilakudi Primary School
Travel, Training and
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.