Project Dream and Light
Improvements to Rishiyur  &Vilakudi Primary Education
Asha Chennai Proposal – Year 2004-05
2nd August 2004


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 is actively managed by Asha Chennai. Several Asha volunteers including, Arjun (very frequently), Lakshmi Suryanarayanan, Ananth, Rajaraman, G. Vaidyanathan (of Asha Singapore), D.P. Prakash, Jebadurai etc. have visited the project.

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 academic year 2003-04. They have also started the same. Before the involvement of Asha Chennai, the primary school was in real bad shape with just two teachers (which include the head master). In recent times significant improvements have been made to the school by adding 5 new teachers, improving the infrastructure, etc. A new government teacher has also been posted to this school. The new teachers appointed by Asha are motivated and well-educated (everyone has a Bachelor’s degree or higher). The existing government teachers have also been welcoming to the changes we bringing in.

Further Asha Chennai has brought the teachers from this school (incl. the government teachers) for training to Chennai as part of Project RightStart. Asha Chennai has provided school uniforms and notebooks for the children. Some materials for the classroom and sports equipment for the school have also been provided.

The school currently has two buildings. Each of the buildings is 80ft * 25ft and has about 2000 Sq. Ft. of space. Another single room school also operates in the same village with just about 30 students. Further SSA has sanctioned Rs 4.5 Lakhs towards the construction of a new school building. But they had only sanctioned the construction of 3 rooms. Asha purchased the land for this school and donated it to the BDO of the Taluk for this purpose. However SSA has delayed releasing of these funds and we are waiting for things to settle down before undertaking additional construction for the school. That is not part of this proposal.

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.


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. 

Financial Report for 2003-04

The following table identifies the allocated and actual expenses under various heads for the project. For details please refer to the proposal for 2003-04.


Work Item (and what was executed)

Amount Budgeted

Amount Spent (approx)


Rishiyur Primary school land purchase. This was moved from earlier allotment for infrastructure improvements.

Rs 33,000

Rs 33,000


Teachers’ salaries

Rs 60,000

Rs 53,000


Students’ uniforms

Rs 30,000

Rs 31,100


Classroom materials

Rs 23,000

Rs 5000


Bureau for Headmasters’ room

Rs 2500

Rs 2700


Sports equipment

Rs 3000

Rs 2000


Tape Recorder and 10 tapes.

Rs 3000

Rs 3600


Mats for the classroom floor

Rs 5000



Playing Materials for children, cupboard and a tape recorder for each of the three Balwadis

Rs 90,000



Vilakudi Balwadi Infrastructure Improvement

Rs 20,000



Vilakudi Primaru school – Classroom materials.

Rs 46,000



Volunteers/interns Travel

Rs 15,000

Rs 2,300



Total Funds Received: 1,28,000.



Plans for 2004-05

The ongoing work at Rishiyur Primary school would continue for this year. This includes the additional teachers provided by Asha, uniforms for the children, etc. Further we need to enhance the support we have provided in terms of classroom materials. We expect to baseline the educational standards of the school this year with the help of the local teachers. This would then become a yardstick for us to  measure ourselves against. We also hope to provide an A/V room for the school if the new school building provided by SSA becomes operational. This would contain a computer and TV. This would enable them to use the contents we have created as part of ECTAL.

During the year 2003-04 we had not undertaken the improvements of the Balwadis at Rishiyur and Vilakudi primarily because of lack of funds. With a better funding situation currently, we expect to be able to take these up this year.


Project Details and Estimates for Year May 2004 to April 2005 


Work Description

Cost Details

Total Cost for Asha

Rishiyur Primary School


There are 5 teachers appointed by Asha. We need continued funding for these 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 approx Rs 140 per child. 250 children are expected this year.

Rs 35,000


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 – 7500

Geom. Instruments – 1500

Slates – 100

Teachers kits – 1000

Trays – 1000

Colours – 3000

Edu. Games – 3000

Bureau – 12000

Note each of the above expense is for six sets for the six classes plus some buffer.

Rs 30,000


Sports equipment (football, cricket paraphernalia etc.)


Rs 5,000


Medical Expenses (for medical camp, basic medical supplies at the school, paying a visiting doctor – twice a month etc.)


Rs 24,000


Computer and TV for the A/V room.

Comp – 25000

TV – 20000

Aver Key for TV display – 5000

Rs 50,000

Three Balwadis (One in Rishiyur and Two in Vilakudi)


Playing Materials for children, cupboard and a tape recorder

Rs 10,000 for each Balwadi. The details of the materials for the Balwadi is provided in the attached document.

Rs 30,000


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 30,000

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


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 2,04,000
Three Balwadis Rs    60,000
Vilakudi Primary School Rs    46,000
Travel, Training and Monitoring Rs    15,000
Total Project Funding Requirement Rs 3.25 Lakhs = Approx US $7200.