Project Sangamam - Poondi
Report for April-Aug 2005

ASHA Chennai Projects
Sangamam Poondi ? Working with Primary schools near Poondi

Sept 8, 2005
Contact Rajaraman Krishnan

Recall …

The project was approved and started in September 2004. We started work with the schools at Kuppammal Chattiram and Kanakavalli Puram in September and with Pattarai Perambudur in January.

There were no reports written since April of 2005. During this time the summer holidays have passed and we have moved into the next academic year. A new year has started for the project as well with our taking on one additional school at Kunnavalam and a Balwadi at Kuppammal Chathiram.


Happenings during March 2005

1. Summer Survey

In May, the Asha teachers conducted a survey of the Kaivandhur panchayat from where the children for the Kuppammal Chathiram school come. The intention of the survey was the following,

  • To get statistical information on the number of children not going to school, the number of children dropping out, etc.
  • To find the factors leading to the above in terms of gender, poverty, other social factors etc. so that we can get an idea about how to tackle it.
  • To get information on how many children go to private school vs. govt. school. To understand the factors for such choice.

A through survey was conducted among the 1442 people who live in this panchayat. Some of the key findings were,

  • ALL the 288 children in the school going age (under 15) were going to school!!! Out of this 83 were going to private schools and 205 are going to government schools.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a gender bias in selecting which child goes to private vs. government school. But one odd thing about the survey was that there were significantly more girls (163) than boys (125) in the panchayat. This may indicate that boys are being sent out of the area to study in better schools of Chennai or it may indicate a deficiency in our survey.
  • The reasons for preference of private schools was along expected lines – English medium and that the government teachers themselves send their children to private schools. Other opinions from parents on the functioning of PTA, about required improvements to the government school etc. were also along expected lines.

Please visit for more details about the survey.


2. Proposal and Funding

A new proposal was written up for the period June ’05 to May ’06. The significant addition to the project is the inclusion of the middle school at Kunnavalam and the Balwadi at Kuppamal Chatthiram (children from here go to the Kuppamal Chatthiram school). Further the project last year was written up for just 8 months. This time it runs for the entire 12 months. With all this the total budget for the project comes to a total of Rs 4.28 Lakhs. To see the full proposal please visit Note this requires some revision which we have not done yet. We will be doing these shortly.

We have been getting funding for this through the website. The only significant funding for this project has come from Asha Canada of Rs. 1 Lakh. Volunteers from Asha Canada visited the project in June. We are happy to have their participation in the project. We have raised a total of about Rs 1.7 Lakhs for the project so far.

Given that we have not been able to raise funds to extent we need, we have delayed the start of work at Kunnavalam. We have not undertaken any of the infrastructure work at Kunnavalam. We have also provided only two teachers for the school. We have also delayed the start of work at the Kuppammal Chatthiram Balwadi.


3. Teachers and Training

We are continuing with all the five existing teachers. We have added two teachers for Kunnavalam. The teachers currently are, 

  • Kuppammal Chatthiram -- Devanayaki and Sumathy.
  • Kanakavalli puram – Arputhamani.
  • Pattarai Perambudur – Jayanthi, and Mythili.
  • Kunnavalam – Saraswathi and Deepa.

All of these teachers came for the RightStart-II teachers’ training held in late May. They have also come to get trained by Lakshmi once after that. They have been given training to execute the baseline assessment tests at their schools.


4. Infrastructure work undertaken

We have undertaken the following infrastructure work at the various schools.

  1. Closed the backside of the toilets at Kuppammal Chathiram and put proper Asbestos roofs for this. Earlier they had one closed toilet and two half height toilets. Because of this the toilet could not be maintained clean and teachers couldn’t use these. Note this was undertaken instead of the plumbing work budgeted because that was executed by the Panchayat.
  2. Stainless steel drums with taps were purchased for drinking water all Kuppammal Chatthiram, Kanakavalli Puram and Pattarai Perambudur schools.
  3. A wooden trunk was made for storage at Kanakavalli Puram.
  4. Tables, chairs and partitions were made for Pattarai Perambudur. 
  5. A bureau was purchased for our staff office room.


5. Other Learning/Teaching materials

We have further purchased the following materials for the schools.

  1. Educational and sports materials for all schools including Kunnavalam.
  2. A tape recorder and cassettes for Kunnavalam.
  3. Uniforms for all children at Kuppammal Chatthiram, and Kanakavalli Puram schools. We will be distributing it at Pattarai Perambudur school shortly.
  4. Mats for children to sleep on for the Kuppammal Chatthiram Balwadi.


Expected Activities for Upcoming Months

In the next couple of months the following activities are expected in this project,

  1. Run sand in the Kanakavalli Puram play-ground to make sure there will be no water logging during rainy days.
  2. Provide a cooking area for Kuppammal Chatthiram.
  3. Provide uniforms for Pattarai Perambudur.
  4. Conduct the baseline evaluation of the children’s skills at the four schools.