Sangamam Project site visit – February 20, 2014
Report by: Vijaya Sundaram and Kasturi Easwaran
Places visited: Pataraiperumbudur, Tomur, Allikuzhi, Placepalayam and Pudhuchatiram
We left Chennai at 8.00a.m. and
reached Thiruvallur Collector’s office at 9.30a.m. where we met S
Co-ordinator for ASHA Sangamam
Our visit started with a visit to the ASHA office which is
in the first floor of S
house. As seen in the picture, it is a
well equipped office with proper desks, chairs, computers etc. S hrinivasan
told us that the teachers and students come there to use the computers. Weekly meeting is held for the teachers on
Saturdays so they can plan the schedule for the following week. This is also an opportunity for teachers to
give a list of items needed by the schools which can be supplied by ASHA.
After loading the car with the materials bought to be distributed in the various schools we left for the farthest school which is in Pataraiperumbudur.
This is a primary school with about 105 students?. The Head Mistress was
Shylaja is the new ASHA teacher. She has
joined recently and just learning the ropes.
She seems very pleasant. The
children seem very clean and bright.
They were very eager to talk to us.
They follow the ABL method as are the other government schools which
seem like a very interactive method.
They are able to display their individuality and study in groups not by
class. Their work sheets are all
displayed in the classrooms for people to see and perhaps learn from each
other. We delivered some materials like
stationery and foot balls etc. Since
they were in sealed cartons the teachers would take stock of the items donated
by ASHA as per their requirements.
ASHA provides this school teaching materials/learning aids
(supplementing) and a teacher. The
government is also supplying them
materials as per the teachers.
Our next school was Thomur. This school has about 55 students. This is also a primary school following ABL method. Gayathri is the ASHA teacher who teaches computer literacy. She seems like a knowledgeable and communicative. The children were practicing tamil typing on computers provided by government and ASHA.
Gayathri seem to be a cheerful teacher with the right attitude to teach computers to children. Here also the teacher was absent and seem to be on long leave as she fell down and is seriously hurt. Here also we delivered some teaching aids in sealed cartons.
Our next stop was Allikuzhi. Here the DEO (District Education Officer) was
inspecting the school and the teachers were busy attending to his
requirements. This school is set up in a
nice ambience in a separate compound. There
is a separate kitchen and midday meal was being prepared. The children were well behaved. The DEO was happy about the help provided by
ASHA. We delivered teaching aids here as
well. This is
interior village and seem
very poor population. The children were dirty. There is no toilet in this school as well and
the drinking water tank seemed very unhealthy.
The DEO said that ASHA can help build a toilet in this school as
children only use open space to urinate.
He has earmarked the area behind the building for toilet. The caveat is that the building is going to
be repaired. Here the parents do not get
involved in the children’s welfare.
Their support to the teachers is lacking. Since the inspection was going on we did not
spend much time in this school. There is
a good scope for ASHA to do the needful.
It was 12.30 by the time we reached Placepalayam
which was our next school. There
are 2 ASHA teacher s here,
Anita and Hepsiba . By the time we reached here it was their
lunch time and the children were getting ready to eat. ASHA has built toilets here for girls and
boys. The teachers seemed very pleasant.
The toilets are clean and are very
useful for the school. This school is in
a nice area with matured trees behind.
The children seemed cheerful, perhaps it was time for lunch?. The wish list is
that they want additional sheet shelter for the kitchen area as there is no
sunshade and it becomes very difficult to cook inside when it rains.
Our last stop was Pudhuchatiram school which on the main road. This is a project that is supported thus far by Pasumai Trust. There is a large floating population of brick kiln workers, with seasonal employment in 2 places. The government has approved admission to the children in 2 schools and the teachers will also move to 2 locations accordingly. The migrant children were sitting in the verandah? of the school while the local students had a good classroom. The head mistress showed us the building they were using earlier and is now abandoned due to unsafe roof. This building is a nice size hall which can easily accommodate 200 children. There were desks stacked in a corner. It is sad to see that building going waste due to leaky and broken roof tiles.
There is a proposal for ASHA to provide 2 teachers and
teaching aids to the school as Pasumai trust is
unable to sustain their involvement and have requested ASHA to continue this
support. The children here seemed very
keen and eager to show us what they have learned so far. They were not in their uniforms. There were 55 children and Pasumai trust is providing 2 teachers
It was 3.30p.m. when we bid
farewell to the school and S
hrinivasan. Eventhough we spent
almost a day we felt we had insufficient time to talk to ASHA teachers. The next site visit can be a surprise one and
without Shrinivasan so we can talk to the teachers
the co-ordinator seemed very helpful. He did not take us to the school where his
wife was a teacher. He
seemed to have a good rapport with all the government officials and seemed to
be into various activities. He
is also a real estate agent. He has a
folk artist troupe. Much to our
disappointment he did not sing for us.
He has agreed to have a separate show of local talents. Although we could not judge his value
addition to ASHA his connection with the local population is
helping in co-ordinating the acitivities .