Project Sangamam - Poondi
Report on the progress of this project since Inception (Oct 2004)

December 16, 2004
Contact Rajaraman Krishnan


The project was approved in September 2004. While the original proposal was written to work with five schools, the approval was for three schools in Kuppammal Chattiram, Kanakavalli Puram and Pattarai Perambudur. Further we decided to start work on two of the schools and delay starting the project at Pattarai Perambudur till we feel comfortable regarding the funding situation. During the monthly meeting on the 12th Dec, we decided to start the work at Pattarai Perambudur also in January.

Happenings during period Oct 2004 to present

1. Infrastructure Work

Some infrastructure works were sorely needed at both the Kuppammal Chattiram and Kanakavalli Puram schools. These were provided. These included,

  • The tiled roof at one of the Buildings at Kuppammal Chattiram school was leaking. They took out the tiles and replaced the broken ones.

  • There was no room to cook the midday meals at Kanakavalli puram. We put up pillars and asbestos sheets at one side of the school to provide a cooking area. That area is being used now for the cooking.

  • Most of the black boards in both the schools were cracked and barely useable. We made new black boards for these schools. We also painted the lower two feet of the younger children’s classrooms with black paint so as to allow the children to scribble in this area.

  • We have equipped Srinivasan and the Asha teachers with an office of sorts at Kaivandhur.

Besides these the other infrastructure improvement that has occurred is that the government has demolished the old and unused building at Kanakavallipuram and the debris has also been removed. That provides a good play area at the school.

2. Teachers

There were only three teachers at Kuppammal Chattiram (for about 140 students in five classes) and one teacher at Kanakavalli puram (for about 55 students). We have added two teachers at Kuppammal Chattiram and one at Kanakavalli Puram. They are,

  • Devanayaki (wife of Srinivasan) has worked as a social worker for several years.

  • Sumathy was working at the Kuppammal Chattiram school for some months before Asha started supporting her.

  • Arputhamani is from Kanakavalli puram.

Two additional teachers have been identified for the Pattarai Perambudur school. They are,

  • Jayanthi 

  • Mythili

All of these teachers have appeared for the 12th standard exams. Couple of them had failed and are reappearing for the exam this year.

Srinivasan himself is serving as a PT teacher at both these schools. He has been teaching some typical games to these children.

3. Site Visits, Teacher Training, etc.

Several volunteers visited the project both before and after the start of the project including (Viswanathan, Lakshmi, Sundaram, Selvam, Chandrapriya, Suresh, and myself). We have been able to assess and keep up with the progress happening at the project very well. Further Srinivasan has been very regular in keeping in touch with us, both visiting and calling us. 

During the site visit in October, Lakshmi and Dhanalakshmi (who teaches at Poorna Vidya), spent the morning with the Arputhamani, Deivanayaki and Sumathi, training them on the use of Tamil reading material that was provided to them on the day. Discussions were held on how the same material could be used innovatively/differently with different classes /levels of children. After that these teachers as well as Jayanthi and Mythili have visited Chennai on three Saturdays to get trained on 

  1. Language games and how they call made and used. Samples were given for replication, which the teachers have since then replicated as per their class requirements.

  2. On how to use phonics to get the children to start reading English – the first stage of using the consonants and short vowels was completed.

  3. Teachers feed back and sharing from their classroom experiences after using the material and training so far provided so far. Organizing classrooms, cleaning up and storing and using material- how to get children to be responsible.

The enthusiasm of these teachers to come here on a holiday is to be appreciated. From Lakshmi’s feedback it looks like they are progressing well. They are learning fast and they have great potential in bringing about the required change in the schools

Recently they have purchased some learning as well as sports materials for these schools. These should further improve the education at these schools.

4. My Assessment

On the whole the project is proceeding well. The level of interaction and feedback from Srinivasan has been good. The relationships with the government teachers, the people and the government officials have all been good. Note the Asha volunteers have not personally interacted with them. The information is through Srinivasan. Srinivasan has been prompt and accurate with the accounts. The teachers have also shown good level of motivation and enthusiasm. I think we have the makings of a successful project.

Expected Activities for Upcoming Couple of Months

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

  1. New teachers will be provided for Pattarai Perambudur and other work like black board repair will also start there.

  2. A medical camp is being organized at Kuppamal Chattiram and Kanakavalli Puram in the next week.

  3. More sports and learning materials are being purchased for the schools. We should be able to assess their use in their schools shortly.

  4. Srinivasan is working towards organizing a school day function at these schools sometime in early February.