Annual Report - Chennai Balwadi Improvement project
(By Asha Chennai During 2006-2007)

Annual Report For First Step Project Comprising Of 6 Number Of ICDS Controlled Balwadis In The City Of Chennai, By ASHA Chennai During The Year 2006-2007.

Ever Since 2001,when Asha Chennai, started working towards the welfare of the society, by narrowing its attention on, education primarily, we at our base took into our fold, a nutritious meal centre 1078, then known as Urur Kuppam Balwaadi, later renamed as First Step Project, courtesy one of our volunteers, Mrs.Vijaya Sundaram. Before we took over this centre lying on the northern head of the Elliots Beach at Besant Nagar, the condition of the same was in shambles, and the same may be seen in our web site. However, the rehabilitation work on this unit, gave us the confidence to venture into five other centres of the same ICDS controlled Aanganwadis/Baalwadis, totally numbering about 1300, in the city of Chennai, that was Madras, earlier. This has inspired several other NGOs into adopting several centre, thus creating a healthy trend, resulting in a rather happy note of The Tamilnadu State Government itself turning its attention, towards improving the infrastructural facilities in all the ICDS all over the state. Well Rome was not built in a day. However we on our part have done our best to maintain the 6 centres that we have adopted, namely 1054 & 1057 lying in a compound at Ekaambaram Pillai St., in Mylapore, near the Hamilton Bridge, 1063,1065 & 1066 situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal near the 2000 year old St.Thomas Church and the first centre we had on our old namely 1078 at Besant Nagar.

We have managed to provide the basic amenities like functional toilets, with running water, carrying out the occasional maintenance works that were needed to keep the utilities operational, thus taking care of the hygiene.

We have provided 7 numbers of interns, to take care of educational aspect, at these centres. But we have not been able to maintain the number, owing primarily, to non availability persons, suitably qualified persons, for the honorarium we offer.

We have provided electrical ceiling fans at all these in sufficient numbers, as a considerable number of seconds were donated by a branch of The State Bank Of India.

We have provided multi functional music system, that are used in these centres, for playing CDs to facilitate Children listen to nice stories during the afternoon hours, and rhymes in the morning hours. In our Besant Nagar unit, we have also provided a TV unit, that could be plugged along with this audio 5 in 1. Together we are able to educate the children visually, thus having a good impact on our approach. Incidentally, the very same bank is coming to our aid in providing, the system monitor converted to TV, for our other units free. The offer is awaited anxiously.

We have distributed sweets to the children during Deepaavali and on Childrens day on Novemer 14th., the later one with the courtesy of Mid Town Ladies Circle Of Madras.

At all centres, we have provided the Godrej Storage & Slotted angled trays Cupboards, for storing Activity Based Learning (ABL) material, games material and books, note books etc and Fuel Gas Cylinders, and storage vessels for potable drinking water, for use by the children. We have replenished toys and other materials. Some foreign donors have sent in various stationary items, toys etc.One of the office bearers of the Ladie’s Circle, had forwarded toys and used books for children. We have been supplying disinfectants, cleaning equipments, to maintain neatness and to inculcate the same in children. The impact that these have created among children, is really satisfying though not enough to the required level. We have also tried to bring in the gardening aspect, at where possible like in centres 1054, 1057 and 1078. Perhaps, our expectations are beyond their realm, as the teachers and the staff associated with the centres are not putting their best, even as we are providing the ex-gratia amounts to them, along with our Asha interns during Deepaavali. One of the visitors from abroad, had provided drawing materials to finds out the children’s art skills, and they had taken the output along with them. We could inspire the ICDS authorities to get the Montessori type of toys to various units, with assistance in this direction, from The Sarva Siksha Abhyaan authorities. 

During the year, Asha Chennai conducted Right Start project at IIT Madras; we had enabled not only the asha interns to get benefited, by learning the teaching technique-in short utilizing the various aspects applied mechanisms of pedagogy. We could facilitate this scheme to even the government appointed teachers of ICDS units. 

In the earlier years, we had some assistance from a corporate group and another NGO, run by the Ladies in the southern part of Madras. Even though we had planned in our proposal last year, we could not carry out the much needed Major Maintenance at our centre 1078, in Besant Nagar, owing to lack of funds and various other reasons, to sustain the project activities. We wanted to also celebrate annual and other children’s day functions. We can attribute the same cause for this too.

We had budgeted a sum Of Rs.8,14,000 and we could spend only Rs.1,78,084 as against a sum of Rs.1,70,396.93, recd. as donation. Hence our diligent and careful balancing act, in sustaining the project, without compromising on the core principles of taking care of the optimum and essential necessities.

Well optimism is the hallmark of human life. We have the same in abundance.

Thank you.. Ananth E S