Olcott Education Society - Olcott Memorial High School

Project Brief: Funding part of the operating budget of Olcott Memorial School
Project Type: Formal Schools (description)
Primary Focus: children from slums (description)

Secondary Focus: other

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: St. Louis
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Chidu Subbaih
Project Partner(s): Sashikala Sriram
Other Contacts: Sundari Balan
Project Address: , #2, Besant Avenue, Besant Nagar,,Chennai,
TAMIL NADU  600090
Tel: 91-984109142
Stewarding Chapter: St. Louis
Mar 2016St. LouisUSD 12063
Dec 2015St. LouisUSD 15278
Jan 2014St. LouisUSD 5224
Aug 2013St. LouisUSD 8725
Jul 2012St. LouisUSD 6000

Total = $47290

OMS is a Tamil medium free school serving the needs of the slum children in and around Besant Nagar in Chennai. The St. Louis chapter is supporting a portion of the ongoing operating budget of Olcott Memorial School (OMS).

OMS provides a range of services beyond formal education: Healthcare, nutritional oversight, a midday meal, counseling services for those with special needs, an English lab, and a starch (kanji) breakfast that helps sustain the children's energy levels for learning. High school students are also offered a craft course lasting 3 years that helps them gain marketable skills and see the results of sustained efforts. Administrators make the environment parent friendly. An awards program in conjunction with other institutions has been instated to reward and incentivize students to be leaders within their own vulnerable communities, emphasize interdependence and independence as well as physical sports.

OMS believes in the importance of providing high quality education to these children equivalent to those available to those of privileged socio-economic backgrounds.

These relatively innovative strategies offer the following important benefits:
1) Retains students.
2) Empowers them with the integral abilities and skills to rise above their social and economic enclaves.
3) Be able to operate amidst those in higher socio-economic levels.
3) Keeps the children free of chronic ailments and other stresses of their home environments. (OMHS was a leader in pioneering the midday meal scheme, and also innovative in offering breakfast and sustained medical infrastructure).
4) Fosters further change from within by empowering students to become integral leaders in their communities.

Asha St. Louis funding will support
- Notebooks and Stationery material
- Healthcare facilities
- Maintenance of library and labs, including computers
- Maintenance of crafts and introduction of vocational training
- Annual educational excursions / field trips

These items are substantially supported by St. Louis Asha Star, Mohan Chellaswami and family.

Asha Arizona and Silicon Valley will additionally support Teacher Training and Development as well as some of the Healthcare facility costs.

Asha Arizona, Silicon Valley & Portland have helped fund a project to bridge the digital divide for these children.
See: Digital Bridge Project Page

Asha Irvine and the Work An Hour Asha wide effort helped fund their high school improvement projects, including renovation of their water and toilet facilities, so that children can learn and practice hygiene, which supplements their marketable skills.
See: High School Improvement Project Page
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The school was founded in 1894 (more than a century ago) with the special purpose of providing educational opportunity for the children who were not able to go to school because of caste difficulties.

Today, the school continues to support this demographic. Children from fishing villages or urban fishing enclaves are particularly susceptible to social discriminations.

Project purpose is to support the effort to give these young people the chance to be self sufficient and rise above these caste and family profession based discriminations.
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Colonel Henry Steele Olcott of the TS started the school in 1894 (118 years ago) with the vision of bringing about social change through the education of the underprivileged.

The school is located in Besant Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The community that lives in the area comprises of the rich and the very poor. The gap in the social status is extreme.

Most of the students, boys and girls, in the school come from poor and below the poverty line families. These children also belong to the socially under privileged sections who are trying to break through the shackles of class discrimination The mission of the school, is to provide a better tomorrow for them by imparting proper education and skills.

The students will leave the school with the right values of hard work and ethical practices and skills in at least one income generation activity. The school aims towards the students passing the 10th standard creditably. The school average attendance figure is more than 85% last year in all classes.

The school does not charge any tuition fees or any other fees. No charges are collected for any activity for the 600 to 750 children. The campus is green with spacious grounds and has good play ground area adjoint.

Today, the school has 22 class rooms, meeting hall, craft center, Library, Resource Room and Computer room, Audio Visual Room, a language lab, a computer room. All of this has slowly been put together as a result of the goodwill of philanthropists.

Among the staff of 45 committed teachers, and many are computer literate. All teachers are comfortable with the use of computers. Some of our teachers are creating material for Technology Aided Learning (TAL), involving a few students. The Headmistress of the OMHS has been in the field of education for over 30 years and is committed towards bringing a social change in the lives of the downtrodden families and children through Education.

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