Asha Chennai has been working with government schools and Balwadis for several years across Tamilnadu. We started working with the villages and schools in the vicinity of Senji in 2013. In 2015-16 Asha Chennai supported two projects – FTC Seeyapoondi and Sangamam Senji. The schools supported by Sangamam Senji and Seeyapoondi are in the Villupuram and Thiruvannamalai Districts and are quite close to each other. They were also being stewarded by the same volunteer and therefore it made sense to combine them into a single project. Thus Project Thulasi is born this year.
Background Tuition center
Seeyapoondi is a small village with approximately 500 households. It is in Villupuram Dist. about 10kms from Melmalayanur. The children go to high and higher secondary classes by govt. buses which has only two services once in the morning as pick up and another in the evening for dropping the children.
The village does not have any common place for the children to come together after their work. There are approximately 10 SSLC students passing out in the village every year. They also do not have any common place to study or learn more. The 10th students who wanted to go for after school tuition for their extra learning, could not go because of safety issues. So we thought of starting a tuition centre for the children who are doing their SSLC.
Background of Sangamam Senji
Asha Chennai started supporting the schools near Senji in 2015-16. One of the teachers at the Pearl project, Saravanan, cleared TET and got a government teacher posting. He got posted at Kamakaram in Villupuram district. Since he knew what Asha does, he contacted Asha asking us to support his school also with additional teacher and materials. There were other schools in the same area which also needed additional teachers.
The scenario as regards education in this district is similar to the rest of Tamilnadu. Government schools exist but with serious deficiencies. Private (read English medium) schools are coming up and eating into the student force of the government schools. But the private schools are often worse in terms of the quality of the teaching. Asha Chennai believes the revival and strengthening of the government schooling system is essential to the implementation of any mass education initiative in India.
The schools in this area are similar to those in many other rural areas of Tamilnadu. But in addition these villages do not have any public transport. That means getting and retaining the government teachers is a problem in these schools.
We started supporting three schools as part of Sangamam Senji in addition to the one school at Seeyapoondi. Asha teachers are working at Kamagaram, Nallal pillai petral, and Seeyapoondi in Villupuram District and at Kanniyampoondi in Thiruvannamali District.