Bharathi Trust - Senchiamma School

Project Brief: Senchiamma school is a balwadi for Irular tribal children, run by Bharathi Trust in Senjiagaram village near Chennai. This school provides Early Childhood Education support to rougly 35 boys and girls in the 0-6 age group.
Project Type: Pre-Primary (description)
Primary Focus: children of dalits/tribals (description)

Secondary Focus: creating resources

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Seattle
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Shanthi Sravanakumar
Project Partner(s): Siddamma E
Other Contacts: Palani Sundaramurthy
Project Address: , Bharathi Trust, Office: 184/14C, IIIrd Cross St.,,Jaya Nagar, Thiruvallur,Senjiagaram village,
TAMIL NADU  602001
Tel: (044) 55519973, 044 24452473
Stewarding Chapter: Seattle
Oct 2016SeattleUSD 13931
Oct 2015SeattleUSD 3034
Jan 2014SeattleUSD 17146
Apr 2012SeattleUSD 3925
Feb 2012SeattleUSD 1904
Jun 2011SeattleUSD 3000
Sep 2010SeattleUSD 3150
Feb 2010SeattleUSD 3080
Oct 2008SeattleUSD 2892
Dec 2005SeattleUSD 5000
Dec 2004SeattleUSD 4200

Total = $61262

The precious early years from 0-6 years are the most important part of childhood that greatly contribute to the rest of their lives. This is the period during which they need the most amount of care in terms of nutrition, health care, attention and guidance. The early years need sensitive education that is child centered and seen from the perspective of a child’s stages of development.

The Irular children come from poor families and are extremely disadvantaged when it comes to all-round development during childhood. The hope from this project is to provide these children nurtritional food and early childhood education that stimulates learning by doing.

A school composed of 2 buildings houses around 35 children, one teacher and a cook. The trained school teacher encourages creativity in children through storytelling, song and dance. The children have access to educational aids like flash cards and blocks that promotes motor and sensory skills.
Early Childhood Education needs to include a variety of areas that help with the development of the child’s sensitivity to the environment, growing senses, motor skills, imagination and natural empathy besides encouraging independence in everyday practical skills. Rather than emphasize the end result a lot of care has to be taken to ensure that children have sufficient time to explore their work and learn at a pace that is comfortable for them. Even though the areas listed below appear to be a lot - this only comes into the picture while preparing the environment. The intent is not to create a time-table with these as subjects but rather to create practical explorations that the child can choose from - in the following areas and more based on observing the children. The child will naturally be inclined towards some. Eventually the child will look into most of what is offered for exploration. Also when there are many children - they will be naturally curious about what other children learn and hence cover a variety of topics.
Bharathi Trust is a Chennai-based NGO that is engaged in empowering the Irulars, an oppressed tribal community in Tamil Nadu, for the past 10 years. The trust has an active presence over 300 villages spread in Cuddalore and Vellore districts of Tamil Nadu. The Irualars are an indigenous community who traditionally survived through occupations like occupations are honey collection, hunting, coal making, snake and rat catching. However, most of them have lost these traditional livelihoods and now are confined to a life of poverty taking to coolie work and laborers in the fields and mills (some of them are bonded laborers). Asha has been involved with Bharathi trust since 2000 and has supported their motivational school project over the years. (http://www.ashanet.org/projects/project-view.php?p=79 has additional information about that project)