Asha Trust - Manigal

Project Brief: To promote education as a tool to change the marginal status of the gypsies. To use schooling as a tool to keep children in a safe environment and away from work. To break the barriers that prevent them from accessing the educational and other avai
Project Type: Other (description)
Primary Focus: to go to formal school (description)

Secondary Focus: remedial education

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: Chennai
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Saraswati Palayur
Project Partner(s): Usha bhaskar
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , Asha Chennai First Floor, 85/2 Luz Avenue Mylapore, Chennai ,Mylapore,Chennai,
TAMIL NADU  600004
Tel: 9940027042
Stewarding Chapter: Chennai
Jul 2021ChennaiUSD 6742
Jun 2021ChennaiUSD 482
Sep 2020ChennaiUSD 2250
May 2020ChennaiUSD 1137
Sep 2019ChennaiUSD 6080
Jun 2018ChennaiUSD 8321
Aug 2017ChennaiUSD 8836
May 2017ChennaiINR 36500
Oct 2016ChennaiUSD 6066
Oct 2015ChennaiUSD 3119
May 2015ChennaiUSD 4776
May 2015ChennaiINR 4500
May 2014ChennaiUSD 1722
Nov 2013ChennaiUSD 1294

Total = $51718.8


  The gypsy community in south Chennai is a nomadic community of 60 and odd families. Garbage clearing, rag picking and bead selling are their main sources of livelihood. Hunting is also practised by some. Their mother tongue is Vaigiri, a language close to Gujarathi/Marathi. Their dress and customs are different from others around them. They live as a marginalized community, isolated from the rest of the society. However they have maintained a strong sense of group identity.


Movies are very popular and TVs are seldom turned off in their one room tenements. Gambling is another past time for the community. Because of their profession as rag pickers families tend to store recyclable waste they collect outside their houses. Boys and girls too are involved in collecting recyclable wastes and sorting it. Despite several interventions by the Govt and other NGOs no significant changes were evident in the life style of these families. They continue to remain as ragpickers absorbing their children into the profession as they go along.


In this scenario Project Manigal was started in the year 2004. It made a modest beginning with a Non formal Education program in the colony to create interest in schooling and to promote education as a valuable asset. Then it moved to the local primary school, coaxing a few gypsy children to stay and learn inside the school premises. Over the years some children not only stayed, but moved up the primary ladder. The children who broke the barriers and stepped into middle schools became role models for others. The gypsies are slowly starting to access educational opportunities available around them. Currently 30 and odd children are pursuing schooling in primary and middle/ high schools in the area. The project was run with contributions from interested individuals.


Gypsy children often travel with their families to far off places to participate in fairs and festivals which affects their continuity in school. Parents are not present in the mornings to send children to school which results in high absenteeism/late attendance. Learning through Tamil medium which is not their mother tongue is also a barrier. The learning levels of the gypsy children and the lessons they are expected to handle in class often do not match. In order to overcome these barriers the project staff visit various schools and the colony and give individualized attention and coaching in small sub groups. Such personal and intensive inputs, starting at the level of the child, rather than with the lessons help them to continue their education even after a break.


Education of gypsy children is a challenging process interconnected to social ,cultural and economic marginalization that confront the gypsies. Changing the educational profile of the community is a long and involved process. Nevertheless it is a valuable and important tool in their empowerment.

  • To promote education as a tool to change the marginal status of the gypsies.

  • To use schooling as a tool to keep children in a safe environment and away from work.

  • To break the barriers that prevent them from accessing the educational and other available services. Act as a link/mentor between school and the gypsy community for better access integration and adjustment.



supporting Learning to gypsy children enrolled in educational institutions
Jul 2021 Report on Stationery Items distribution June-July 2021
Jul 2021 Report on Mini-school opening for 2021-22
Jun 2021 Manigal - Kottur and Indranagar - Project Proposal 2021- 2022
Apr 2021 Report of Manigal Indra Nagar 2020 - 2021
Feb 2021 Site visit report manigal Indra Nagar
Sep 2020 Report on Education during Covid times
Aug 2020 Report of online classes
Jul 2020 Covid relief report
Jun 2020 Manigal -Proposal and budget for 2020- 2021
Apr 2020 Report of Manigal Indra Nagar 2019 - 2020
Jan 2020 Site visit report of Shereen Broido
Dec 2019 Report on Teachers excursion to Mysore
May 2019 Report of manigal Thiruvanmiyur 2018-2019
May 2019 Project Proposal 2019-2020
Jan 2019 dummy-link
Nov 2018 Site visit report - Nov 2018
Nov 2018 Report for the month - June to Nov 2018
May 2018 Report for year 2017-18
May 2018 Project Proposal 2018-2019
Jul 2017 Site visit report - July 2017
Jul 2017
Jun 2017 Write up Adyar Times Newspaper
Jun 2017 Project Proposal 2017-2018
May 2017 Report for year 2016-17
Sep 2016 Site visit report to Corporation School
May 2016 Project Proposal 2016-2017
May 2016 Consolidated report -2016
Dec 2015 Photos from flood relief - Gypsy Colony, Thiruvanmiyur
Dec 2015 Site vist report from relief work in gypsy colony
Jul 2015 Proposal and budget for 2015- 2016
Jun 2015 Site visit report 2015
May 2014 Project Proposal 2014-2015
May 2014 Site visit report 2014
Aug 2013 Approved Budget 2013-2014
Mar 2013 Site visit report 2012-13
Mar 2013 Manigal Project Site Visit Report March 2013
Mar 2013 Project Proposal 2012-2013
Dec 2012 School children
Dec 1991 .