Fellowship: Anu and Krishna

Project Brief: This is a fellowship supporting S. Anuradha and T. Krishna who have set up a Learning Resource Center in Sittilingi, Tamil Nadu
Project Type: Fellowships (description)
Primary Focus: children of dalits/tribals (description)

Secondary Focus: creating resources

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Princeton
Status: completed - sustainable
Project Steward: Ravi Gangavarapu
Project Partner(s): Anu Krishna
Other Contacts: Sridhar Desikan
Project Address: , c/o Tribal Health Initiative,Sittilingi,Theerthamalai P.O.,
TAMIL NADU  636906
Tel: 011-91-4346-299197
Stewarding Chapter: Princeton
Jan 2020PrincetonUSD 3949
Aug 2018PrincetonUSD 7279
Sep 2017PrincetonUSD 6663
Jul 2016PrincetonUSD 5752
May 2015PrincetonUSD 5697
Aug 2014PrincetonUSD 5540
Jun 2013PrincetonUSD 5495
Jun 2012PrincetonUSD 5425
Mar 2011PrincetonUSD 6050
Apr 2010PrincetonUSD 5555
Mar 2009PrincetonUSD 4900
Apr 2008PrincetonUSD 5750
Mar 2007PrincetonUSD 4400
Mar 2006PrincetonUSD 4200
Jun 2005PrincetonUSD 4300
Dec 2004PrincetonUSD 4100

Total = $85055

Anu and Krishna are Asha Fellows identified for their interest in doing social work. Their work ranges from promoting and practising an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, to working in a children's learning center where children are offered alternate, fun learning activities after school or given individual tutoring if needed. Asha supports their work by providing a fellowship.

Anu and Krishna are two architects who, disillusioned with the formal education system, moved to the village community of Gandhigram in Tamil Nadu in 1988. There they learned and taught about alternative, environmentally sustainable building technologies using material that is locally available. In 1993, they shifted to Gudalur, a tribal area in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, where they worked with the NGO ACCORD to equip adivasi youth with various skills needed for managing their own community.

Meanwhile, they grew interested in children's education, especially in areas where the quality of education is low and the right education can help a person gain self-confidence. From 2001 to 2003 Anu taught at an alternative school run by ACCORD. Their experiences suggested to them that:

- Children from disadvantaged sections in rural areas need an education that would help them gain self-respect and live with dignity. For this they need to acquire skills relevant to the community and the local economy.
- Chilren have a natural curiosity and capacity to learn, that needs to be nurtured by giving them space and the right environment.
- Children need the company of sympathetic adults who can encourage them to acquire skills and knowledge.
In June 2003, Anu and Krishna moved to Sittilingi, a remote adivasi village in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. Here, as a means of addressing the above points, they have set up a Learning Resource Center. The goal of this center is to provide a place where:

- Children are in the presence of adults who can motivate them and provide support for learning
- Children can access basic learning resources that are not available to them in their homes or schools
- Children attend supplementary classes or prepare for exams away from crammed and noisy homes
- Children interact with visiting professionals from various walks of life to get exposure
- Young adults are trained to create similar spaces for children in their own villages
- As children grow into young adults, they can have access to vocational training courses and network with other such centers.
The fellowship was supported under the organization Thulir. Thulir positions itself as "A sanctuary where children and adults learn and explore in an atmosphere of freedom, equality, Inclusion, co- operation, dignity and joy. A place where childhood will bloom naturally in goodness to responsible and caring citizenship.” It was initially established as a centre for alternative education for school drop-outs and after-school program for regular school going children in Sittlingi, a tribal village located in Dharmapuri district. With increased awareness on formal education, the need of the community moved towards a formal school set-up. Thulir started the formal School in 2016 and moved to the present campus in 2019.