Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Projects Update :: Various (Lakshmi)

Dear All,

Reports from schools.

POORNA VIDYA- School Strength 282. Usual attendance before Tsunami 75%

Poorna Vidya on the Odaikuppam beach opposite ashta lakshmi temple is one asha chennai projects. Hindu page 3 of Jan 4 carried a report on the trauma of the children in this school. The Headmistress Mrs Annamma, Dhanalakshmi and Amuda- asha teacher facilitators have made an assessment on 3rd and 4th and compiled the needs of the children from those that attended school on these two days. 56 children of the who attended school require support with school related items- books, notebooks, uniforms, bags, pencils ,pens…These will be provided through school ASAP. The list will be expanded later when more students return to school. The attendance on 3rd the first day of reopening of school was 46% against the normal 75% average attendance.

The assessment has included the family details of loss as well, their original place of residence before the Sunami, their present place of stay and what the family has lost in the Tsunami. 40 families have lost all, homes and possessions. These include tenants and fisher folk owners of their huts on the beach. 7 families have lost utensils and other essential household items. The headmistress has directed the 47 families to Asha Chennai SAF with a note with each family duly signed and stamped. On 3rd and 4th , 9 families have contacted us.
We have provided immediate relief through ration and money for kerosene and a big container to store their supplies. We have asked the affected owners who lived in their own huts to meet us with the details of their plans of housing. Since fishing their occupation cannot continue for at least two months we will encourage some temporary occupation if they can find it. We will also help with SAF if the family choses to go to any alternate choice of residence.

For the folks not dependant on the sea we have suggested looking for houses on rent under SAF.

All the school related needs will be supplied through school for which the project sponsors are making available in the next couple of days through Asha Chennai as part of the project.

OLCOTT MEMORIAL SCHOOL- Project Bridge School Strength 751. Usual attendance before Tsunami 90%

1. 75% of the children have returned to school. Only Class 1 has low attendance of the order of 50% . The first survey has identified 119 children affected by loss of school related material. The Theosophical Order of Service will provide the necessary support. Local support is pouring in which the school is diverting to needy children in the nearby schools through the school students “help your neighbour” activity as part of the IYAP Programme.

2. As in Poorna Vidya family support is being extended to the very affected families who have contacted us. We expect some 20 odd families will need support right away.

3. The Theosophical Order of service may support other schools once the OMHS needs are taken care of


Details from the Headmistress Margaret are awaited. She had promised to get back on 3rd evening but has not yet done so. Will follow up this morning. There is money in asha Chennai account for this project which can be used for requirements of the children of the school. This has been communicated personally to Mrs. Margaret on the morning of the 3rd within I hour of school reopening.
Some of the families of the school who have siblings on Odaikuppam and OMHS have come for support to SAF children in the school have approached us and support has been provided. The families affected will be supported through SAF if they approach us.

URUR KUPPAM Balwadi- Project pride

The children are very young and are slowly trickling in. Will get detailed updates in a couple of days. Shanthi, Revathy and Umamaheswari are at the work of doing the detailed survey of the affected. These children will get one set of new uniforms as part of Pongal. These are being stitched through volunteer Arjun and were ordered out in mid December before the Tsunami.

The families affected will be supported through SAF if they approach us.


This is working from 9/40 New street Damodarapuram, Adyar where friends are allowing their one room house for meeting the affected and making disbursement. We are doing this in the locality which is chiefly less affluent because of the need for quiet and low publicity so that we meet only the genuine people. On the 2nd Sunday we worked from 11am to 9pm to get this going. On 3rd and 4th we worked from 6pm to 8pm and we will continue to keep this schedule.

So far 30 families have approached us. 12 families have found alternate accommodation and have received the benefits of support a family. 3 families have been given dry ration support for a week.

We are expecting a steady stream of affected people. So far we have spent about Rs 40,000. We have received specific Indian Rupee donations of Rs19,000 cash and will receive a Rs 22000 cheque donation and some more cash donations today. More enquiries and promises for this work are coming.

Independent non Asha volunteers Namita, Sudha and Latha are there to meet the people coming in and help in the decision making.

Support to work by individuals working at Nemmilli Kuppam is being discussed. This will need to go through the approval process after our volunteers return from the Rajatalab conference.

Medicine Support through Tamil Nadu Tsunami Relief Initiative

Shanmuga and Anita Satish are coordinating this effort. They have collected large quantities from doctors clinincs where free samples are available as also contacted the distributors who supply in bulk at low rates. Request volunteers to get in touch with them at ant_asha@yahoo.com and shanmuga@md4.vsnl.net.in


Money has been distributed by TN Govt. to the affected yester evening. A sum of Rs4000 has been released so far per family. Those who received Rs2000 in the first disbursement received Rs2000 yesterday while others who did not recive any money in the first round received Rs4000.
Most of the owners of houses have received the money. Very few of the tenants have received anything and 50%- 100% whatever has been received have been given to the owners on their aggressive demands or a few case in the hope if their huts being rebuilt and their prospects of return!
Departments of Social work have closed their theory work for a month and put their students on the practical field work. Workshops are being conducted for school teachers and others actively involved with children and women by The Stella Maris college. 4 of asha Chennai Project teachers will be attending on 6th and 7th of Jan.
Rajaraman our Asha Chennai coordinator is in Rajatalab. It is difficult to reply immediately to all who write to me. Please bear with me for delays.
Volunteers from IIT Kanpur who got in touch very early have been told what they can do to help.
Kathik (through Sandeep) is in Chennai and will be meeting with me today about rehab of fisherman in some other parts of the state. While I do not know how much I will be of use I shall certainly see what I can do to see if know people who will support such requests
AID has said that it would require volunteers who can spare at least a couple of weeks to help them Their office numbers are- 91 44 28350403 and 91 44 55615629
Lots to report not much time.

Some journalists (from BBC and Wall Street Journal) have been conducting telephone interviews with me. I have been telling them only info that I am really personally aware of. Hope they represent things exactly as I told them.