Sunday, February 27, 2005

Onsite Update :: from Lakshmi in Chennai

Dear Friends,

2 months today after the Tsunami struck the coast and catapulted all of us into working with relief and some rehab work with the victims of this natural calamity, we at Asha Chennai are taking stock of our work, our funding, our plans and bandwidth for Tsunami related activity.

Asha Chennai Tsunami Relief and Rehab Projects

Support A Family – We have decided to close this project by mid March, 2005. We have raised enough to support 200+ families. We thank all the organizations, chapters and individual donors who have raised the funds till today the 27th of February 2005 for their enormous support to this project. We do not require any further funding for the project.

Back To School - We have decided to close this project by end March 2005. We have raised enough to support 1000+ children. We thank the schools in the US, the individual donors, the organizations that have so quickly and joyfully supported this project with their collections till today the 27th March 2005. We do not require any further funding for the project.

Nemmilikuppam- Boats- The four boats with motors have reached the village fisherfolk. We thank the individual donors who made this project possible. The project stands closed as of today 27th March 2005. We do not require any further funding for the project.

Nochikuppam, Nochinagar- Balwadis renovation

Balwadis and schools improvement in the rehab area of the city( Kannagi Nagar) where the people from the Tsunami belt of the city are being sent by the govt.
We need your continued support, and funding for this projects 4 and 5. The project details are being worked out. Should be ready in a couple of days and on the website soon too.

If you would like to donate/collect donations for this project please get in touch with us.

I feel

Ø A sense of satisfaction that we at Asha Chennai have been able to spare time and energy for a sudden and great demand.

Ø A sense of relief that we set ourselves realistic targets considering our bandwidth and volunteer time

Ø A sense of happiness that we are able to return to our regular planned work in full steam with greater learning from our experiences

Ø A sense of wonder that we managed to get so much support and from so many different people

The little soft toys that are around brighten up the last bit of our work. When a child accompanies the parent who comes for help we just hand a toy to the child and there are little squeals of delight, smiles. The gifts of eats from Delhi packages also help.

It is a wonderful feeling.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Onsite Update :: from Lakshmi in Chennai

Dear All,

Asha Chennai Tsunami relief and Rehab Projects have now been neatly classified.

Support A Family
Back To School
Nemmilikuppam- Boats
Nochikuppam - Balwadis

Support A Family has revived again on a quiet yet sure basis. We are working from our homes with more volunteers of Besant Nagar (Kasthuri Easwaran), Neelankarai (Anbumani), Kannagi Nagar- new govt. settlement for the displaced (Ravi), Odaikuppam (Kalaiarasi) areas taking the responsibility of identifying, meeting with the families, studying needs and purchasing and distributing materials.

The government is doing /has done the following:

- Not allow the rebuilding of huts on the beach

- Demolished all structures including brick and concrete within 300 metres of the sea on the Santhome Beach( Including Srinivasapuram)- and moved the residents of the Tsunami affected areas to already existing govt. constructed flats at the Pallavan Kudiyiruppu (PTC Quarters) that were not allotted/had no takers for about the last two years. ( The same will happen soon at Urur Kuppam, Olcott Kuppam, Odai Kuppam and all the kuppams in the city of Chennai). Most fisherman in these areas have been fishing as a supplementary occupation and many have jobs even in govt. departments.

- Allotted to the tenant families who were in the huts, tenements 10*10 close to PTC Quarters but on new land, with the allotment papers giving Block Nos and flat numbers in the proposed housing complex.

The Project is therefore now looking at supporting the families in both areas with means of transport to the city (cycles), support for small businesses- food stalls, tea stalls, vegetable vending, petty shops. We have started slowly in a small way, you can see the early efforts on the web link

The last few SAFs are of that kind.

We have identified a group of 38 families of Srinivasapuram in the 10x10 tenement area who would need support for going back to work. The daily costs of commuting to the city can be anywhere between Rs10 and Rs25 per day. With the prospects of daily wages being unsure everyday, many of the coolies are unable to go to work.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Onsite Update :: from Lakshmi in Chennai

Dear All of you who have written these letters of appreciation and helped/ are helping raise funds,

Thanks for the encouraging words.

I felt good reading your appreciation of the hard, good work. People like you have been sending their notes of appreciation and their suggestions as well. So I thought I could write about our work in general this time.

Yes it has been hard work, fewer sleeping hours, more responsibility, and more strategies to deal with the explosive situations of people really affected by the Tsunami and the other really poor but not directly affected by the Tsunami. There has been so much learning in the process and it continues.
Funds seem no problem now. Delivering with limited manpower is difficult and yet I must say committed volunteerism at asha Chennai and from it’s friends have taken us through the difficult 5 weeks.

Interactions with friends outside Chennai (from UP- college students and social workers) volunteers of NGOs in Chennai who are working outside the city) who spent time helping with the surveys, observing activities and rebuilding broken places and cleaning roads, has given an understanding of the details of how relief and rehab work is happening elsewhere.
Interactions with volunteer friends of NGOs and in individual capacity of Chennai who are working outside the city and working with children, has given an understanding of the details of how children are responding to the great trauma. Being part of groups creating good activity material for these children for self learning and group learning has provided insights

A lot of our plans of Project Back to School comes from these diverse personal experiences and interactions.

A very good outcome of our efforts- There are more young people in Chennai wanting to give their time and that is a great feeling.