Following is the report for our site visit on 2nd Apr 2011. A special thanks to Uday and Elango for inviting me.
Where We visited ? : Government Special Home for Boys, Chengalpettu, Kancheepuram District
When ? : 03-Apr-2011
Who Visited ? : Sachin Ravindran, Elango R, Udhaya Kumar.V
Who we met ? : Mr.Thanasekara Pandian(Superdent), Teachers & Students
Experience & Observation:
At the onset let me state that this was my first visit to this site and my second visit overall as a volunteers of India Sudar to any site. The earlier one was New Life in Tambaram.
Even though I was well prepped through multiple discussions with Karthik, Prem & Uday to expect a well organized and maintained home for boys @ Chengalpet, in reality this place way exceeded my expectations that I had from a government run organization. My prior notions, ignorance and low expectations were greatly influenced by details I had read about such places in print media and image portrayed in movies. Before this visit, a government run home had a whole set of negative idea and bad stigma associated with it and this visit has helped clear many such feeling.
The officials at the home were surprisingly very friendly and eager to have us in that place and this should be greatly attributed to the work that India Sudar has been doing at this place. Be it the computers that have been set up or the two wheeler mechanic training center, all initiatives done so far have been well received and appreciated by the boys living in the home and their officials.
After the initial interaction with the officials, the boys were quickly organized into a room to facilitate the interaction with India Sudar volunteers. If were to ignore the fact that these boys are here for having been on the wrong side of law, they turned out to be a bunch of regular school going kids, very chirpy, pulling each other legs and as usual very shy to express their needs and thoughts. But once the initial ice was broken they started becoming more vocal about their needs and aspirations. But one thing that stood out lacking in a big way was lack of self confidence and self esteem and this was acknowledged by the officials too. This is where we as volunteers can help with our valuable time. Just interacting with these kids on a regular basis will help bring in more hope and provide encouragement for them. More thoughts about this in the plan and activity section below.
After Uday took down a list of training needs and ideas directly from the boys themselves, the Superintendent took us around the home and showed us a newly renovated room that he plans to use as classrooms for the boys. After this we had further discussions with him in his office room where he introduced us to a possible candidate who can teach basic computers, DTP & Photoshop to the boys using the computers that has already been donated. The same candidate also mentioned that he can get us details regarding people who can train boys to prepare fast foods (parotta master job). All these will be channelized through the Superintendent.
1. A trainer to teach basic computers, DTP and Photoshop. As mentioned above possible candidate identified. Salary and timings to be negotiated. (Uday is following up on this)
2. Game and sports accessories like Carrom Coins, volleyballs, nets, footballs etc
3. Specific books on topics like world history, biography (e.g. Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee )
4. Organize more vocational and job oriented trainings. Current ideas are
a. Fast food preparation training
b. Four wheeler or commercial driving licenses training for eligible candidates who can prove their age (should be 18 +)
c. Four wheeler, AC mechanic training
5. The Superintendent had a specific request for Rs 5000/- for buying specific music accessories for the training class being already conducted for learning rural arts & folks music
6. The biggest requirement among all these is requirement for volunteer time to interact and mentor a specific set of boys.
Plan and Activities:
Plan: Spend at least 8 hours a month (twice a month by two volunteers)
Activities: Topics to be planned in discussion between volunteers. Initial thoughts are the following. Suggestion and recommendations welcome
· Guidance for boys in Class 8th and 10th
· Provide details on opportunities available after completion of their stay at this home
· General tips on how to start a bank account, getting a loan, starting a business
· General tips on financial management
Volunteers: Sachin R & Elango R
Uday to send a mail to the Superintendent to initiate the process
Sport & Music Accessories: To be provided after necessary fund approval.