Monday, September 20, 2010

Madurai Ramnad

Satchiyapuram, a small village near Sivakasi (a place very well known for its manufactiring of fire works and crackers) and Manamadurai in Tamil Nadu was an interesting experience of learning. The experience I gained reflect the realities present in rural communities of India.
At Satchiapuram I visited 2 Projects one for children who are hard of hearing and the other for children who are intellectually impaired. These children were blessed as the place offers emmence job opportunities in small scale industries, mainly dealing with making of fire crackers. Though it sounds to be an hazardous industry the job is split into various smaller jobs in order to make the production more significant. Hence the children are not placed in factories where the actual gunpowder and other chemicals are used, but instead placed in factories where the mold is made for the filling of chemicals.

Nevertheless, both the Projects are doing well in identifying, intervening in the therapy while offering holistic education, pre-vocational training and integration to children. During the visit all matters regarding the Programme Implementation and the related challenges being faced was discussed. Thereafter I moved on to Manamadurai where I visited another Project, serving children with hearing impairment. This visit also taught me a lot of interesting things. As compared to the job prospects available at Satchiapuram, the main vocation being taught here is tailoring, as the demand for tailors is more towrds Madurai. Another interesting finding was that the income from local resouces was poor in Manamadurai and rich in Satchiapuram. This is due to the fact that there are more idustrialists who own factories near Sivakasi than in Manamadurai.

All in all, though I did feel a little strange towards the extremes of hospitality shown to me during the visit, it taught me a lot of important things realted to indicators for monitoring and evaluating. The children seemed so active and noughty and the class so lively without a word being spoken, it was all their movement of hands. Even in such moments of communication they know that they are able to convey their message across and this they do with great concentration. It was a delight to learn that deaf children had very little knowledge of what is wrong. And that they often misguided people by falsly complaining on others who did not agree on certain matters.

It was also found that children had very less memory power, mainly due to their lack of listening skills, thus not knowing how to pronounce. This effects their ability to feel the subjects. And I leave this post with a deep thirst of visiting these children again and to learn about their success in all their endeavours.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Visit to Projects in Chennai

Two Projects in Chennai were visited from the 7th of June to the 10th of June 2010. The main purpose of the visit was to get an understanding on the functioning of the Project and to build a rapport with the staff and children (as this was the first time I was visiting the Project after it was allocated to me in April '10).

The first Project (Opportunity School) No 21151, located in Methodist Church Compound, Veppery, was catering to the needs of nearly 75 Mentally Challenged children residing in and around Chennai. During the first day of my visit, I visited the outreach centre located in Napalayam, which is around 23kms from the heart of the city. There are nearly 20 children attending the Outreach centre. This centre also acts as a shelter for the homeless Adult Mentally Challenged Girls. The centre has a vast vocational training units, which trains and prepares the children to produce usefull things. It was really nice to meet these children and staff, as they were very friendly and happy.
On the second day of my visit, I met all the children in their classrooms along with their teachers and discussed the progress of each child, during which a few photographs were also taken. It was interesting to learn that all the children were doing well in addressing all the development activities as mentioned in the Madras Developmental Scale, which was very impressive.
  After visiting all the children in their respective classrooms and vocational units, I briefly went through all the records and registers maintained in the Project. During this time I also clarified certain issues related to administration and management of staff and finances.

Overall the visit was very usefull as I came to learn about the environment/need of the Project and the services available to them. One thing which needs to be highlighted is the fact that all the staff have been self motivated in offering such service,which is again very much appreciated. I leave this Project with admiration and gratitude for the services being provided in the field level. I hope and wish that during my second visit, around the year, I get to meet these children again and hear about their progress.
After the first 2 days at Vepery, I proceeded to visit another Project named CODIAC (Community-Development Information and Action Centre) located near Egmore, Chennai. This Project caters to the needs of school drop-outs and street children. Here, non-formal training is being provided for a maximun of 1 to 2 years in small scal industries such as coil making, tailoring, welding, mechanical repairs etc. CODIAC has 2 centres through which they reach out to nearly 100 children both in Chennai and Tiruvanmalai. During the first day of the visit, I had a briefing
Posted by Picasafrom the Project Coordinator on the functioning of the Project. During this time I also went through the files and registers. It was observed that children are also given stipend during the training. They are also given tools and intruments to continue in the skills which they have obtained, the amount taken as advance need to be paid back on installment basis every month after finding a job. It was a really nice concept as many of the children and youth needed this one time investment in order to gain some skill to earn their living in due course of time.

On the second day of my visit, I went into the community to meet and physically see the place where they work and to thank the employers for giving them the opportunity through us. Hence I meet and spoke to nearly 10 children, who were being trained in coil winding, welding, mechanical repair,etc. During this time I also met the employers and enquired about the children interest in the training and also their abilities and disabilities. It was really a great pleassure for me to meet these children. All along the way, as I met and spoke to the current trainees and their employers, I also had the chance to meet ex-trainees which was really nice.
My visit to Chennai comes to an end, but the memories I have collected and the experience I have had during my first ever visit to these Projects will last a life time, coz no matter how many time I would be visiting this Project after this, the first impression I have had shall never be forgotten. Untill my next visit, vare, thirpi vara, inavar dhadi pakla.
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