Sands of Time
Notchkuppam- Notchinagar is a fisherman community that was badly hit by the tsunami in December 2004. Residents of Notchikuppam along with the other fishing hamlets nearby, have been evicted and rehabilitated at Notchhinagar and other nearby areas, close to the lighthouse at Marina Beach .The area houses 243 families with an approximate population of 1100. The primary occupations of the residents are fishing and small scale industry work.
Thousands of people were displaced post- tsunami along the Chennai coast and many lives were lost. Though they are lucky to have re-established themselves, their way of living hasn’t changed. Some of the health concerns in this area include tuberculosis, dysentery owing to unhygienic living conditions and inaccessibility to health care facilities further compound the problem.
Volunteers of Notchikuppam have been conducting weekly sessions for the local children through a creative module on child rights. They have engaged the adults in the community in group discussions on child labour and health & hygiene. They have also organised awareness drives from time to time, conducted drop-out surveys and have recently initiated a malnutrition drive.
One of the children in the community is Harish Raj, a fourteen year old boy whose father works as a roadside ice-cream vendor. His mother is a house wife. Harish studies in Montford academy and will be going to 9th std this year. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up so he can travel around the world. When asked what he liked about Nochikuppam the instant answer was ‘unlimited power supply’. Harish is happy just to have electricity in his house which according to him is a luxury. Harish and his friends play on a section of the beach which is a dump yard for empty alcohol bottles and other garbage. Harish says “people of this area speak very badly and abuse us all the time, I want this to change.”
Would you like to help Harish and other children like him in Notchikuppam to realise their dreams? Come on board with us to reach out where the roads cannot. Spread the joy of alphabets amongst the children. Help us protect those whose hands should be carrying books and not bricks.
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Only Hope is not Enough. – Surya Nagar PAG
Settled comfortably beyond the walls of Anna University and on the banks of the infamous Cooum River, Surya Nagar is home to 18,000 families.
While on one side, there are 20 registered balwadi children who attend the anganwadi and are taken care of by the ayah and the teacher assigned by the Government; on the other side, we also have some children who have dropped out of school due to various reasons – family circumstances and lack of motivation, etc. Most children who dropped out stopped going to school once they failed. There are also several incidences of child labour and children as young as 13 years old are into addictions. Girls who do wish to go to school are married off instead and thus, an uneducated minor girl becomes susceptible to abuse and face the dire consequences of early pregnancy. Health problems are also a concern owing to one end of the slum opening onto the riverside.
The Volunteers at Surya Nagar, through bi-monthly meetings have established a rapport with the children of Surya Nagar. Through these meetings, the volunteers interact with the children and identify child rights issues that the children may be undergoing. They have conducted extensive Drop Out childrens’ surveys and have identified drop out children whom they have begun counselling as a first step to re-enrol them back into school. The volunteers are currently engaged in a vibrant fun ‘English Module’ that aims to impart knowledge of Child Rights through a widespread need felt in the community – to learn English. The Volunteers in 2013, had piloted the English Module phase 1 – which was generic in nature, a pilot project and have now successfully begun English Module – Phase 2 which focuses on each right in more detail. Knowledge of rights is imparted in these sessions using a fun, play way method: sometimes, through colouring activities, games, movie screening, puzzles, songs, etc. And now, the children eagerly await the arrival of the volunteers every weekend.
The volunteers are in the process of developing a detailed profiling of the children in the community to ensure that any child rights violations are addressed and are currently also exploring poor connectivity issues that hinder children from commuting to their schools. The journey may seem uphill, but the most important thing is that the journey has begun.
To join this PAG, write to firstname.lastname@example.org