Often referred to as the gateway to South India, Chennai played an important role for India right from the 1st century. And in the 21st century the city still holds its status and has been noted as one of the fastest growing cities in the world (Forbes Magazine). The city is home for several industries and services (especially IT) which is commendable but the flip-side is equally disheartening. In this growing city/metro there is a need to look more closely and reach out to those underprivileged who are willing to pursue but are deprived of the basics like education.
Our next project takes us to a historical town located to the north of Chennai, Tiruvottiyur. It is famous mainly for the magnificent Thyagarajar temple. The town adorns its history gracefully but the present takes a back seat when it comes to education especially with the children from slum areas.
The need to educate in this area was realized by a group of keen and committed volunteers back in 1997. It does not take a crowd to change certain conditions; Mr. Alibasha, Ms. Chithra Raghavan and Ms. Nithya took the first step as a small group to help children in the Northern Suburban of Chennai. This group was incorporated as a trust in 2006 as The Zenith Educational Trust. The trust has relentlessly contributed to uplift the social and educational status of the underprivileged children from the slum areas in this part of Chennai. Currently this trust is maintained by Mr. Alibasha.
Ann Foundation was more than willing to join in the efforts to benefit underprivileged children in the outskirts of Chennai and consequently partnered with the Zenith Educational Trust to impart quality and sustainable education. Without losing a single moment the foundation geared up to deliver hope to these young children who have the potential but no resources. Like its other projects, the foundation focused on spoken English and advanced computer classes to build confidence and prepare them to take up gainful employment.
The project commenced on 23 January, 2012, with a class of 30 enthusiastic students. Ms. Chithra (now a volunteer for Ann Foundation) is the project manager. Currently they are supported with 4 computers but still need a projector and screen. Their interest to learn surpasses their need for comfort but we would prefer them to have some basic furniture than sit on mats and rugs. Both Ann Foundation and Zenith Educational Trust are trying their best to help these 30 children and provide the following benefits by the end of the project:
- Increase the English language fluency to boost students’ academic confidence.
- Increase the computer literacy of students.
- Expose students to the benefits of modern computing technology in academic as well as professional disciplines.
- Increase students’ English language and soft skills to provide them the tools to express and articulate their thoughts with clarity and confidence, as well as allow them to interact with people outside of their local context
This project is not about reaching out to the underprivileged children with mere funds, but it is about a vision that aspires to create a difference in the life of the children helped.