I can now write my own name."

ANOOR – CHANNELISING CHANGE

Aplenty with massive temple architectures, Anoor is located in the Thirukazhukundram block of Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu.

THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION

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Our Children’s Learning Centre in Anoor is helping first-generation learners make progress in their academics. The Centre is provided with an education kit and the teacher is trained to deliver simplified teaching methods for better understanding of the subject for the students.

Sheeba was in Grade VIII last year and has passed on to Grade IX and joined a different school. When Sheeba joined the centre last year, she didn’t know to read Tamil. The tutor spent an extra hour with her every day and helped Sheeba passed her Grade VIII in flying colours. Sheeba is now able to read and write very well.

PONSELVI’S STORY

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Ponselvi is an empowered entrepreneur and an example of growth in her village. She has only studied till Grade VIII and never really got a chance to pursue her studies or seek employment. Her husband had a small provision store and it was not very profitable. Through our Bharatiar SHG, of which Ponselvi is a member, she learnt about the importance of financial independency. She wanted to strengthen the business as it was their only source of income. Last year, through her SHG, Ponselvi got a chance to avail a loan of INR 10,000. She invested the entire amount to purchase aerated drinks for the shop as it was in high demand. “Many people come asking for cool drinks in this summer heat and now it’s a seller”, says Ponselvi. From making just INR 1,000 a month, Ponselvi’s investment managed to double the income. She availed another enterprise loan of INR 15,000 to develop the store further. And this was the turning point of their lives. She started to sell bangles, beads and chains for her store. The response has been promising. The new provision items in the store also includes rice, variety of spices and masala powders, oil, rice, wheat, dhal and snack items like chips, biscuits etc. Ponselvi’s income has shot up to INR 4,000 per month in just a few months. “I am empowered by the fact that I can earn for my family and also help my husband make a living”, says an elated Ponselvi. She has also undergone candle making training through the SHG and is planning to start an enterprise with her new skill.

EMPOWERING THROUGH LITERACY – Adult literacy training

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48-year-old Jayalakshmi has only studied till Grade III. She did not have any memory of learning letters or reading. She joined our Adult Literacy training along with 11 other women like her, who did not know to read or write their own names. They learnt letters and words and now are able to read simple words. “I can now write my own name. But more than that, I can write my children’s name too. I can even read signs and bus boards. Previously, it was difficult for me to sign in SHG books and documents. Wherever I sign, I had to do only thumb impression. Now I sign my own name. This is truly an achievement for me,” says Jayalakshmi.

WEB OF OPPORTUNITIES

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Travelling is a major challenge for the people of Anoor. Especially for the young children of this village, it would have been impossible to travel all the way to Chengalpattu town daily, which is more than 15 kms away, to attend computer classes or avail the services of a computer centre. Through our VUP, we opened a Citizens’ Centre, the first in Anoor. Centrally located and adjacent to the Anoor Government School, the centre sees an inflow of about 25 students on a daily basis for e-learning classes which include how to use Paint, Microsoft Word and Excel. These classes are free of cost. The CC also offers online services like e-bill payment, internet banking, printing, Photostat, online application form downloads including application for government schemes, browsing etc. The CC has made technology accessible and affordable to the residents of Anoor village.

IRON FOR STRENGTH    

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27-year-old Sudha is a shy young woman from Bharatiar SHG. About six months ago, she was diagnosed with a haemoglobin blood count of 7. “I used to always feel tired, sleepy and weak”, admits Sudha who also runs a goat-rearing enterprise, and has two young children to take care of. The doctors at our medical camp prescribed iron folic tablets for her and directed her to follow a proper diet. She started to eat dates, nuts, green vegetables and protein rich food. Today, she feels more energised. Most young women from villages tend to ignore their health which mostly leads to anaemia. We conduct anaemia camps periodically to monitor the health of these women.

FROM MUCK TO MANURE

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Alamelu has an acre of land under okhra and paddy cultivation. This land is her bread and butter. “It’s hard work. Water scarcity is also a challenge. And to add to it, chemical fertilizers are becoming expensive”. That is when, a few months ago, Alamelu constructed a vermicompost shed in her backyard upon suggestion from our VUP team. Vermicomposting is a cost-effective method to produce natural manure for plants and crops. Even though the process requires some effort, the end product is profitable. Alamelu has been using the manure in her field.

WORD FROM THE PRESIDENT

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“Community participation has increased through VUP interventions,”, says Village President Vijayakumar.