During the months of July and August, 2013, FSL-India had collaborated with Better World Korea, Hyundai Motors India and Hyundai Motor Company Korea for the 11th Happy Move Camp in Pappankuzhi, Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu.
A kitchen garden had been promoted then and on the 22nd of April, 2014, a field office of our Chennai team went to visit it. To their great pleasure, the field officer found the small 10 ft x 4 ft kitchen garden extremely well maintained. The banana, curry leaves and drumstick trees were flourishing in the kitchen garden. In addition, the fence was fully covered beautifully with the climber of broad beans to make the kitchen garden very green and shadowy.
This is all thanks to the contribution of the local community in pooling in their efforts to take care of the kitchen garden!
Once again, the month of April saw another long-term volunteers (LTV) get-together (GTG) in Kundapura. Attending the GTG on the 16th of April 2014 were seven LTVs and three of our Kundapura staff members. GTGs are not only a chance for participants to discuss and share their project experiences, but also an opportunity to explore a new place, as the location for each batch of LTVs varies monthly.
These participants had a chance to visit a Shiva Temple, the backwaters, a fishermen’s community called Kodi and more!
During the 12th Happy Move Camp (HMC) held in January 2014, our Chennai Team identified Mrs. Perundevi and Mr. Duraisamy, agricultural labourers in Thenneri, Kancheepuram District, as in need of proper shelter. Due to a large family, low income and bad weather conditions, their hut house was beginning to deteriorate and could no longer provide shelter to them and their four children.
Their old hut that was beginning to deteriorate
From the 16th to the 27th of January, 2014, FSL-India, Better World Korea, Hyundai Motors India and Hyundai Motor Company Korea collaborated to construct a home for this tribal family. Ganga Gowri, their 10 year old daughter, states, “I could not imagine that [would] be studying and sleeping in [a] house with [a] proper roof. Hereafter, I need not worry about safeguarding my books [from getting] wet during the rainy days!”
Their new home!
Insa Lautzas, an ex long-term volunteer (LTV) from Germany volunteered at Seon Ashram Trust from September 2012 to August 2013. She returned to her project during the month of March, 2014 and writes about her experiences of her visit back.
“From September 2012 to August 2013 I did a 1 Year Volunteer-Service at “Seon Ashram Trust”. This is a place for people who have no one to stay with. Most of them are mentally ill, old aged , physically challenged, widows or orphans.
There I made many experiences, impressions, friends and lots of memories. For me it was not easy to come back to my “previous life” in Germany. There were so many stories in my head, which I´ve permanently remembered. Suddenly I have noticed all the things which I had done differently during the last months. Before coming to India, my plan was to study protestant theology. This has never changed, so I started my studies at the University in Kiel.
Quickly the first semester came to an end and I had holidays: My chance to visit Seon Ashram Trust! I spontaneously took this chance and booked the flight to India!
I have been missing so many people, I have been thinking and worrying about this place so many times…
Now, after only 6 months, I am there again and I am enjoying my 1 month visit a lot. It feels like I haven´t been away. I am very happy to see everyone again. Of course some things are different than before, but not much.
Seon Ashram Trust is not an easy place for volunteers. I am sad to see the conditions and all the problems… Sometimes I am desperate, because I cannot change some things, which really should be improved. But when you get to know the inmates and the work (which is really useful and needed here) – than you can feel so much at home!
I have a lot of fun spending my time with all the people. I take care of the disabled children, do activities with the adults and give attention to the inmates. I have many plans but won´t be able to do them all during my short stay. I feel attached and close to this place very much, so I am sure that I will be back soon!
I also wish to keep in touch with FSL-India. Good luck for your future and especially for the Seon Ashram Trust- Volunteers.”
During the month of March, 2014, a Children’s Parliament was formed in the Panchayat Union Primary and Middle Schools to monitor and follow-up the activities of the 12th Happy Move Camp (HMC). The 8 villages that the Children’s Parliament is to monitor are Ayyamicheri, Thiruvankaranai, Uthukadu, Echoor, Senthamangalam, Thenneri, Shingadivakkam and Melottivakkam in the Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu.
Four committees were formed to monitor:
- Environment committee
- Water and Sanitation Committee
- Health and Hygiene Committee
- Nutrition Committee
The Children’s Parliament will not only cultivate the habit of keeping oneself healthy and hygienic, but also motivate other children and community members to do so as well.
On the 10th of April, 2014, a Health and Hygiene session was conducted for nearly 40 women and men in Thiruvankaranai, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. The topic of this session was awareness on hand washing methods; the steps, and its implications such as cholera and pneumonia.
Videos and pictures were used by the field officer to demonstrate the importance of hand washing, and participants interacted throughout the session by asking questions and clarifying doubts.
During the month of March, two of our long-term volunteering (LTV) department’s staff members; Shobha Vaz and Aravind Thunga, attended the 5th Weltwaerts Staff Workshop in Hamburg, Germany. The workshop lasted for five days and was sponsored by the BMZ Ministry and organized by AFS-Germany.
Attending the workshop were 19 partners from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe to celebrate the 5th year of the Weltwaerts programme, discuss the South-North programme, insurance, safety and more. In addition, participants also had a chance to visit the city.
On the 10th of March 2014 our hopes finally came true. The first Olive Ridley sea-turtles of this season hatched in our hatchery in Maravanthe, Kundapura.
Nearly two months after their mother came ashore to lay her eggs, seventeen little babies made their way through the eggshell out of the nest. With the support of the Forest Department, our Home Based Project team released them a few meters before the sea to give them a chance to imprint on their natal beach, and guarded them as they crawled straight into the ocean. But these were just the first steps of a long journey full of threats.
Little is known about the first years of sea-turtles. Once they reach the ocean, they get into a so-called swim-frenzy; swimming against the waves until they arrive in the open sea. They spend their first years in a variety of foraging habitats, threatened essentially by pollution and deep-sea fishing. Many feed on garbage, mistaking it with food or get caught in fishnets and die. The survivors travel long distances from their feeding to their breeding grounds. After mating the females come back to their natal beach and the circle of life starts again.
We wish the baby sea-turtles good luck!
On the 11th of March, our Home Based Project team decided to tackle the growing concern of improper waste management systems in Kundapura. Waste mismanagement was leading to debris in the ocean, causing harm to marine life, and littering the roads of the areas.
The team, in order to draw the attention of the Municipality Authorities, met and consulted with Kodi Bearys College of Management, the NSS wing, FSL-India volunteers and ward counsellors to find some solutions to bring an end to the mismanagement of waste in the areas concerned. After meeting with the Municipality President, permission was given to undertake a community-based random sample survey of 251 households in order to gain a better understanding of the situation.
In the end, 72% of the households agreed to pay Rs. 30 each month to have a Municipality Waste Disposal System.
In November 2013, the Samsung Electronics Employees Volunteering Programme of Samsung Electronics Ltd. (South Korea), in collaboration with Better World Organisation (South Korea) and FSL-India built the Government High School in Keeranallur, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu a “Smart Class”. This new building came fully equipped with desks, chairs and 20 new laptops.
Due to the new “Smart Class” building, students have taken a special interest in their computer classes, and now several use their free time to learn more about computers.