NGO Aware collects essentials for school kids hit by Gaja

Sandhiyan Thilagavathy

Chennai: The hut lies right there. Catastrophic cyclone Gaja blew away the roof, leaving people in distress. Not only did the cataclysm destroy crops, agricultural lands, trees and household items, but it also shattered the dreams of thousands of students.

The children, with drenched textbooks, torn backpacks and broken pens and pencils, feel hopeless and look forward to a new dawn.

Among them are the non-plussed students who will be appearing for the board exams in a few months.
To reach out to the kids in distress, Sandhiyan Thilagavathy, founder of AWARE (Awareness for Wo+men to Advocate their Rights and Equality), has come up with ‘Back to School’ initiative considering it as the first line of restoration. The team plans to have a huge collection drive and keep things ready by the weekend.

Sandhiyan says, “The donors can either contribute writing materials or make a payment of Rs 500 per student with which a kit of school bag, notebook and pen/pencil can be bought.”

Though Tamilnadu Minister for School Education K A Sengottaiyan has made an announcement on issuing fresh textbooks for students of the delta districts, Sandhiyan has directed his team to have a back-up plan to least provide text books for children of class 10, 11 and 12.
But that is not what the volunteer plans to execute. Going the extra mile, Aware is all set to audit schools in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and other Gaja-hit districts.

“To help the teachers get started with the classes, we would be fixing primary requirements like blackboards and stationery with the collected funds. The findings of the audit will be submitted to the State government that would detail building damage and restoration plan,” says Sandhiyan.

How are they going about it? “Two of our volunteers would be going to the districts to audit the requirements of schools and students over the weekend. We plan to distribute the stationery items once the classes resume.”

Aware has set up collection points in several parts of the city and Sandhiyan Thilagavathy can be reached at 81222 41688.

Directions have been given to the school authorities to reopen the school today, however, the teachers and people affected by Gaja say they require at least a week’s time to return to normalcy.

Narrating the plight, Tamilnadu Elementary School Teachers’ Association block secretary of Nagapattinam district, K Balashanumugam, says, “It has been seven days since the classes happened; even if we resume the classes in our district, we can expect to teach only the ruins. The damage caused by the cyclone is heavy that even teachers are doubtful of resuming duty immediately. Owing to this, we have requested the government to postpone the half-yearly exams and talks are on for it.”

Balashanmugam adds: “They have been running short of books for class 11 since last June; however, the government did not organise anything immediately. The survey to find out the number of books required will be taken once we begin classes and hope to get them soon, recoup and proceed with board exam coaching.”


*Stationery sets


*Kolathur – Karthiga – 9791137492
*Korukupet – Sujith – 9176067049
*Medavakkam – Indu – 9952912953
*Porur – Krithika – 9176815035
*Sholinganallur – Rajesh – 8220087766
*Sholinganallur – Dinesh – 9042495976
*Tambaram – Sandhiyan – 8124354921
*Thirumullaivoyal – Santhosh – 9841990704
*Thiruvottriyur – Buvana – 7418693759
*Velachery – AWARE – 8122241688
*Virugambakkam – Shivaranjini – 9176667948


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*Account No: 50200028427321
*IFSC Code: HDFC0000260


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Bhavani Prabhakar