Dear Friends of Vanavil,
It’s been ten years since the Asian Tsunami struck the coasts of Tamil Nadu and the journalists that are pouring into the town looking for positive stories and the massive destruction which took the lives many a thousand are making this week into a memorial of sorts to the Tsunami which brought us also to Nagapattinam where we ended up starting this wonderful little school. On the tenth anniversary of the Tsunami the elder children drew and painted about the Tsunami that shook their lifes ten years ago.
Srinath who has been a pillar of support to Vanavil and has brought many amazing people in touch with vanavil visited the School along with Harald Raabe who had already helped Vanavil to buy bicycles for the high schoolers and his family had supported the second cow we had got. Srinath and Harald were at Vanavil for two days and also got us two new cupboards for the school office and the girls hostel. Two tables, thick floor sheets for the boys hostel and a new water tank to replace the existing one that was leaking.
On the 11th of December, a small but interesting event was organised at Vanavil, The teachers and students had a meeting to commemorate the birth anniversary of the great tamil poet and freedom fighter Mahakavi Bharathi. The principal and our teacher Shalini sang the poet’s songs and the kids also performed a few songs. The programme was put together by Surendar, our male warden. The kids also made posters out of various quotes from Bharathiyar and pasted them on the walls at the entrance of the School.
The Child Welfare Committee chairperson visited the school and hostel and they again insisted that we install a cctv camera and keep recording the goings on of the school and Hostel. We still are perplexed with this strange demand but might have to just do it.
Our School principal Chandran who is a very efficient teacher and head of the school has cleared a competetive exam to be appointed as a group 2 officer of the government and we have to find a replacement for him. The carpentry work and the electrical work for the computer lab has been completed and Matt was here to start it off last month. The money for the computers has been cleared by Wipro and its expected to reflect in the bank account very soon. In January we would have a full functioning computer lab.
Kamala, Maha and Vedhanayagi are back to school and are attending Puduchery school regularly. Devayani is still adamant that she is unable to study so we are hoping to enroll her in some vocational course. S.Karthi and Danny are still out selling stickers and they were in Kerala last week according to other children here. Solai from the Board will be talking to them over the phone and will try to get them back to Vanavil.
All our three heroes who waited tirelessly for the government to hold the ESLC (eighth standard private exams) and wrote them have cleared the exams. However since the results were delayed by three months the Puduchery school said they cant give admission into the third term. These kids who worked so hard to get ahead have once again hit a roadblock thanks to the really insensitive exam and admission systems of the government, but we are exploring ways to get them to write standard ten exams and also to keep them engaged and focused on studies.
Washed by the rains the region is lusciously green and the paddy crop at the vanavil farm is in full bloom. Paddy grains have started to mature in one part of the farm and in the other parts its about to sprout. Water is flowing in the canals and the river around the farm and its a beautiful sight with all the different varieties of birds that are visiting the region for the monsoon.
December has been a really rainy month, manth of exams, month of Christmas and the month of Tsunami anniversary for the children at Vanavil. The rains have made the place wet and slushy but the support staff Subbammal and Vimala work harder and keep the place neat and tidy.
Academically the month has been one that has been dominated by exams and the children who attend the Puducherry government high school have done their exams well and the Tenth standard students are having special classes during the half yearly vacation. Many of the Puduchery kids have gone home for the vacations. The twenty odd kids who are staying back at the hostel are into an interesting project of making wire sculptures. Solai and Guruz are here at Vanavil to run the workshop to teach the children to make these wire sculptures.
Headed by our girls hostel warden and Teacher Shalini the children prepared a wonderful cultural programme for the occasion of Christmas. Chandran and the kids brought a Christmas tree and decorated it. But the biggest surprise of the day was when our Van Driver Anand came in dressed as Santa Claus and distributed cakes and chocolates to all the children.
The youngest Calf which was ill for almost two weeks and was in critical condition has regained its health and is doing much better now. Its been a great month overall with the children having all round engagements.
To strengthen the library at Vanavil, we are planning to buy books at the Chennai Book Fair which starts on January 9th. We request all our supporters to donate either old books or contribute towards buying Tamil books for the children.
On the administration front, we need to recruit an accountant. I interviewed three candidates but all of them are freshers so a proper interview is to be conducted. Since the School Head master also planning to leave at the end of January Vanavil will be on a recruitment drive at the opening of the new year. The money that needs to come from the SSA is still pending and we are considering escalating the issue to the District Collector.
Hopefully with the SSA money coming through and with our renewed fund raising campaign we would be able to run the first Quarter of 2015 in a way to get our children the best of academics and other skills.