So, there is much that has not yet been told, and the time has come for all the good that is happening to be revealed to our waiting public!
What with many of the boys being sent away from the Boys Town due to flooding, our plans have been somewhat scuppered. However, there are rumblings of excitement amongst the team, as new possibilities have come to light. We will be planning a variety of totally new programmes that will push us all outside of our comfort zones and open potential for future years.
Firstly we have been building stronger links with Oasis, doing more work alongside them, and building friendships and partnerships that we hope will last a long time. This has taken the form of English lessons in the Government School in BV Colony (a slum town in the Vyasapardi region of Chennai), delivered, to our surprise, to the ENTIRE school! Luckily Emma, Lynn, Rachel and Ross took it in their stride and divided the school in half, providing a differentiated session to children aged 11-16. This school is in the heart of the community and has significant problems with alcohol, drug dealing, and violence, especially as a ‘head gangster’ lives immediately next to the school. Teachers here are subject to intimidation and violence should they discipline some children. Oasis have been working in the school for a year, building links with local leaders and increasing the number of students attending.
A few of us were also taken on a tour of the BV colony by John (Oasis social worker and Lay Pastor at the New Life Good Samaritan Church). This was an eye opening experience and gave us a real insight into Oasis’ passion and work as well as that of John and his family.
Tailoring went on as planned, and we will be extending our programme there, providing a little more consistency. Reports from Cathy and the rest of the team are really positive there, and we all knew they were telling the truth as they arrived back in the meeting room at Vepery considerably more chilled out than us!
In terms of the boys remaining at Kottivakkam, the plans we have for them include running more challenge style programmes with a team work emphasis, taking them to the cinema, and finally planning an English party at Vepery at which they will be fed Fish and Chips and Jelly & Ice Cream, as well as playing party games and dancing. We ourselves will be preparing the food to serve them!
So, it seems that the rains have been a blessing in disguise. The flooding at Boys Town remains a problem, and this is one we hope to solve with the work we are doing this year with drainage and more permanently next year. As for now, we will enjoy very much having these new experiences!
The other amazing thing that we are facilitating is the building of relationship between Oasis and the YMCA. Bernard and Becky met today and discussed the forging of new plans to link together on development projects. We await further discussions and formal agreements before we reveal any further details. However the potential is very real and very exciting. This is something that Chennai Challenge are very interested in seeing happen, especially as both organisations are motivated by the same inspiration, and looking to empower and engage local leaders.
Well, this is a fact heavy blog, but I hope it’s interesting. We will try to keep you updated and will continue safe in the knowledge that you are eagerly awaiting new blog updates. Thanks to you all!
Isaac et al (I don’t mean Isaac and Al, as Al has returned to England, I mean Isaac and all, like the Latin innit?)