AboutChennai Challenge is a small charity operational since 2005. We currently take out a team of people from the UK every summer to work with established projects already running in poor communities and areas of need in Chennai, South India.

Our Story

Set up in 2005 by Rob Short, Cathy Short and Isaac Jones, Chennai Challenge was born out of a Guildford YMCA project originating in 1990. When the YMCA stopped visiting Chennai in 2006 Chennai Challenge became an independent charity and a partner with Madras YMCA. We currently work with Madras YMCA and Oasis India; both of whom run projects in some of the poorest parts of the city. Our aim is to help them achieve more by providing funds for projects outside of their financial capability.

We want to see people fulfilling their potential, and we believe a cross cultural experience like this can have a massive impact. By joining our team and you will find yourself challenged and rewarded like never before. Our training covers self development and preparation, equipping all team members with the skills required to carry out the intensive work and experiences encountered during the 2 ½ weeks abroad.

We travel out to Chennai in August every year, and invite our team members to take an active role in deciding what projects to financially assist. Past projects have included:

  • Providing a Water Filteration System at the YMCA Boys Town, a home for orphaned and disadvantaged boys
  • Renovating a dilapidated Community Centre
  • Taking 130 boys from the YMCA Boys Town on an Activity Holiday
  • Providing Tailored clothing for all residents at the YMCA Boys Town
  • Building a new toilet block for girls at a Higher Secondary School
  • Teaching English and Hygeine lessons in Schools

and much more.

In 2011 Chennai Challenge pledged to provide funds towards the rebuilding of a section of YMCA Fort Higher Secondary School. The school has been in desperate need of redevelopment for many years and caters for over a thousand children from local slum communities. During our visit in August 2011 we saw how devastating the rainy season can be as one block of 6 classrooms was filled with over a foot of water. It is our hope that this project will allow school children to be able to continue their studies throughout the rainy season. In 2012 we saw work begin and are excited by the prospects for the new school building with 8 brand new classrooms.