The 2014 team have now all returned to the UK, and so now is a good time to just recap on the projects that we have supported this year, and a little bit of the impact we have had. In order to get a visual idea of this project, Tamsin has made this short video:
We ran a number of sessions at the Kottivakkum destitute home which currently houses 59 destitute Boys. During the sessions we sang songs, played games and did various craft activities. We took all of the Boys on a four day activity holiday to Yellagiri Hills. We were also fortunate to see some of the Boys town alumni, who were in a variety of further education or work. We visited Fort school and committed to varnish the 100 benches we had previously donated.
Financially we supported:
New beds (27) (approx. £1000) Yelagiri Hills Holiday (approx. £2000)
School books (approx. £200) Musical Instruments (approx. £90)
Sports equipment (approx. £90) Medicine (approx. £50)
Final meal (approx. £170) School computer (approx. £330)
Bench upkeep (approx. £500)
We have also pledged to build and equip a combined basketball and badminton court at the destitute home, at a currently unknown cost.
We also worked with community centres run by the YMCA. At Tondiarpet we committed to repairing and renewing the gate outside and funding two night school teachers for a year. We have also committed to major renovation work to Sathumanagar Community centre, which will strengthen the walls, raise the level of the floor by approximately 3 feet, and the level of the ceiling as well.
New gate (approx. £150) Teachers salary (approx. £720)
Renovation work (approx. £3000)
We ran three sessions at Blue Edge – a six month course teaching 18-30 year olds English and computer skills, which made us all too aware of our own failings in speaking English! We also ran after school programs, trying to combine craft, fun and learning! As well as these we also painted a meeting room in the Basin Bridge community centre.
Painting (approx. £70)
The wider impact
While we can measure some of the work we have done in terms of money, it does not always tell the full story. The impact that is felt can not always be put in to numbers. At the end of our Yellagiri Holiday the Boys from Kottivakkum destitute home had written us a poem, here is a short extract:
If God had given me power and popularity I would have carved a statue for each of you in Marina Beach … but we have carved your statues in each of our hearts.
The words of thanks had a powerful effect on our team and show how much our small efforts can mean to the people we visit.
As well as thanks from current residents of the destitute home, we did see a number of boys who have left. It was pleasing to see them and to hear how they were studying or working. They all seemed to remember fondly their time at the YMCA, with real sentiments that it was a positively life changing time for them. One or two mentioned how they missed life in the hostel and the community that they had. They particularly mentioned our visits as a highlight. One of the ‘old boys’ made a video following our visit, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to link it form Facebook.
I hope you now have a little bit of an insight in to the good things that Chennai Challenge has achieved.