Brace for Impact

Brace for Impact

September 2, 2011 Post Project 4

It’s now September and all of this year’s Chennai Challenge team have returned to England. By now a plethora of pictures have been added to Facebook by team members, and soon there will be more pictures here on the website soon. This does not mean that things are over, or that the impact of Chennai Challenge has stopped.

So a few things that Chennai Challenge has made an impact with this year:

At YMCA  Boys Town Kottivakkum we have Provided

  • New mattresses for all of the Boys
  • School exercise books for all the boys
  • Medicines for the year
  • Pumps and pipe work for the septic tanks
  • A computer room, so that the Boys can get computer lessons from Bhumi
  • Funds to allow a drainage pipe line to be installed
  • A gift for each boy of a wash kit and pencil case

The work on the drainage has yet to start, but once completed we hope that this will bring an end to the flooding problems at Kottivakkum. This will connect in with the main sewers, and so is not causing a problem else where.

As well as this we took all the Boys away to Yellagiri Hills and shared a special meal with them at the end of time in India.

We have also pledged to donate 10 Lakh (1,000,000) Rupees (around £13,000) towards a rebuilding project at YMCA Fort School. This will be given as soon as the plans have been approved and all relevant permissions granted. This is about half the cost of the project, work will not start until January at the earliest due to the monsoon season that is about to start.

For Oasis we have donated money so that they may continue to run and serve people in Chennai. Our £3000 donation will help to keep paying staff and allow them to continue the work.

So our impact will be felt further through out the year, in a way in which you can see and touch.  You could go and see the exercise books and mattresses. Soon you will be able to see a new building a Fort School. These physical things will stay. But our impact is bigger than that. Our impact was made before we made any of those donations. To all the people we went to see we made an impact just by making that journey. The Boys at Kottivakkum, the students at Blue Edge and the Government School in B.V Colony were all thankful and excited that people had traveled from the UK to spend time with them. It has the impact that it makes them feel special. The staff at Oasis and YMCA  have us come and tell them how amazing it is that they are working in these places everyday, and they are encouraged. All the people we know in Chennai have the impact of seeing friends and growing in relationships.

Now all of this is great, but it does not tell the whole story at all. There will have been an impact on all of the team this year from the time they spent in India. For some it could be big and life changing,  for others it maybe more subtle, and some won’t realize the impact until later on. So I would now like to invite any one who has ever been to India, especially those who have been with Chennai Challenge, to comment below and say how this experience impacted on you.

Don’t be shy




4 Responses

  1. yemmakelly says:

    Thanks for the blog Rob, although an easier question would have helped… you know like favourite experience, biggest challenge etc. Wow, first comment – no pressure then!
    For me personally this year, it is the growing relationships with the people we meet in Chennai through all the different programmes. The main impact on me was the children at BV colony school remembering us from last year! It was that penny dropping moment that just reminded me how important our job was here in Chennai and actually the huge impact we have on them and their lives! Just imagine their thoughts ‘These people have travelled 10 hours on a plane from England just for us! -Who does that?!’
    I love the fact with Chennai Challenge we actually ACT and not just sit back and talk about it! Unless your putting your ideas/words into action here a waste of space!
    James 2 V14-26

  2. Isaac Jones says:

    my first visit to chennai was with guildford ymca in 2002. for me the impact on my life has been huge. if you’d told me then that i would be running chennai challenge with rob and cathy and helping to lead teams out to chennai every year, i don’t think i would have believed you! it is an incredible honour to witness the impact the project has on the lives of both chennai challenge team members, and the people we work with in india.

  3. susiekelly says:

    Great question. Last year I came back from India and the one thing that people commented on was the huge smile I had when I talked to people about the experience. We go out with the expectations of giving so much of ourselves, little did I know how much I would get back both last year and this year. The people we come across from the organisations and those in the slums and at Kottivakkum have so much excitement when we come. It is infectious and the smiles they radiate can be quite catching! It is great to sit with the boys and learn about their lives and hear their stories, finding out where they have come from. It is also great to be challenged in new areas. This year I was anxious about the English lessons but really enjoyed it. There was one girl who I really got talking to and again it was great to be a part of something that will change her life. I’m always told by the boys when we leave that they won’t forget us and I can believe it as they will live on in my memories because the experience has changed my life as much as we have theirs.

  4. How does India impact on your life? This has been my 4th trip to India, India gets under your skin and makes you feel good. There is nothing like it. My main reason for going to Chennai in the first place was to give something back to the place that fascinates, intrigues, and gives so much to me. Four years on I am still of that opinion, especially now that I have met people time and time again and built up relationships with people. My favourite place is Fort School, I am also in something approaching awe for the headmistress of Fort. The work that her and her staff do is amazing, and thoroughly deserving of the new building.
    Everything i have done this year has a slight tinge of sadness, as we won’t be returning for a little while. One day we will go back. By then of course i hope Fort will have been completely rebuilt, so i will be continuing fund-raising!

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