Sunday, June 25, 2006

I have started

I was a software enginner. Now, I am into social work. This blog is meant to be a place where my friends can keep track of what I am doing in social work. I work with an NGO called AID (Association for India's development) It has been almost a month, since I joined AID.

I am working on a project called "Padippum Inikkum" (which is Tamil for "Learning will also be enjoyable". This project was thought of when the results of a survey showed that about 50% of children in govt primary schools in Tamil Nadu in classes 3-5 are not able to read Tamil. Tamil being the medium of instruction and the language in which they read other subjects like science, maths, history etc, this affects their schooling badly. So AID has developed a training module along with a kit, which if implemented daily for one hour for four months, will greatly improve the kids' reading skills. This program will be implemented in 30 districts in Tamil Nadu. The first phase will be in 5 districts (Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Vellore, Krishnagiri and Thiruvannamalai). The second phase will cover 10 districts and the third phase will be in 15 districts. The first phase will cover around 6500 schools. I am part of the coordination team based in Chennai. Such a large scale is possible because Tamil Nadu government is taking this up and implementing it. AID will act as resource group. In this project other NGOs like TNSF are also involved.

In this NGO, along with the project that I am in, I can also work on something I personally am very passionate about and so I have been asked to think of something and come up with a plan. I would like to work on RTI (Right to Information act) and slowly try to form a knowledge bank, which will help people know whom they should approach in the government if a they have a particular problem, or want to find some particular info in a department, or to find out how the councillor allocated projects and to whom etc. Since this might be confrontational, I am also considerning the option of working on solar power based cookers in rural areas, thereby reducing their usage of firewood. This prevents pollution that happens due to burning firewood, prevents cutting down of trees and helps people avoid walking long distances to collect firewood. Growing bio-fuel trees like Pongamia, which provides us fuel and helps enviroment since trees are grown, can also be done simultaneously. So far people have been cutting down trees for fuel, but now on they will grow trees for fuel. If that happens, it will be a wonderful change. Let me see how this works out.

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