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A New Beginning - Chennai Chimes this weekViews: 930
Jul 27, 2007 3:48 amA New Beginning - Chennai Chimes this week#

Untitled Document

Vol11  Week2, July 27th - Aug 2nd, 2007


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A New Beginning
Social Contribution

Pongal celebrations at Pudiyador

A little child, about 10 yrs old, scurried under a car with a welding torch at a time when he must have been playing with his friends is not a very uncommon sight in our streets. Being disturbed at seeing this child, moved by this sight, Manickam acting upon it is what makes the entire incident significant.

Manickam Narayanan, who lived in USA was on a vacation to India and chanced to see this young child when his car broke down on the road. He shared the incident with his father and Narayanan, a retired Tamil Professor started ‘Pudiyador’ and Manickam has been the back bone to this concept born in 2001. 

Manickam and his father reached out to a bunch of the poorest children from a slum near their house in Ramapuram, provided them access to the same kind of childhood that you or me has had. They got them together, provided them with food, exposed them to extra-curricular activities like music, dance, yoga, karate, sports etc. This basically kept them off the streets and out of trouble, away from their drunken fathers and other elements that wielded a negative influence on their lives. What started off as a little gathering in their backyard with 5 children in their garage in 2001, has now grown into an organization that supports more than 150 children at three centers in Chennai.

Yoga class at Pudiyador

A bunch of students from Crescent Engineering College visited Pudiyador, Ramapuram, got inspired by the concept and decided to start one on their own right next to their college. So, in 2005, these students Nithya, Aravind, Vinod, Ramana and others got together and with some initial help from Narayanan and Manickam started a Pudiyador at Urappakkam. They pledged a percentage of their 'future' paychecks to run this center! Sabana Yasmin is the coordinator at this center and makes sure everything is running as per the vision and gives a definite direction to the volunteers.

Urappakkam is a village on the GST Road, a little after Vandalur. People here have limited access to basic amenities like water, electricity etc! They have just one bathroom/toilet for many houses together and even those are not properly constructed. Parents barely have enough money to feed their children three square meals a day and when faced with such adversities, they don’t even think about education or the little things that make a child happy.

But now, the transformation in the children of the village is visible. The children have started going to the local school, come to a common area every evening, finish their homework, and then study further, or practise their singing, dancing, arts or crafts. The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram conducts regular yoga sessions for both the children and the parents. Children learn carnatic music and some learn to dance. They are getting trained in theater. On weekends they are given breakfast before starting off their various activities of the day. The children also do much better in school due to the constant attention and importance given to education and there is even one child in 9th standard who wants to pursue medicine.

'Sidharthan' a dance drama enacted by Pudiyador children

Not stopping here, Manickam motivated some youngsters at Ann Arbor, USA, where he lives now. He is in regular contact with many students of that University and so he told them about Pudiyador, functioning back in India. A small group slowly formed there in the last one year. They meet up every weekend and talk about what is going on at the different Pudiyador centers, plan for the future, discuss the challenges faced by the children and their parents in the community, spread awareness in the Indian community in Michigan etc. One such student, Swapnaa Jayaraman, on her last visit to India started a new Pudiyador in an underprivileged community in Besant Nagar. Thus the third Pudiyador center at Vannandurai was established in June, 2007.

Pudiyador functions with a core team of around 10 people which includes Manickam, Prof. Narayanan, alumni from Crescent Engineering College and students from the University of Michigan. This closely knit group runs these centers with help from a large network of student volunteers from different colleges.

We feel that this is a replicable and sustainable model for Pudiyador. In communities that need help, the students and alumni from a college nearby can establish a Pudiyador, the students form the volunteer network and the alumni to take care of the funding. We are looking forward to working with more colleges and students who are willing to take up the initiative to establish new Pudiyadors.

For our current centers, we are looking for volunteers and funding to support our activities. There is a lot being done at these Pudiyadors, but more importantly, there is a lot more that can be done, with help from people, both in terms of their time and resources. We realize that what might just be a passing thought to you, to help someone in need, is a boon for the child in need. We are very confident that we are building a better future by introducing ‘Pudiyador – a new beginning’ to the lives of the under-privileged children of this country.

Report by Pudiyador

Contact Details
Telephone numbers 99400 23940, 99400 33940, 93811 71028
Visit www.pudiyador.org

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Light House
Vintage Chennai

Lighthouse is a visual aid to navigation and is a conspicuous structure on land, close to the shore line or in the water. By day, it may be identified by its shape and color. Generally, it is provided with a powerful light. A Lighthouse may be used indicate dangerous shoals, sand, bank, rock etc. It is useful to obtain a line of position and to indicate landfalls, headlands and entrance to estuaries/ports, etc. The history of the Lighthouse at Chennai dates back to 1795.  Read More.. 

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Private Reply to Athmalaya

Jul 28, 2007 7:53 pmre: A New Beginning - Chennai Chimes this week#

Bharath Cola

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