This was my second trip to Trichy, though this time it was only for a couple of hours. Trichy, is one of the important cities of Tamil Nadu, with both commercial and tourist interest. It is the home to two popular sites… The Ranganathaswamy Temple and the Rockfort Temple…both architectural marvels. But on this trip, my agenda was different. It was a not for profit institution that I was interested in…and a two-hour drive from Madurai, got me to its doorstep!
Trichy is also known for its quarries and thus, there is a big population of labourers, who toil day and night, to make a meager living. The parents, who work for a daily wage, have no other option but to carry their children to the quarries, where they are exposed to heat, malnutrition as well as ill-health. Most, if not all, of these children take up to stone crushing as well. to earn that extra Rupee for the family. Trichy Ladies Circle 33, decided to take this up as project and improve their way of life. With the assistance of Ladies Circle International, the ladies of Trichy formed the “Trichy Ladies Circle Foundation”, to take care of the financial and administrative aspects of the project.
In 1996, the project started with a small community welfare center in Kuttimalai, called “Samooga Nala Koodam (SNK), and soon the Foundation stone was laid in 1997. Till date, TLC33 has built 2 spacious classrooms to provide primary education to the children with a vast area outdoors with play equipment for outdoor games as well as educational toys for indoor entertainment. They have also built toilet blocks to inculcate hygiene habits to the children, and hold adult literacy classes and awareness programs, so that the parents can provide for a better future for their children.
The center provides overall development to the children of the quarry workers by the way of elementary education, healthcare as well as nutritious food. At present, the center has 60 children on their roll.
My hosts for the day were Tr.Senthil, Tr.Nilesh and Cr.Kaveri…passionate social workers! After a brief lunch at Hotel Sangam, they took me to another school, which is jointly supported by Round Table and Ladies Circle. Since 2004, Round Table and Ladies Circle has supported the Kalaipalli Middle School and through both Government and private funding. In 2004, they inaugurated the first block of 4 classrooms and then in 2008, the second block. The school, today, has approximately 450 students! The icing on the cake was when the school was awarded as one of the best Government Schools in Tamil Nadu in 2009-10. To mark this day, all the students were given uniforms by Round Table and Ladies Circle.
Believe it or not…the school had completely shut down in the early 2000, due to a major fire.
It takes time and commitment to achieve these targets, and I was glad to meet a bunch of dedicated individuals to were working towards a better living for many people. The readers are always welcomed to see these projects live.