Asha for Education Logo IOI - International Ocean Institute (Anawim)
Tiruchendur, Thoothukkudi District
Photo of Children
completed - requirements ended
Project Steward
Tara Bhandari
tara DOT bhandari AT alumni DOT upenn DOT edu
Project Partner(s)
John Sekar
johnsekar AT sify DOT com
Project Address
Anawim Trust - 1/497, Shanthi Nagar
Veerapandianpattinam, Tirunelvelli Road,
Tiruchendur, Thoothukkudi District
TAMIL NADU  628 216
Tel: 4639-245122
Funds Disbursed
???2005Silicon Valley$1,056.00
Aug2004St. Louis$3,500.00
Jul2004Silicon Valley$1,000.00
Jul2004SingaporeINR 21,000.00
Dec2003St. Louis$1,000.00
???2003St. Louis$7,000.00
???2002Silicon Valley$3,000.00
???2001Silicon Valley$3,000.00
???2001Work an Hour$5,500.00
???2000Work an Hour$5,500.00

Total = $70,288.80

TOTAL: $70,288.80
Funding Details
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Project Description

Asha Junior Centers, dedicated to the education and all-round development of children, have been set up in 8 Dalit villages in the Tuticorin district – Ganesapuram, Kulashekarapattinam, Kurangantattu, Mangalwadi, Melatonipalem, Nathakulam, Thaneerpandal, and Valasubramaniapuram.

Dalits are members of a low caste in India (the “untouchables”), who have historically been subject to severe discrimination. In recent times, the treatment of Dalits has improved, but they still have limited opportunities and poor access to education. Dalit children in this district are generally first-generation learners, often have to walk many miles to attend government schools, and cannot afford the private tutoring classes that most other students attend.

The Asha Junior Centers, consisting of a small building with a teacher, books, toys, and other resources, are essentially supplementary education and enrichment centers that the children attend before and/or after school. However, they have provided so much value to the children’s and parents’ lives that they often become the focal point of the villages. The Asha Junior Center buildings themselves are constructed based on an innovative design by Lawrie Baker, which maximizes eco-friendliness while minimizing construction costs. The centers may have gardens tended by the students and provide nutritional supplements (e.g., spirulina, an edible and nutrient-rich algae considered a modern wonder-food).

The Asha Junior Centers also involve an innovative program intended to allow the project to eventually become self-sustaining.

Specifically, each Asha Junior Center is associated with a village women’s group, which is responsible for running the center and which meets regularly to discuss various topics. The women’s group, and the inter-village federation of women’s groups, provides women in the region with a platform to air their thoughts and concerns. To provide additional empowerment, Asha provides initial capital for a microcredit program which is run by the women’s group and allows the village women to take low-interest loans to fund their own enterprises. Income-generating activities that women in this area undertake include making and selling palm-leaf mats and coconut thatch, the retailing of soap and other consumer goods, opening small retail shops, selling snacks and other food items, etc. As the women pay interest on their loans and as new loans are made, the capital in the microcredit fund grows. It is expected that in about 3 years after the initiation of such a fund, the funds generated by this capital will be sufficient to fund the ongoing costs of the Asha Junior Center, allowing the center, in conjunction with the women’s group, to attain economic autonomy. In fact, 2 of the 8 centers that Asha has funded have already become self-sufficient.

Purpose / Goals

1) To provide the children with access to education and support in their educational endeavors

2) To provide these children with additional enrichment opportunities, including environmental awareness and conservation programs, cultural activities, and even computer courses

3) To empower women in the villages, help them to form a network (within a village and across villages), and give them to opportunity to engage in income-generating activities

4) To attain self-sustainability of the project via the microcredit program

5) To set up Asha Junior Centers in 40 Dalit villages in this region, to create a very visible “proof of concept” and serve as a model that others can replicate

Organization Description

The Anawim Trust (“Anawim”) has been working for the socio-economic development of Dalit villages in Tiruchendur Taluk of the Tuticorin District in Tamil Nadu since it was founded in 1994. Anawim began by setting up small tuition centers and providing loans to the women in these primarily coastal villages. Soon thereafter, one of the board members of Anawim, John Sekar, had a fortunate meeting with Prof. Rajagopalan of The International Ocean Institute (“IOI”). The two decided to collaborate and to take the project to the next level with the support and funding IOI could provide.

IOI, Operational Centre (India) (“IOI India”) at IIT Madras is a division of the Foundation for Sustainable Development. This foundation is a Trust set up in August 1998 by IIT Madras in partnership with the International Ocean Institute (“IOI”), Malta. IOI is a global NGO working to promote awareness, research, consultancy, training and education for the sustainable use of the oceans and the development of the poorer coastal communities. IOI India has been functioning at IIT Madras since 1993.

Anawim and IOI India have been working together for at least 5 years in 40 coastal villages. Initial funding for this “Eco-Villages Project” has come from GTZ of Germany, the Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE) and Child Relief and You (CRY).

Anawim implements the projects at the field level. It will continue to spearhead this effort with continued support and research information from IOI and Prof Rajagopalan. -

Project Type: Community Awareness Programs (description)

Primary Focus: to go to formal school (description)

Secondary Focus: creating resources

Area: Rural

Photo of Children
Jul 2005Tsunami rehab proposal details
Jul 2005Tsunami discussion FAQ
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Jul 2005Tsunami rehab proposal details
Jul 2005Tsunami discussions/ FAQ-1
Mar 2005Tsunami Relief Budget
Jan 2005Update on Impact of Tsunami
??? 2005Tsunami rehab budget details
??? 2005Tsunami relief budget
Nov 2004Ganeshpuram (Asha SV) site visit pictures (Sirisha)
Nov 2004Site Visit- Ganesapuram (Silicon Valley)
Aug 2004August 2004 report
Jun 2004Mangalwadi Photo Album
May 2004Mangalwadi May 2004 Accounts
May 2004Mangalwadi Telecon Minutes
Feb 20042002-2003 Annual report for Kulasekarapattinam(Berkeley)
Jan 2004Telecon minutes
Dec 2003Annual report for Thaneerpandal Village 2003
Jan 2003Kumar's Site Visit Report
??? 2003Progress Report
Sep 2002Progress Report
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Aug 2002Bhaskar Raman's Site Visit Report
Sep 2001Meeting Minutes
Jun 2001Budget Proposal
May 2001Progress Report
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Mar 2000budget
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