Children’s clubs
IN ISOLATED RURAL AREAS IN TAMIL NADU

A children’s club is…

• A place where a child receives school support, with an innovative pedagogy differing from the very traditional Indian public education

• A place where a child is safe : where he/she can play and study without being disturbed, reconnect with his/her childhood, far from bad treatments or harmful influences

• A place for raising awareness : the child learns about hygiene, education and dangers in the street (violence, drug temptation, prostitution…) as well as how to fight them

• A free access to play activities : the child can gain self-confidence, self-esteem, learn how to respect rules, find his/her place (take a stand ?) within a group, express his/her difficulties and overcome them.

The goal

The objective of the project is the educational and psycho-social support for children through children’s clubs.

Beneficiaries

70 children, from 6 to 15 years old, registered in both children’s clubs

Background

The district of Villipuram is located in the State of Tamil Nadu in Southern India.

Both villages concerned by our project (Thudupakkam and Kappai), located in rural areas of Villipuram District, are quite isolated, owing to insufficient roads and means of transportation. In this remote area the lack of vital economic activity and of stable employment involves a great precarity for families. Existing jobs are mostly daily work, like construction workers or farm workers , if they don’t own lands.

Looking for a job often requires from the parents to go to the nearest big cities, leaving home for several days and children left to fend for themselves. Children live then with their grandparents, uncles and aunts or friends, but they don’t receive much consideration from them. They have to do household chores, odd jobs and indeed don’t have much time for their homework and even less for children’s activities. Under this precarious situation, children from rural groups are particularly vulnerable. In fact many of them meet difficulties of physical development : malnutrition, slow growth, lack of appropriate medical aid ; the economic background of families forces children to work since very young. As they have to take on adult responsibilities, they skip the necessary stages required for their development like play, carefreeness or socialization with their peers. The depreciation of their social background leads the children to behaviours of submissiveness and low self-esteem. It brings about discouragement which often involves a school dropout.

CDE’s role

Actions

• Transformation of evening classes into real children’s clubs
• Implementation of play sessions in children’s clubs
• Implementation of art and cultural activities within the children’s clubs
• Training of leaders for children’s clubs animation
• Diagnosis and psycho-social impact assessment of actions

Partner

Bargad, a young tamil orphan, was welcomed when very young in a centre for underprivileged children and thus could receive education and attention. In 2010 she created the Thamaraï Trust. With very limited funds. Thamaraï initiated evening school support classes for children from 2 remote villages in Villipuram district (Southern India). To-day Thamaraï is trying to convert those evening classes into real children’s clubs.

Situation
Villages in Tamil Nadu

Targeted population
100 underprivileged children, between 3 and 15 years old

Team
1 director and 4 teachers and leaders

Backers
Sponsors and private donors