Kattupakkam Coaching Class for 10th Standard
Kattupakkam Government High School is the only school for five villages. 242 students are enrolled for grades 6 through 10. TNF, at the request of Kattupakkam village people and school administration, started a similar coaching program. The passing rate for both 2012 and 2013 academic years at Kattupakkam was 100%. The Elathur and Kattupakkam programs were funded by Mrs. Kavitha and Mr. Thukkaram.
Starting in 2013, Elathur and Kattupakkam have become part of second cluster in Vellore District for ABC Project and are now funded by Houston Convention funds and the TNF Chennai chapter.
Soft Skill Training Program
In Tamil Nadu, passing 10th grade is absolutely required to be employable. The future for those who have not passed 10th grade is pretty grim. Mrs. Andal Domodran, former chair of the board of trustees, urged TNF Chennai chapter to initiate a project to improve the 10th grade passing rate through a program to motivate students.
TNF center chapter tried to develop a two-day program for the high schools of Tamil Nadu that would be similar to the career guidance program TNF started at Engineering College, Guindy, Chennai. But the issues for high school students were very different. The high school program had to be affordable, and TNF needed to be able to take the program to schools. Also, TNF needed to convince the heads of the schools that the program would deliver what it promised since the students would be away from regular classes for two days.
At first, TNF was not very successful in developing the program to meet all the requirements. But when a discussion of the training came up at a board of trustees meeting held at project site, Ponneri Library, M.N. Reguraj, Trustee, offered a solution. He is president of Nettur Technical Training Foundation (NTTF), and he offered materials and trainers from the two-day soft skill training that were offered to all the students of NTTF Bangalore.
NTTF Bangalore is the biggest training center in South East Asia. NTTF has 23 Training Institutes throughout India, and annually trains about 8,000 students in various job skills. This training can be 3 months to 3 years. TNF accepted Mr. Reguraj’s offer. Under the informal agreement, NTTF provides two trainers and the training material. All the expenses related to training will be paid by TNF, including travel expenses, boarding and lodging as well as expenses at the training locations. The training would be brought to the students in their schools.
The two-day soft-skills program covers a number of specific areas on each day.
On the first day the following subjects are covered.
- Knowing the game – personal details, strengths and weaknesses
- Analysis of weaknesses – how to convert weakness into strength
- Concentration – listening, reading, understanding
- Memory improvement
- Presentation skill
And in the second day these following subjects are covered,
Thought for the day
Health and personal hygiene
Memory improving exercise
How to prepare for the examination and overcome fear
Career planning – different courses and job opportunities
As of May 2014, TNF has trained 1450 students in 33 schools in 7 districts. Fund availability at TNF center will determine the number schools the training will be offered. TNF has also started the process of “train the trainer program”, to eliminate the dependency on NTTF.
First Annual TNF Chennai Chapter Conference
A significant milestone was achieved in 2010. First annual TNF Chennai Chapter conference was conducted under the leadership of Dr. A.M. Swaminathan, Chairman, and was attended by more than 200 guests and representatives from other NGOs. Four speakers from government and four from non-governmental organizations addressed the gathering on the real issues in Tamil Nadu on Education, Women’s Empowerment, Health and Hygiene, and Rural development.
The ideas generated were essential in guiding TNF in identifying future-oriented projects that will strengthen the four pillars of TNF. TNF has conducted annual conferences ever since. These conferences elevate the stature of TNF among all other NGOs in Tamil Nadu.
he ABC project provides after school coaching to students lagging behind in class or academic performance. ABC originally stood for Academic Bridge Course. Based on three years of experience in conducting the ABC Project, the project has a new meaning. A stands for achieving grade level proficiency; B stands for building the morale: and C stands for championing higher aspirations. TNF launched the ABC project in eight schools in Sivaganga district. The project has transformed the schools, and the students, for better, in many ways.
Dr. Somasundaram, director of TNF along with Chennai executive director Mrs. ManmathaDevi, visited Kalanjiam project and reviewed the methodology and visited many schools in Sivaganga district. They had extensive discussions with education officials and community leaders in Sivaganga area, TNF Chennai chapter. They also reviewed the special coaching sessions conducted at Elathur and Kattupakkam schools. With input from TNF board USA, Dr.Somasundaram came up with a winner, the ABC Project.
Results show that students who are part of the ABC Project have become academically competent and on par with fellow classmates. Armed with this good information, TNF has launched a second cluster in Vellore, North Arcot district in five schools. The third cluster is slated for Cuddalore.
TNF ART GALLERY
Tamil Nadu foundation, working with Tamil Nadu Arts & Crafts Improvement Association, facilitated the opening of an art gallery for members of TACIA. The gallery is on one of the 2,000-square foot wings of the TNF center. There are ten of these wings, and one was leased to TACIA at a subsidized cost. The art gallery at TNF Center was inaugurated on November 21, 2013.
The idea of this art gallery could be traced back to 2009 when Mr. Thukkaram wanted to visit a public art gallery in Chennai. He had no luck finding one. Then he visited all the retail art galleries in Chennai. There were less than 10. Talking to the owners of retail galleries, he realized there was a need for public art gallery in order to promote art appreciation and create an environment for better career opportunities for the artisans of Tamil Nadu. With more successful artists, a public art gallery could be a reality, besides meeting another socio economic need.
In 2012, Mr. Thukkaram urged Mr. Sanjeevi to start a project to promote art in Chennai. Mr. Sanjeevi made it happen. He developed a plan after talking to many people in the art community. Dr. B.R. Annapillai founder and president of Tacia was very enthusiastic to have the art gallery at TNF center for the artists and for Chennai.
ounded in 1991 TACIA has more than 300 aspiring artists as members. TACIA has conducted Annual exhibitions, artist camps, competitions and seminars in major cities in India. However TACIA does not have a permanent place to exhibit the works of budding new artists.
Dr. Annapillai has said for the last 37 years TACIA has been promoting art in India without any financial assistance. Several of artist members of TACIA have gone on to win state and national awards. He often requests that the general public and companies buy their art works, and support the art community. He hoped someday, someone will acknowledge TACIA’s efforts and help launch TACIA to the global arena.
TACIA is the only non-profit organization in Tamil Nadu promoting art.
As of May 2014, eight art exhibitions, including two children’s exhibitions, have been held at the gallery. At a typical exhibition, 60 paintings were displayed and more than 500 visitors saw the paintings, which were all for sale.