Jan 17, 2018

Flood relief support at Amman Maiyam home

Children from Arun Home
Children from Arun Home

The Chennai floods in 2015 was harsh, bringing life for many to a standstill. During this time of distress, Bhumi visited many shelter homes (orphanages) to identify areas where relief support was imperative. Amman Maiyam was one among the many homes that Bhumi supported. A shelter home at Chetpet in Chennai, it takes care of 62 girl children and is one of Bhumi's Ignite education centres.

The home is located in the vicinity of the Adyar river and the condition of the said home was horrifying. They had neither power supply nor network on their mobile phones, making them handicapped with respect to connecting with the outside world to seek help. Bhumi Ignite volunteers, who take weekly classes at the home, managed to supply bread packets and necessary toiletries without any hestitation. These items were channelized from Bhumi’s Flood Relief Centre. The home also provided shelter to children from another shelter home/orphanage for one day. The volunteers identified their needs and provided moral support through their compassionate conversations with children. 

Few days later the flood subsided, but not the pain. Books and uniforms of children were ruined; for these children who value education, the floods really flooded their eyes with tears.

Bhumi made a list of essentials for the healthy survival of children. The required electrical appliances, to be specific, food mixer, washing machine and refrigerator were offered. Household essentials like sleeping mats and ample provisions were given. Reflecting the importance of a healthy residence, especially after such prolonged flood, enough mosquito coils and toiletries were provided. Children were given necessary school utilities like uniforms and stationery.

Bhumi thanks each and every supporter for being the muscle and motivation for us to help so many at the right time, for helping in bringing back life at Amman Maiyam - gifting hope to the lives of 62 girl children and their caretakers.

Children with the washing machine provided to home
Children with the washing machine provided to home

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Nov 28, 2017

Cultivating creativity through Art and Crafts

A child’s curiosity with anything and everything around is exquisite. Opportunities must be provided to identify a child’s inclination, which is why educational institutions provide training in varied literary and creative fields. However, such opportunities are not available to millions of underprivileged children.

Almost all children have a liking for arts, and with good training it could serve as an essential lifeskill for the interested minds. Besides, the importance of arts and crafts for cerebral growth is irrefutable. Bhumi’s volunteers of ‘Artoons’ (a module, under Ignite, for visual arts and creative crafts) are on a journey to provide less-fortunate children an opportunity to taste this joy of working with body, mind and soul.

'Artoons' conducted painting workshops at several shelter homes in Chennai recently. Children were encouraged to dive and dwell in the shimmering ocean of imagination. Each workshop focussed on introducing children to a different facet of drawing, painting and creative crafts. Techniques for shading, adding drama with dimension, incorporating colours, and drawing eye catching patterns were taught to the children.

The workshops, aimed to benefit children, covered Doodle, Manga, Zentangle Mandala and Cubism. For instance, Zentangle, which involves a lot of intricate designs, helps children inculcate patience and develop a feeling of relaxed focus, more like meditation. Creative craft sessions were also conducted at few homes. Children converted pieces of paper into beautiful artefacts. The sessions included kirigami (paper art – a variation of origami), making windchimes, caterpillar, quilling, envelop making, bookmarks and greeting cards. In all these sessions, most of the children did well as trained.

“It was the first time I taught drawing to kids. I did not know what Cubism was a month ago, and spent half a day to practise this art. The interest in me (to teach kids and in the subject itself) and the support from my co-volunteer Sudha (Project Coordinator - Artoons) drove me to make this happen” says a volunteer, Ms. Gayathri. 

Our volunteers experienced warm fuzzies from some feedback on the session: “The children who attended the sessions found it rather engrossing, some of them practicing drawing sketches of animals as they were specially interested in the session on Animation … Participating in such workshops inculcates love for drawing and painting and we expect some of our girls to pursue these interests and become good artists in future” says Mrs. Rajini Devi K, Joint Secretary – Kalaiselvi Karunalaya Social Welfare Society.

A total of ten workshops were conducted over the past three months (from Aug 2017) and more is being planned for the weekends to come. Over 500 children have benefitted from these workshops. The goal is for all children to get the exposure, and to provide a life skill for those who wish to pursue a career in the field of creative arts. Moreover, these workshops add a memorable moment to their childhood, just like the memories we carry from our school days.

“This is the first time I am learning to draw. I am very happy and excited. In our first session, we were encouraged to draw anything we could imagine. Then we were taught to draw camel, tortoise and much more. I would keep drawing if I get the chance.”, Dhinakar*, a primary class student, shares his thoughts with a broad smile.

“… A volunteer approached me and said she could help me develop skill in drawing. I did not believe it in the beginning. But after the sessions, I am now confident and delighted that I have a new skill ... This drawing skill will also help me in my diploma as I am planning to take up Mechanical or Automobile engineering” says Vetrimaran*, a class 12 student from Seva* Home.

*Names of children have been changed.
Oct 19, 2017

Hope renewed at Home of Hope in Thirunindravur

Construction of pillar support for walls
Construction of pillar support for walls

The heavy floods that affected Chennai in December 2015 stays afresh even now in the minds of those who witnessed the dreadful event. To mitigate the impact, Bhumi had provided necessary support through the distribution of household utilities and other survival essentials to the affected. Bhumi had also carried out various rehabilitation activities to help areas around Chennai in recovering from the tremendous damage and loss to infrastructure. Volunteers analysed the condition of various schools, shelter homes and orphanages in these areas, and understood the on-ground reality from the local residents. Thereafter, restoration work started where such help was indispensable.

Home of Hope, in Thirunindravur (on the outskirts of Chennai) for 32 children, was one of the badly affected shelter homes. Bhumi, identifying the need, stepped up immediately to provide school uniforms, school utilities like books and school bags. Desktops were also installed in the home.

However, the home had a much bigger problem. The condition of the boys hostel needed immediate renovation. The walls were damaged, and required to be strengthened before being plastered.

Considering the mandate as per the Juvenile Justice Act for the Care & Protection of children, Bhumi started renovating the building. Pillar support for walls were provided. Walls were plastered and painted. The roof was reconstructed; and in no time, the boys hostel was restored and the surroundings were beautified. Library, dormitory and the warden's room were also constructed.

Although there's little control over natural disasters, we can certainly ensure reducing the impact by providing proper insfrastructure to the needy. This renovation was more than giving shelter to children; a drop in the ocean of measures to achieve the Global Goal of poverty reduction and the UNISDR's goal of reducing number of disaster affected people through the construction of stronger abodes. 

More building area for various rooms
More building area for various rooms
Hope of hope after renovation
Hope of hope after renovation
 
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