Care taker with a number of children from the Cuddalore slums
The slums in Cuddalore O.T. : some 1000 families live under deplorable circumstances with open gutters, giving rise to various intestinal diseases, a high unemployment rate, omnipresent alcohol misuse and a high crime rate and domestic violence that go with it. Children – especially the younger ones – and women are the victims: malnutrition, school drop out-ism and lack of awareness in the field of education, hygiene, legal rights and work opportunities.
AMAIDI Foundation, the offshoot of AMAIDI Volunteering in India, wanted to do something about this. Being near to Cuddalore and knowing the local situation very well, AMAIDI Foundation started in May 2009 using the unused ground floor of a community building in Cuddalore O.T., at the backside of St. Philomena School (for girls) at Pensioner Line’s Street. The first floor is in use as accommodation for volunteers (especially in January when teacher trainees flock Old Town for a traineeship in St. Davids Matriculation School nearby).
Lisanne, the first volunteer to work with the starters’ group of 15 children and a warden, was so touched by the work, that she decided to give the AMAIDI Child Care Center, as it was being called, a colourful face-lift. With merry colours and picto’s on the wall, inside as well as outside, and a lot of games and toys plus some tables and chairs, she transformed the center into a safe haven and heaven for the children and their care taker. With only one toilet for all the children and staff, the need to build an additional sanitary facility was badly felt. A proposal to get subsidy for such a toilet – a drawing has already been made – has been sent off. It will be a so called ‘Ecosan’ toilet: ecofriendly in the sense that the faeces will be kept away from the soil in a sealed container above the ground to ferment into compost after a while. When we manage to create a small ‘kitchengarden’ with veggies and other edible plants, the compost will come in handy. And the natural circle is closed, a perfect example of how you can preserve our nature and resources in a small but effective way.
Lisanne is now – together with her mum, Machteld and Corine, all from the Netherlands – actively fund raising to enhance the quality of the service given to children and parents in the ACCC. ‘Femmes d’Europe’ is one of the donor organizations they’re contacting for a subsidy to supply more play material, better nutrition and a better infrastructure. Wherevertheneed UK through the help of Bless in Cuddalore are also sought to help financially and materially. In the future local shop- and restaurant owners as well as traders will be asked for a contribution to this newest of the private child care centers in Cuddalore.
At present the ACCC is open on weekdays from 8.30-12.30. Around 10 the children – numbering 15 at present – get a healthy snack and at noon a healthy lunch. Something they had to fore go when they were still at home with their (impoverished) mothers.
AMAIDI Child Care Center in Cuddalore O.T. wants to create a replicable model for other slum areas in Tamil Nadu and Puduchderry.
For more information, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Camille van Neer
Lisanne, first volunteer and sponsor, at the entrance of ACCC
Filed under: Bless, charity, Uncategorized, volunteering in India, community, Cuddalore O.T. Child Care Center, slums, volunteering