Village Name: Vayalur
The Vayalurian Journey continued with the same excitement as last year. This year was different as we not only had our friends from PGPM (Batch of 2014) and PGDM (Batch of 2012-14), but also the new PGDM (Batch of 2013-15).The Vayalur team had increased in strength considerably. The year overall was a great success owing to events like Cricket Tournament, Rangoli Competition, Teachers Day Celebration, Drawing Competition and most importantly, the Medical Camp for the people of Vayalur.
Our first event in the village was the Rangoli competition. People participated in great numbers and created innovative and beautiful rangolis. This gave us a chance to interact with more people and tell them about the purpose of our visits to the village every week. This was soon followed by a cricket competition. All children love the game of cricket and the competition was well greeted by them. Meanwhile as these competitions were conducted and planned, our endeavour towards improving education continued.
This year we approached a part of village- ‘Chinna Colony’, which had never been visited by Great Lakes earlier. This part of the village constituted of the backward people who had always been ignored. We approached them, apprehensive if our visit would be well accepted. But to our surprise, people there were delighted and were willing to send their children to us to teach them. The excitement within the team increased as the responsibility increased. In the following weeks we divided ourselves into groups and one group was consistently focused on Chinna Colony.
Since the children were not familiar with English, we had to begin with the basics. Soon we realized the fact that teaching them and making them converse in English would be a daunting task and would take more than couple of months to accomplish. The children in this part of the village were eager to learn and observing their high spirits and keen learning skills, we decided to conduct a drawing competition. The competition was conducted in Vayalur School and children from all over the village were invited including the children from Chinna Colony. The main purpose of the competition was to bring out the creativity within these children. The competition was also supported by the school management, who really appreciated the fact that we conducted such competitions as it helped the children to take a break from their regular studies. We collected all the drawings and decided that we would distribute the prizes during the Teacher’s Day celebration in the school.
The event next in line was the Teacher’s Day celebration. Since it was a day meant for teachers we decided to gift teachers something made by their own students. We came up with the idea of bringing chart papers and sketch pens to school and asking the children to make something for their teachers. The students wrote messages in English and Tamil for their teachers and presented them. Some students had made wonderful drawings and wrote messages around them. Every student signed beneath their message as a token of gratefulness to their teachers. The children enjoyed the whole process and expressed their message in a wonderful manner to their teachers. The respect the teachers got from these children was a treat to watch. The children were literally fighting with other to get a chance to express their feelings. Overall the event gave us enough reasons to get close to the school management and the children.
When we visited school the very next week, the teachers asked us if we could teach the children English. We were more than happy to conduct English classes in school as well. We decided to take a small test in English vocabulary and English pronunciation, so that we could club the children of the same level and teach them according to their respective needs. Accordingly, three groups were formed. Majority of the children were in the group which needed the most grooming and teaching. The team formed a list and accordingly we taught the children at three different levels using three different teams for the next couple of weeks.
The most important event conducted this year in Vayalur was the Medical Camp. The medical camp was organized by Rotary Club of Chennai and Great Lakes Institute of Management. This event in itself was a huge task for all of us as it not only needed to be publicized among all parts of the village but also had to be coordinated across on a large scale. From planning the event location to arranging promotional pamphlets, all of it had to be done by the Vayalur Team. The Medical camp was planned on the 8th of December, and the publicity for it had to be started weeks before. The whole idea of a medical camp was to provide the villagers a free medical check-up. Doctors from Vasan Eye and Dental Care from Chennai were to travel to conduct the Medical Camp.
Initially, we went door to door and informally informed the villagers about the event. However, once our pamphlets were ready, the whole team divided itself into groups of 2-3 members and dispersed to every lane of the village. Few teams went to other side of the village- ‘Periyar’ side across the road and creating awareness about the camp. People in the village really needed this camp as they had a lot of health related problems. We still remember how villagers described to us their problems of low vision and sensitive teeth that troubled them. Finally after lot of effort, the day arrived. People turned up in good numbers. The timings for the camp were from 9am to 1pm and the whole event was successfully carried out with people going back contentedly.
The whole Vayalur experience is an enriching experience to each one of us and we all feel satisfied in doing our bit every week towards society at Vayalur.