July 28, 2006

Construction at Thulir

We are adding a new wing which will have a class room cum workshop for the
Basic Technology course, and a store room for the tools and materials that
would be used by them. The wing will also have an entrance lobby, where
additional classes can be held. The wing has been designed in such a way that
we now have a court in the middle that can be used for large gatherings [100
persons] and performances.

This has also provided an opportunity for our students to learn some
construction skills and some of the days in the past couple of weeks has been
spent working at site and in theory classes on basics of construction
materials and their properties.

Bee Keeping Workshop

On 11th and 12th July we held a 2 day workshop on Bee Keeping. Justin and
Rajendran, Staff from Keystone, an NGO specialising in beekeeping and honey
gathering activity in the Nilgiris, were the resourse persons. Apart from our
course students, 4 farmers from the villages around also participated. The
workshop generated a lot of enthusiasm amongst our students and we also
realised that given a rich forest area around us, there is a lot of scope for
serious Bee keeping and honey processing activity.

As a followup 4 of the students from the batch along with Anu and Sreyarth are
currently visiting Keystone's field Centre at Vazhathottam in the Nilgiris to
learn more practical skills in bee keeping.

More of their visit in the next post after they come back!

The First batch of Basic Technology course has joined Thulir!

June was a hectic month in Thulir. There was a phase of touring the nearby
villages and explaining what this new course on Basic Technologies is all
about and seeking applications from suitable candidates. Then we had the
applications coming in, in all 13 of them. We decided to keep size of the
first batch between 6 and 8 students, given our constraints of space,
materials and staff!!

After a day full of interviews and tests, we selected 7 students for the first
batch. Given the fact that most of them are already in the earning age group
[most boys at 14, who drop out of school, end up migrating to the city in
search of jobs], we decided to offer them a stipend of Rs. 500 a month to
take care of their personal expenses.

The course took off to a flying start as we had some major electrical wiring
and plumbing work on the third day of the course itself. A good electrician
had come from Chennai to do this work and so our students got a good
opportunity to learn the basics of electrical work.

This was followed by small electrical work at Thulir, at the hospital and at
staff homes. So the students got practise what they had learnt in real life
situations. They were also taught to take measurements, to keep track of
materials used, record these properly and to make bills! The course in its
second week has stated earning money!