Aug 2015 – Initiated CHCD
- 2017 – Child Friendly Chemmenchery
- 2018 – Assure Our Girls Future
- 2019 – Women Safer Chemmenchery
- 2020 – Gender Empowered Chemmenchery
- We see urban, pucca houses in concrete, so shelter is not a problem, right?
- We see few government schools there, so education is not a problem, right?
- A lot of new opportunities are being created daily in this IT hub, so there’ll be some good jobs, right?
Anyone who has visited the Chemmenchery Housing Board area will definitely ask us these questions. And we will not blame them, for these are some serious questions!!These are few of the questions that we also had when we first visited this place. To know more and understand better about this, we will share some information -Chemmenchery is a resettlement area for around 25000 slum dwellers and Tsunami affected people. Having been relocated far away from their native place, most of them have lost their traditional means of livelihood. To have continued in fishing these people would have to travel for around 4 hours daily and spent around 50 rupees for travel alone. The cost and time has been a strong deterrent for the people here to continue with fishing and related occupations, that had also given them a sense of ownership and dignity, as both men and women were small scale entrepreneurs in fishing business. The current opportunities of working as house maids and other physical labour intensive work, though present is not so dignified and are not regular. This has caused many to not work at all and indulge in anti-social activities and substance abuse. The houses given to each family is a single-room building. This sharing of living space has given an unrestricted access to children to take part in and be exploited in the acts of substance abuse and sexual intercourse. This has also led to very high instances of alcohol/tobacco/drug addiction, sexual offences, etc.
By 2020, We are striving hard to create a model community of Chemmenchery where all the societal issues are eradicated through education and empowering campaigns and programs on a sustained basis. Through an educational survey we ascertained the amount of intervention required in the community. In 2016 we started something called as a street classes, where Volunteers would gather a group of kids playing, sit in front of their houses and help them with basic arithmetic and reading skills.
With the support of more number of Volunteers, we renovated 5 ICCW creches. With the new activity centres and fresh set of volunteers, the street classes evolved into educate2empower initiative, where apart from the basic education kids of std 3-8 (juniors) were introduced to general awareness through videos, moral stories, thirukural explanations, profiles of leaders and native achievers, general knowledge & brain storming sessions and more importantly activity based learning sessions, on all the Saturdays.
Parallely sessions were conducted for the students of classes 10 and 12 the (seniors) to help them with the preparation for board exams and for housewives and college students (women) to help them with spoken English and the basics to teach their kids, on all weekends.
Apart from these consistent activities, we have organised one off activities like Painting on walls of creches, schools emphasizing on importance of education, community walk emphasizing on a tobacco free Chemmenchery, torch run emphasizing on child friendly Chemmenchery – encouraging participation from the community, slum clearance board, police department and stake holders.
Through Annual Events like Dreams of Chemmenchery, we gave an opportunity to 600 kids to express their dreams through drawing, convey the same to their parents with a commitment to support the same. Thiranmigu Chemmenchery, a talent festival where around 1300 kids from the Chemmenchery middle school participated, their talents were captured and showcased to community. Arivai virivu sei, a 9 day dream summer camp conducted with an idea of providing an exposure to life skills like yoga, self defense, sexual abuse awareness, sports like chess, volleyball, football other skills like art from waste, dance, music, etc totally fun filled and free of cost.
We strongly believe “Every child is gifted, they just unwrap their packages at different times“. Through our initiatives, we strive to make Chemmenchery a gender empowered and child friendly community by 2020. Come join us, be part of this transformation journey…