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Part IV: Dr. Giri's Visit to Tsunami Victims in Tarangambadi

TARANGAMBADI – 23/02/2005

Before visiting the village itself, we met the head of the self help group, Renuka at Poraiyar who took us [as per prior telecon] to see some houses which we could convert into a home for women in difficult circumstances. Renuka had brought along with her the register of membership with photographs and addresses of Gangai Shakti members. Renuka is a good worker and shows a lot of potential for leadership. After visiting some potential homes we went to meet the dynamic Mrs Saraswati Vetrivel, the head of the special village panchayat. She immediately showed us two more houses and we liked the spacious house of Mr & Mrs Jayaram at Poraiyar.

The house is ideal for running our home, but needs massive resurrection. Keeping this in mind, we moved on to meet Tsunami affected villages at Tarangampadi. Most women of Gangai Shakti needed assurance regarding their membership and wanted a vocational training centre immediately.

We offered the same courses and facilities which we had at Palayar like beautician course, Embroidery & tailoring etc. & computer

Men were sitting listless and it is important that they be given livelihood boats as soon as possible. After having a very good interaction with the women for nearly two hours we went to St Theresa’s school where we met 600 orphan girls. Jigyasa and Pratibha conducted an audio learning activity with the children of class V. As always it was a great success with the kids and it felt good to leave them with happy smiles.

On the other hand, Mr Rajkumar and Mr Ganeshan arrived. Mrs Giri appraised him of the houses and he immediately contacted the owner Mr Jayaram and fixed it up for us at Rs 3500 per month as rent. An advance of Rs 1000 was given. We went to the premises once more and although found the premises very suitable, we still felt it would require atlest 5-6 lakhs to make the building liveable and the boundary wall had to be built for security reasons

Our entire group had a meeting on the feasibility. In the mean time Renuka identified a smaller house in Tarangampadi belonging to Mr & Mrs Ali. We went to see it and we decided to initially start our work in that house which would serve as a day vocational training centre. We requested Mr RajKumar to help us procure 6 sewing machines and 2 computers. We paid an advance of Rs 5000 as 5 months rent to Mrs Ali [receipt yet to be obtained]

We asked Renuka to take charge of the building and we had already identified a sewing teacher among the self help group to appoint her as a teacher. This is just the beginning. We will slowly and surely move towards empowering a greater member of women. We were very happy to have met Saraswati, Sister Mary and Mr Rajkumar who were of tremendous help and support to us. We gave Rs 3000 to Renuka for expenses towards registration of the self help group etc.

Overall, although the problems are many, we felt that the women are less traumatized now and ready to learn to find other means of supporting themselves and their families.

Future plans:

  1. Appoint an MSW to look after both the projects-Palayar and Tarangampadi
  2. Make as many women as possible economically independent
  3. Teach English lessons to as many as possible
  4. Collect folk songs and lullabys from the local women
  5. Take indigenous recipes of food items to market some spices which they would make and pack.


Report of Tsunami Relief Work at Nagapattinam
Part II: Dr. Giri's Second Visit to Tsunami Affected Areas
Part III: Dr. Giri's Third Trip to Help Tsnami Victims

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