What do you see in the above picture? Bright faces, beautiful eyes, filled with joy , hope and DREAMS?
Faces that say “I am the future of this world?”
Eyes that crave for knowledge and education?
Smiles with not a care in the world ?
They are also children of parents who do not have stable jobs, who live in an area prone to violence against women and children, child trafficking, child abuse & child labor.
Young boys and girls who grow up watching their drunkard dads yelling at their mom, quarreling parents and neighbors. An environment that is far from making them feel secure and that dares them to hope or dream.
Where are they?
They are the kids of Chemmenchery. Chemmenchery is a resettlement area for slum dwellers and Tsunami affected people in Chennai. It was constructed by Tamil Nadu slum clearance board and is situated 30 kms away from the Chennai City. The inhabitants are people relocated from the coastal areas and comprises over 6700 families with around 25000 inhabitants. After relocation the inhabitants need to be provided with basic facilities like education, employment, healthcare, recreation and sanitation. The distance from the city being so great coupled with poor transportation facilities has caused most of the inhabitants to lose their traditional means of livelihood. Read more about Chemmenchery here..
Who are AWARE?
AWARE is a social media group that primarily works for Child and Women Empowerment through Gender Equality. Established on Facebook in 2013, we have done online campaigns on Child and Women – Rights, Safety and Protection. Since March 2015, we are working in the communities offline through various initiatives on Life-skill Education and Livelihood Programs focusing on Community Children and Women.
Please check out and follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/awareIWSD/
Their work and its impact in Chemmenchery:
Holistic Community Development Project in Chemmenchery through intervention programs on
1. Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) Program – focused on early childhood and pre-school education
2. Educate to Empower (E2E) – to improve the reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of children between 6-14 years
3. Conversational English Classes for Community Women – to engage mothers in supporting children’s readiness for school as well as in developing a comprehensive understanding of what the child needs to develop and grow well.
4. Creating Child Friendly Spaces – to create an inclusive friendly spaces for the children in the community
We would like to propose this event to be carried out in Chemmenchery reaching out to each and every children in the community. We will be conducting ‘Dreams of Chemmenchery’ every week in every Chemmenchery Balwadis, Schools, Community Hubs where regular children root fall in always ensured.
We anticipate to cover 5000 children in the community to bring out their dreams. This event will run till 15th of October, Abdul Kalam’s Birth Anniversary in providing a chance for every children to let their dreams known to their parents and community.
What could you do?
Donate what you spend on a day’s coffee or lunch for these kids. Or please share the link and spread the word. Rs 500 or $10 would help the initiative help a child dare to dream. It will their parents confidence to help their child dare to dream. This is a small step towards a lifetime of change. Please donate/read the campaign story here: https://milaap.org/campaigns/feeding-the-dreams
A quick note about my connection: I have been involved with Sandhiyan, the founder of AWARE on various projects starting with the Chennai floods. A 25 year old who has dedicated all his time in empowering women and children. Who has adopted a community and does everything from painting rooms, to acquiring books , teaching children and now dreaming big to make the dreams of these children come true. One of the most modest and humblest human beings I have ever met.
Please do donate or spread the word. Thank you!