Tour of Amapettai and Melaiyuur villages with Thiruporuur District Official

Amapettai Village Elementary School. On the right are VijayLakshmi Krishnan, Union Panchayat Leader and C. John Degler of SAVE-INTL

On November 1, 2010  “Sonny” S.V. Saravanan of TVO and I were invited to the office of the Union Panchayat Chairwomen of Thiruporuur District, Vijay Lakshmi Krishnan to accompany her on a tour of two middle schools in two of the 51 Panchayats(or Institutional Democratic Village Governments) under her jurisdiction, which includes over 51 Panchayats, or institutional grass level democratic village governmental units.

Riding in her District car from Tiruporuur towards Sembakkam and then right,  we were accompanied by several of her staff. Our first stop was the Nellikuppam Panchayat, Amapettai village. Here are a few photos of the Village’s defunct community center and the newly refurbished Vinayagar Temple, plus some typical housing.

Front view of the Amapettai Community Center
Side view of Amapettai Community Center

It is in imminent danger of collapse as the walls were originally made using clay- sand rather than cement.

Because of the danger posed by this structure it is slated for demolition but VijayLakshmi Krishnan conveyed the community’s desire that it be replaced and suggested that SAVE-INTL and its partner TVO might be able to design and construct a replacement building.  Presently the cost of a 25ft X 15 Ft (8m X 4.5m) building of reinforced concrete with a cement sheet roof is approximately $4500 – add a flat concrete roof with a stair access and it is $2000 more. Donors are invited to contribute to this future project.

Adjacent to the defunct community center is a temple to the God Ganepati sometimes known as Ganesh or Vinayakar.

Selva Vinayaker Temple of Amapettai Village

Note the contrast in the condition of the two structures.

After examining the damaged Community Center the entourage proceeded to the Amapettai Government Elementary School, passing some typical village housing


Typical housing found in Amapettai Village

At the elementary school we were surprised to be greeted by Mr. Ayappan, teacher in charge, who has “moonlighted” for TVO and SAVE-INTL as an after-school “Tuition” Teacher during the evening in nearby Mullipakkam Village.  Amapettai is very lucky to have Mr. Ayappan working for them as he is one of our best and most dedicated teachers with a strong flare and dedication for teaching basic spoken English.

We then proceeded to the adjacent Melaiyuur Panchayat Village School, grades 1-8, which lacks any toilet facilities for the 200 6-14 year old boys and girls who attend. SAVE-INTL intends to remedy this glaring lack later this year as we have at Amuur Village Public School, whose damaged toilet facility remodeling is currently  underway and progressing nicely.The original toilet facility, pictured below, was originally constructed with its septic tank on property owned by the Church of South India (CSI). When this error was discovered, the septic tank was demolished by the CSI, rendering the Melaiyuur School Toilet facility completely unusable. Presently the stalls are blocked with thornbushes (see photo below) and the structure is slated for demolition, as it is economically unfeasible to build an alternate septic tank.

Girls Attending the Melaiyuur Panchayat Public School
Girls Attending the Melaiyuur Panchayat Public School
Unusable Melaiyuur Public School Toilet Facilities
Unusable Melaiyuur Public School Toilet Facility

Karanai Village Community Center Remodeled

The completed Karanai Community Center Mandapam

Karanai Village has one of the first Community Centers that TVO and SAVE-INTL constructed, with groundbreaking on March 16, 2005,  and which is still in good condition and being used virtually on a daily basis. However it is only 20ft by 15ft in size, which is small even by Tamilnadu standards given the number of people and programs it is sometimes required to accommodate.

Rather than tear it down and rebuild, and unable at present to fund a new larger building in another location (see our Donor Wish List) we elected, with the agreement and cooperation of the President of the Karanai Village Panchayat, Ms. Gomatti Lakshmi, to construct a covered and floored but otherwise open addition to the front of the existing Community Center.

We called upon Mr.V.V.N Viswanathan, the contractor of the original building and who is himself from Karanai, to design and erect a permanent cover that would be directly attached to the building. With construction starting on about September 14th, 2010, work was essentially completed two week later and shortly after that the “Mandapam” was wired to provide light for evening tuition classes and other activities.

View of all existing Community Center with reinforced concrete pillars that will hold up the cement sheet roof

We are quite impressed with the quality of Mr. Viswanathan work, including the sturdiness of the columns and the thickness and strength of the floor, and so is the village. The cost for this project was Rs. 22,000.

To learn more about this and other projects, please click here.

Photo of the lighting installed in the new Karanai Village Community Center Mandapam
Tailoring class being conducted under the New Karanai Community Center Mandapam
Construction Details of the New Karanai Community Center Mandapam