The Malar Trust, based in Northern Italy, and dedicated primarily to increasing the availability of Higher Education in Tamilnadu among the poorer and socially disadvantaged classes and communities, has been the partner of SAVE-INTL on several projects in 2011. Together we funded and managed the rebuilding of the toilet facilities for the 200 students in the Amuur Panchayat one through eight grade government primary school, a project now successfully completed. Additionally we together sponsored, funded and managed a pilot program of free coaching for the crucial Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination given statewide in Tamilnadu and India at the conclusion of the 10th grade. The latter was such a success that the project has been expanded to approximately six more free coaching centers starting in September 2011.

A report from the Malar Trust on our joint activities can be downloaded here:

Scroll down to pages 4 and 5.

Curtis John Degler

Amuur Public School Toilet Facilities to be Remodeled by SAVE-INTL

Inspecting the outmoded and non-functioning Amuur Village Public School Toilets, from the right, Amuur Panchayat President Kuppan, C. John Degler from SAVE-INTL, Amuur School Headmistress Mahalahksmi, and unidentified Amuur teacher

The students attending the Amuur Village School will soon see a large improvement in the sanitary facilities available to them during school hours, thanks to the generosity of the Malar Trust of Italy who have agreed to fully sponsor their rehabilitation, pledging one Lakh (100,000Rs).

The current Amuur school toilets have become virtually unusable and the facility entry wall is in serious danger of collapse, plus the currently facilities are not designed with separate areas for boys and girls.

Composite showing ruined and unusable toilets in the Amuur School Compound

The availability and condition of toilet facilities in Indian Public has long been a problem that affects primarily girls, especially those who are near maturity. Some of the consequences of substandard or non-existent facilities have been an increase in absenteeism or dropping out by girl students and an increase in urinary tract infections.

This problem is well recognized by the media in South India. See the article (link below) from The Hindu, an English language newspaper published out of Chennai and one of India’s oldest and most respected news journals:

“When Girls Fear School” – The Hindu

Some photos of the Amuur School Toilet facilities.

From the left S.V. Saravanan, President Kuppan and Headmistress Mahakakshmi and others in the background
Entryway to the Amuur School Toilet facilities - note the shared facilities and the serious cracks and sagging of the entry way.

Here some photos of the boys and girls attending the school whose access to education will be enhanced by the repair and remodeling of the toilet facilities.

After consulting with the Amuur school officials to determine their requirements, an estimate and plan to remodel and rehabilitate the Ammur School Toilet was provided by Mr. Viswanathan of VVN Construction who has previously worked with us on several projects. The new toilets will have four toilets each for boys and girls, the facility will be divided by a common wall and the entry way will be demolished and separate entry ways for boys and girls will be provided.

Amuur School Toilet Remodeling Estimate for 97,000Rs

But before we could proceed further we required an official letter from the Amuur School Officials Requesting that we remodel the toilet and giving permission for same.

Letter in Tamil from Amuur School officials authorizing the remodeling of school toilets

TVO and SAVE-INTL really needed some independent financial help to accomplish this project which brings us back to the beginning, namely our good friends at the Malar Trust, who after carefully reviewing the plans and my report have most generously agreed to fully support this project financially which should enable SAVE-INTL and TVO to ensure that the students of Amuur Elementary School will have with safe, sanitary and functional toilets and an improved educational experience.

Construction should begin in a few weeks at most once the winter Tamilnadu monsoon season is over. We will post the contract once that has been signed.


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