Tamilnadu Tsunami Relief Initiative - a voluntary civil society network
Update #10 | 9th Feb 2005, 20:30 hrs

1. Note from Ram, Chief, Samanvaya
2. Happenings on the Field
3. Requests from the Field
4. Messages we have received
5. TTRI in the News
6. Contact Details
Dear Friends,

We wish to thank you for your sustained interest in the tsunami relief and rehabilitation work. The informal group of people, organisations and institutions that formed the Tamilnadu Tsunami Relief Initiative in the initial few days after the tsunami strike along the Tamilnadu coast have since then branched off into many activities directed by some of the members. Organisations and individuals who were part of the network have initiated their own short term relief and long term rehabilitation projects.

The updates we sent immediately after the tsunami were very helpful for many groups and individuals. We at Samanvaya will try to periodically provide updates on the efforts of these organisations for a while longer based on their inputs to us.

Last week while visiting some of the villages where the reconstruction of normal life is happening through various means, I visited the village of Chavadykuppam near Poompuhar. This small fishing village has provided its own unique honour for the people from the village who lost their lives, by constructing a small 'poonga' (park) with one plant each in memory of each of those who have deceased. This 'poonga' welcomes you as you enter the village, a board outside the fenced poonga announces why and when it was constructed with a question to the Nature God, "you have taken our beloved, is this fair?".

Poonga in Chavadykuppam in memory of the deceased
The nature of their gesture in planting the trees amidst their expression is a spark of hope for eventual initiatives that would lead towards more sustainable usage of our very delicate coastal eco-system and restoration of natural protection (to whatever extent possible) from such natural disasters.

Samanvaya will be continuing its efforts in facilitating few of the rehabilitation programmes that are sensitive to the long term ecological and native community priorities. Currently, these are projects managed by Covenant Centre for Development (CCD), Madurai and a few other groups. I have added some of their work in this update. Information regarding the same with more details will be available soon in the Samanvaya website.

With best regards,
Ram, Chief, Samanvaya
Fishermen at Chavadykuppam

Pongal Day - 14th January 2005. Mrs.Lakshmi Ranganathan, Capt.Ranganathan and Mrs.Shanthi Krishnan visited Pudhu Edaiyur and Pattipallam and distributed 'Chakkarai Pongal' to all the villagers in these two villages on the auspicious day of Pongal to mark the advent of a new month 'Thai' in the Tamil calendar. On the same day, Lakshmi and Shanthi did purification ceremony in Pudhu Edaiyur by sprinkling Holy Water in all the houses in the village.

During the course of the following week, Mrs.Lakshmi Ranganathan, Mrs.Shanthi Krishnan and Mr.Sriram visited the boat manufacturer 'Iraivan Boat Manufacturers' in Marakkanam village and gave the order for two boats with 10 HP motors and paid the advance.

Boat launch, Pudu Edaiyur Shri. Bahuguna & Smt. Vimla Bahuguna Boat launch, Pudu Edaiyur

They visited a village called Mandavai Pudhukuppam affected by the Tsunami where the residents got very little relief and requested us to help them. It was noted that 20 hutments were washed out and the total number of fisher folk families are 200.

30th January 2005
- Two motorized boats were launched. One was name 'Gowri-Anjali' and the other 'Doctors Offering Charitable Services' were given to the fisherman of Pudhu Edaiyur Village, which is located on East Coast Road, 3 kms before Mahabalipuram. These boats were launched by the famous environmental activist, Shri.Sunderalal Bahuguna and his wife Smt.Vimala.

These boats were sponsored by Mr.Sriram and his wife Anjali, both from Germany and Dr.Batra of San Diego, California on behalf of the D.O.C.S or Doctors Offering Charitable Services.

The fisherman of Pudhu Edaiyur performed a small puja and went into the sea at the auspicious hour, 35 days after Tsunami struck Tamilnadu coast.

Fishermen performing Puja, Pudu Edaiyur

On the 31st of January 2005, a Trust was started by 7 people and it was registered as 'Sankashti Foundation'. This trust will be able to accept funds and soon will be able to accept funds under Section 80G.

2nd Feb 2004 - Reclamation of Agricultural Lands in the tsunami hit areas
The CCD, Madurai has used the community mobilisation approach to activate village groups to undertake rehabilitation work on their own. Their approach follows the steps given below:
1. Community mobilisation at the village level consisting of users
2. Discussing the methods to be adopted for speedier remedial measure
3. Create Plans for the remedial measure and execute the same
4. Follow-up with community based group formation and facilitating further needs for farmer groups

Salt Deposits in the Paddy fields Paddy Cremation in Pazhayagaram & Kumarankudi
Through this approach, they have done the following:
In Village Pazhayagaram - the fields have been watered (with the Cauvery river water) through renovating channels for about 2 kms. and the fields are being prepared for the next level of reclamation consisting of planting green plants that would act as mulch. The farmers feel that if some green growth is allowed in the fields and later ploughed back as mulch, the field would be ready for the next cropping season. The next crop in this region would be either groundnuts or cotton, a salt water resistant cotton variety has been identified by the field team and procurement of seeds is in progress. Meanwhile other parts of the village where there is some standing crop left, they are being cut and burnt to make the field ready for water cleaning.

Village Kumarankudi - the villagers have been motivated by the CCD team to renovate a channel of over 4 kms. in about 4 days. The water from the Cauvery river has been taken through this channel to wash the salt deposits in the fields. They too would follow the same process as Pazhayargaram from then on.
Farmers digging channels Cauvery water through a channel in Kumarankudi

So far, 400 acres of land has been cleaned of the salt water deposits in the Sirgazhi block of Nagapattinam region and prepared for further soil reclamation activity. CCD plans to continue this work in more villages also.Similar work has commenced by the CCD staff (their staff apart from a few field coordinators consists largely of local youth) with the fishing community at Chavadykuppam in the Sirgazhi block also. CCD has also initiated work with the non-farming, non-fishing occupational groups based in the coastal areas (including salt pan workers, lime kiln workers, shell based artisans, coconut coir based workers, etc.) in Kanyakumari district..

Village Youth working in Pudukuppam
Kizha Moovangarai in Sirkazhi Taluk has not been attended to by any aid agency or government, they need help in relief and rehabilitation. Currently, require boats and nets for fishing, please contact Subha of CIKS at Sirgazhi (contact details at the end of the message) if you can mobilise or provide help.

Need Dosa kal - The families in this village requires 'Iron Dosai Kal' of Dosa making equipment made of iron (not Teflon coated) as they are used to making their chapattis and dosas on this only. The requirement of Dosa Making iron plates are as follows:
150 no.s in Pudhu Kuppam
150 nos in Kizhmoovangarai and
480 no.s in Thirumullaivasal.

Need Stoves - Thirumullaivasal also needs 480 stoves for cooking.

Need School Bags - Thirumullaivasal village also needs 479 primary school bags and Thoduvai needs 235 primary school bags.

Re-building School - Pazhayur is in desperate need of a school to be completely rebuilt, the cost of rebuilding is estimated to be Rs.10 lakhs. However, the re-construction activity has to be routed through the district administration. This can be locally managed if there are willing sponsorers. (more information on the school)

Play park for children: Puddhu Kuppam - This place desperately needs a Play Park for the children to ensure that the children have some recreation and physical activity. This can be built at a cost of 50 - 60 thousand rupees near the Community Centre and this will ensure the idle mind to keep away from mischief.

We have some other individual requirements from various villages:
Puddhu Kuppam village, Sirgazhi taluk - Sundaram, w/o Mandaiyan, a handicapped lady homeless due to the Tsunami - requires an occupation.
Ellammai w/o Dhanapal - requires alternate occupation - who was buying fish from the fishermen and selling it in the market. She needs capital to set up a small Tiffin shop - 'Idli Kadai'.
Saravanan, heart patient needs valve replacement - the costs of this is about 2.5 to 2.75 lakhs of rupees - he is a tailor by profession - and has to support a large family - this cost is quoted by Madras Medical Mission located in Mogappair, Chennai - Any sponsors who can take care of this bill?
Pazhayur: A tailor - an expert in embroidery - is desperately in need of tailoring machine and embroidery machine - all his machines were washed off into the sea during the Tsunami. Any sponsors?
Thirumullaivasal: A handicapped boy who was maintaining a PCO that got washed off in the tsunami waves, needs to set-up another PCO, needs help.
Thoduvai: A young girl Usha, has been given a tailoring machine and is attending classes - but her father is part-blind and to support the family the mother who is immobile is seeking help to set up a small shop 'Pottikadai'.
Mel Moovangarai: Naveena, a resident of this village,is studying in the 11th standard in Myladuthurai and stays in a hostel. She stood 1st in her school in the 10th standard and is looking forward to completing her 12th standard and study Nursing. None of her family members is interested in her continuing her education due to monetary constraints. Needs monetary help in continuing her education.
The Akanksha Foundation (www.akanksha.org) has been working to impact the lives of less privileged children in Mumbai and Pune for the past fourteen years. A few weeks after the Dec 26th tsunami hit, we went down the coast from Chennai to Nagapattinam to talk with children and families about what they needed. As a result of that trip, we came back and developed a one-year activity-based curriculum with the following objectives:

a. to enable children to clearly understand what a tsunami is, why it happened and what to do should it occur again
b. to get children to express their emotions, help them cope with their grief, and re-build their confidence
c. to enable children to get over their fear of the sea and reconnect with the sea
d. to enable children and teachers to support each other as they rebuild their lives

The package is in 3 parts:
a. The Giving Sea: Activities for Elementary, Middle and High School Students
b. The Giving Sea: Story and Colouring Book for Students
c. The Old Man and the Sea: Story and Colouring Book for Students

Akanksha is keen to print and give free of cost both these books (with individual copies of b. and c. for each child) as well as the art work, stationary and other materials needed to complete the activities. Akanksha will also provide an explanation/training for teachers to be able to use these materials effectively.

Akanksha is also happy to give schools any thing else that they have lost and require. Lastly, to make schools bright and cheerful, Akanksha would like to paint classrooms, put up display board and paint murals in each class.

It is our belief that each school can play a critical role in making children and teachers feel safe and supported, and we would like to do whatever we can to aid this process.

For more information please contact us on 9821058665 and shaheen@vsnl.com (Shaheen) or 9821325662 and sriram@akanksha.org (Sriram). All the manuals are also available to be downloaded from our website www.akanksha.org
TTRI in the news
Though not a good write-up and rather outdated (this is based on an interview with Mrs.Shanthi Krishnan about 3 weeks ago), some media writing about the TTRI initiative in Business Line today. - Ram, Chief, Samanvaya

Tamilnadu Tsunami Relief Initiative Contact Details:
Information in Chennai
- Shanthi Krishnan, 24916884 / m:9444009851
- Rangarajan, Coordinator, Rejuvenate India Movement:22235133
- Lakshmi Ranganathan, 55853811 / 24491783

Field Team contact
- Shubasini, 09443277417 / 04364-270532

All requests for volunteering please direct to Mrs. Shanthi Krishna, shanthiom@gmail.com
Tamilnadu Tsunami Relief Initiative
Samanvaya:Knowledge Services for the Development Sector - www.samanvaya.com

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