Reviving a prolific venture: Society for Education and Action (SEA), Tamil Nadu — Diksha Srishyla

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The Tamil Nadu floods of October-November 2015 severely damaged vital service infrastructure and community support structures. The houses, schools and motivation centers sponsored by the Society for Education and Action (SEA) in Kancheepuram district fell under this umbrella of destruction. Excessive flooding ensued in the region due to an overwhelming 1007 mm of rainfall (600 mm more than the normal annual average), causing thatched roofs to collapse, doors, windows and walls to break and erosion of the muddy floor. The deluge also carried away educational materials and students’ belongings contained within the school premises. This hindered the establishments from efficiently continuing the academic routine until they had the essential materials to provide for their students.

SEA was started in 2000 by Mr S Desingu and other community workers to help sustain the livelihood and basic rights of women and children belonging to fishing families and dalit (outcast) backgrounds in villages along the East Coast Road of Tamil Nadu from Kovalam to Kadapakkam regions. The territory falls within Kancheepuram district, as noted above. Rural fishing families, due to seasonal discrepancies in produce and income, tend to marginalize their children’s education while sending them to work to help support the family. 3To address this problem, SEA has started 14 motivation centers that spread awareness on the importance of education, vocational training and basic rights for children among parents of the fishing community. Additionally, they have started Parent Teacher Associations (PTA’s) in government schools in Kancheepuram to increase parent involvement in their children’s education. Over the past 15 years, SEA has achieved several milestones within its jurisdiction, some of these being the eradication of child marriage, eradication of corporal punishment and enrollment of over 200 children per year in schools.1

Vibha supports 6 of the 14 motivation centers and 5 PTA’s under SEA. With Vibha’s aid after the Tamil Nadu floods, SEA was able to provide mats, new school bags, books, notebooks, water pumps and drums and largely repair damages to property and infrastructure. As per a recent report by Mr Desingu, the funding effectively served one primary school, 3 middle schools and 6 motivation centers. Vibha’s core mission as a social venture catalyst lies in revitalizing and prolonging the impacts of effective, entrepreneurial grassroots organizations; SEA is another success story to add to the extensive and continuing record of these endeavours supported by Vibha.

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