Published: 06th June 2019
Volunteering group chips in to re-construct school in Nagai dist damaged by the Gaja cyclone
Selvam Government Aided Primary School in Thalaignayiru has got a new building inaugurated after its old building was damaged by Gaja cyclone
A volunteering group and several contributors, led by an engineer from Mayiladuthurai has pooled their funds for about Rs 7.7 lakhs and have built a new building for a government-aided school in Thalaignayiru which was damaged by Gaja cyclone.
Selvam Government Aided Primary School in Thalaignayiru has got a new building inaugurated after its old building was damaged by Gaja cyclone. A volunteering group named Direction For Volunteers (D4V ) led by a young engineer named R Ashok Raj has coordinated the entire process of setting up a layout, to till inaugurating the building on Sunday (May 2).
"We thought of doing constructive and permanent for damaged structures in Vedaranyam taluk, which was affected by Gaja cyclone. We chose three government-aided schools which are managed by people with reasonable means. We have pooled most of our funds through an online fundraising platform and received contributions from many individuals, NGOs, and companies with CSR initiatives. It was a coordinated effort," said R Ashok Raj, who studied his kindergarten in Selvam Government Aided Primary School in Thalaignayiru.
Selvam Government Aided Primary School in Thalaignayiru is a minority school managed by MA Ahamed Thambi, from Thalaignayiru. It has 63 students currently from all communities. "We came in contact with them, as we know Ashok Raj as an alumnus, who was doing cyclone relief volunteering. We are proud of him and grateful to all his sources," said MA Ahamed Thambi, the School Correspondent.
The building has brought cheers to the school where two government teachers and a private staff are working, "We were worried about admissions in the school after the cyclone damage. Thankfully, we are getting a good number of admissions now," said K Menaka, the School Headmistress. The new building now serves as a classroom for Classes 4 and 5.
R Ashok Raj (27), from Mayiladuthurai, has been working as a software engineer in a firm in Chennai. His volunteering group Direction For Volunteers (D4V ) which he started as a social media group in 2015, now has registered members around 3000 various walks of life. Ashok Raj, who had experiences in his school, and college days, took volunteering at his free time and started coordinators in Chennai, and other cities.
The volunteering group's best work came up during Gaja cyclone relief, where he coordinated 150 of his volunteers. The group had begun its cyclone relief work on Day 2 after the impact when Ashok Raj started mobilising his Nagapattinam, and Vedaranyam 'D4V' volunteers, from Chennai. The group started arranging food after crowdfunding, then distributed tarpaulins to hundreds of beneficiaries at least 40 villages. Then, they started thinking of an idea to do something more constructive.
"There was relief pouring in for victims from all quarters from other sources. So, we thought, we should stop distributing items, and start helping damaged schools. Government Schools were difficult to approach and help, so thought of helping Government aided schools" Said Ashok Raj.
Among Rs 7.7 lakhs of funds, Ashok Raj has personally contributed Rs 49900to the building construction. There were also CSR funds, from a company named Aspire System India Private Limited, and there were also individual contributor volunteers like Shravan Vanitha Senegal Rao, from the United States who contributed Rs 69392. Not only had the school staffs, but the parents also conveyed their thanks to the volunteering group. "We were worried about the studying environment for our children. We never thought they would get a better facility, than before," said R Revathi, a parent.