Volunteers Present: Saraswathi, Ananth, Sundaram, Jayashree, Lokesh, Bhaskar, Kasturi, Venkat and Rajaram.
*Decisions and action items are in blue.
1. Funding Updates
Rajaram updated the team about the financials of Asha Central. We are expecting about $100,000 from Asha Central. All of the projects are on track with the funding for the end of the financial year. 2017-18 funding for our projects will need funds from Asha Central.
Hyundai Steel has offered Rs. 10 Lakhs and deposited in our account for us to take 6 schools and we have created a new project called Hysco Sangamam. We will have 1 regular teacher and 2 computer teachers besides an assistant coordinator for this project.
2. Asha Conference
Rajaram attended the Asha Conference in Guwahati and met with several other volunteers from other Asha chapters in India. Rajaram updated the team about the key updates from the conference that are relevant for Asha Chennai. These are,
* They have asked us to go ahead with the registration of a new trust based in Chennai representing the South Indian chapters of Asha.
* Vallabh and Deen Dayal from Varanasi area who are managing the Asha India accounts are taking several steps to improve the accounting performance of Asha. At Asha Hyderabad (which was the cause for most of the problems), the bank accounts have been closed. In Asha UP, there were several problems related to cash transactions. So they have completely stopped all cash imprest accounts in UP (doesnt impact the way we do things here). For 2016-17 they hope to finish all the audit, filings etc. by end of July 2017!
* I asked them to consider hiring a full time accountant (instead of a social worker doubling up with accounting duties as well). Such an accountant should be comfortable with English and computers/internet. Vallabh said he will look into that.
* Asha Chennai will be hosting the next Asha India conference on December 29th, 30th and 31st here.
3. Project Updates
The project stewards for Project Sangamam provided updates for their projects. Hyundai Glovis has offered to build toilets in a few schools. We built one in the Thandalam school. The construction went a little slower than planned but got done finally. The employees of Glovis came to paint the building in early March and the toilet was finally inaugurated on the 5th of April. We are looking for other schools that need toilets. We will also be able to get funding for it from other chapters including Pittsburgh and Frankfurt.
Assessments were done without too much copying because of close monitoring, except in one of the schools. A few volunteers graded the tests and Rajaram collected all the assessments and did some analytics. He is continuing to do more analytics. The most prominent finding was the student teacher ratio being the most important factor in the performance of the children.
11 schools from the Poondi block went on a picnic paid for by Hyundai Glovis. The children went to Dakshina Chitra and to Mahabalipuram. The children enjoyed the picnic. It was also attended by the CEO of Hyundai Glovis, Rubini (our contact at Glovis), Glovis volunteers and Asha volunteers.
4. Support for Maheswari for her Montessori course
We discussed supporting Maheswari who works at Manigal Indiranagar to do a Montessori course, but it was not approved.
We discussed salaries for all the staff.
Teachers will get a Rs. 600 mandatory raise and Rs. 600 discretionary raise (average Rs 300).
Computer teachers will be paid Rs 500 more than regular teachers.
Senior computer teachers will be paid Rs 1,000 more than regular teachers.
Srinivasan's salary will be increased to Rs. 21,000 per month.
With the base salary increase the starting salary for a new teacher will be Rs. 5,700.
We will also pay the teachers actuals for transportation up to Rs 1200.
6.a. Project Approvals – Project Sangamam
Rajaram presented the proposal for Project Sangamam. The significant changes from previous year's proposal were,
Increase in teacher and coordinator salaries.
Added one new school in Poondi block (Anandheri) and one in Ellapuram block (not yet decided).
Moved the budget for laptops and data plan to this project instead of Sangamam Kanini.
Full excursion expenses to Glovis' scale shown here. In the earlier years they were covered from the excess left behind, etc.
A library / NFE centre to be started newly at Annanagar.
The total expense for the 12 schools in Poondi block came to Rs 32.8 Lakhs and for the 4 schools in Ellapuram block plus the Balwadis in Poondi block came to Rs 13.4 Lakhs.
This was approved unanimously by all the volunteers.
6.b. Project Approvals – Project Sugadaram - Extension
Rajaram presented the Extension proposal for Project Sugadaram. Currently Project Sugadharam covers toilet construction and repair at schools in Poondi and Ellapuram block of Thiruvallur District. This is entirely funded by Hyundai Glovis. Asha Pittsburgh approached us to see if they can work with us on a similar project. So we collected data from other supported schools and proposed to them the following schools.
PUMS Nagalapuram – Repairs to toilet / pipeline for Rs 75,000.
PUMS Koppampatti – Two new toilet complexes one each for boys and girls. Rs 2.5 Lakhs * 2.
PUMS Kaatu Sithaambur – Two new toilet complexes one each for boys and girls. Rs 2.5 Lakhs * 2.
We will be taking up these works, only if funding for it is made available by other chapters / organisations. This was approved unanimously by all the volunteers.
6.c. Project Approvals – Project Hysco Sangamam
Venkat and Rajaram explained that Hyundai Steel company contacted us to implement at villages near their facility something similar to what we are doing with Hyundai Glovis at Poondi block of Thiruvallur. We then undertook a study of the villages / schools in the area and made a proposal for about 8.5 Lakhs. This also included about Rs 3 Lakhs for common work done through Sangamam Kanini project. Hyundai Steel not only approved this but also increased the funding to Rs 10 Lakhs and already transferred the money to us!
The updated proposal for Rs 10 Lakhs was approved unanimously by all the volunteers.
Sangamam Kanini proposal was not taken up for discussion due to lack of time.
7. Computer Presentations for Sangamam Kanini
All the schools in the Sangamam Kanini project that have a computer teacher visiting them will be creating presentations that will be presented and prizes provided for the best presentations. We will select 8 to 10 of these presentations for the competition that will be judged by neutral judges who are not Asha volunteers. We hope to do this during the Right Start training at IIT.
8. RightStart 2017
We will conduct RightStart 2017 from 24th to 28th. Jayashree will provide training in English and Ramanujam museum and centre for Math Resources will provide training in Maths. The 5th day will be used for student computer presentations, talent show by teachers besides some computer training. An in principle approval for Rs 1.5 Lakhs for the project was made as the planning for this needs to start immediately.