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  • Meeting Minutes for Asha Chennai on 22nd April, 2018



Minutes of ASHA Chennai Meeting held on Sunday, 22nd April, 2018 at the Asha Office in Mylapore

Following were present for the whole meeting.

Rajaraman Krishnan



Kasturi Easwaran

Venkat Natraj


Following came in the morning but left during the meeting.







Venkatraman Muthukrishnan

Came in the afternoon,


Usha Bhaskar (new)

Jaya Suresh (new)



Decisions are marked in blue.

1.0 AFE BoD

The Board of Directors from AFE were invited to join the meeting by phone and they were in

a conference call listening in. At one point, the conference seemed to have ended, unsure if

the time allocated for the conference was finished or if it became too late for the people in

the US.

2. Ratification of Decisions

All the decisions from the January meeting were ratified again.

The decisions from the March meeting that were ratified are:

1. Asha India Conference - Original approval was for Rs. 75,000. The total expense

came out to Rs. 91,000 including a bonus of Rs. 8,000 for some of the staff who

worked extra during the conference - Ratified

2. Rs. 10,000 loan for Sakila to work on a BEd degree - Ratified. She has started to

repay the loan from her salary - Ratified

3. Presentation by 180 degrees from IIT

As this meeting was going to be long because of all the project approvals for the 2018-19

School Academic Year, we have asked 180 Degrees to postpone their presentation, possibly

till June.

4. Staff loan for Janova

Janova, a teacher in the Glovis Sangamam project is also working on her BEd degree

similar to Sakila. She wants a loan of Rs. 10,000. The education will not affect Janova’s

attendance relating to her Asha employment. There is a concern that the BEd degree is

used by the colleges to obtain a scholarship for the student by pretending that the student

will be in class full time, although this will not be the case for Janova or Sakila. It was pointed

out that the ultimate goal for the teachers is to get the degree which will help them progress

in their careers and so the loan of Rs 10000 to Janova was approved

Yes - 5 votes, Abstain - 4 votes, No - 1 vote

5. Generic Teacher Salary Increase for Rural Schools

2016-17 Rs. 500 base + 0-500 discretionary - history

2017-18 Rs. 600 base + 0-600 discretionary - history

2018-19 Rs. 600 base + 0-600 discretionary - proposed

Project stewards will have the ability to determine the criteria for the discretionary increase.

Some broad measures used to determine the discretionary increase are:

Attendance - Do the teachers attend regularly and on time?

Manageability - Do the teachers take days off without advance notice? Are they easy or

difficult to work with?

Assistance - How do they work with other teachers? Are they helpful to others?

Teacher Evaluation Test - How do they perform in the assessment test conducted for them

in June?

Student Assessments - How do the children in their classes perform compared to other

classes in the school they teach at?

Asha Impressions - How did their children perform in the Asha Impressions competition that

includes both Scratch programming and OpenOffice Impress presentations?

Approved Yes - 10 votes, Abstain - 1 vote

It was proposed that we increase the yearly bonus from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000 or the

monthly salary whichever is lower.

Approved unanimously Yes - 11 votes

A change to our policy was proposed where we only pay the yearly bonus if the employee

had completed one year of employment with Asha Chennai as of Oct 1 of that year.

Approved. Yes - 10 votes, No - 1 vote

6. Project Sangamam - Excess Plan for Rs 4 Lakhs unspent from 2017-18

Project Sangamam had spent less than the original budget. Some of the excess was due to

the following items:

T-Shirt cost was Rs. 25,000 less than expected because the manufacturer made a mistake

and were willing to give us a discount.

Chappals for 6 schools were not given, so there was an excess of Rs. 70,000

Blackboard painting cost about Rs. 25,000 less because Moorthy managed the work with

day laborers rather than using a contractor.

Admin expense item was not spent.

Everything in the proposal to spend the excess money was vetted earlier by Hyundai Glovis

and unanimously approved at this meeting.

Yes - 11 votes

7. Project Sangamam Salaries

Srinivasan - Rs. 21,000 (Glovis Sangamam), Rs. 3,000 (Ellapuram Block Project


Muthu - Rs. 21,000 (Glovis Sangamam)

Moorthy - Rs. 8,000 Admin Rs. 8,000 (Glovis Sangamam)

Malliga - Rs. 6,000 Admin and Rs 6000 (Hyundai Steel Sangamam)

All of the above salaries were unanimously approved.

Yes - 11 votes

8. Project Sangamam

Project Sangamam Poondi and Sangamam Kanini were combined into one project for all

schools in the Poondi block. It is expected that the entire project will be funded by Hyundai


One change will be 50% of Moorthy’s salary - Rs. 8,000 will come out of Sangamam and

50% of Malliga’s salary Rs. 6,000 will come out of Sangamam Kanchipuram

The budget for the project was for a total of approximately Rs 89.18 Lakhs towards Glovis

Sangamam and Rs 10.30 Lakhs towards Ellapuram block project Sangamam.

The project was approved without any other changes unanimously.

Yes - 11 votes


9. Right Start

We have got accomodation at IIT for the event thanks to help from Prof. Abhijit Deshpande.

Vanavani school has also allowed us to use their facilities for hosting the event. About 70

participants are expected of which 55 will be from out of station. Two days of Maths, 1.5

days of English, 1⁄2 day on Dyslexia and 1⁄2 days of science experiments by Prof. Abhihit

Deshpande and the teachers is planned. The total budget for the event is Rs 2.2 Lakhs.

Approved unanimously Yes - 11 votes

11. Sangamam Kanchipuram

This project was funded by Hyundai Steel in 2017-18. They have asked for a reduced

budget compared to last year. We have dropped the only regular teacher from Aayakolathur

and dropped the computer teacher from Sriramapalayam. There is one change to the

proposal which is to replace 50% of Moorthy’s salary Rs, 8,000 to 50% of Malliga’s salary of

Rs. 6,000.

Budget for Rs 5.26 Lakhs Approved Unanimously Yes - 11 votes

12. Project Deepam

Vijaya talked about Project Deepam. Project Deepam will end as of June 30th. The existing

assets of the project will be transferred to Besant Theosophical Higher Secondary School

and the HM there has provided assurance that the program will continue in the same way as

was managed while Asha was supporting it. The current project budget will end May 31st.

However, it was proposed that we support the project for 1 month in June 2018 for the

Academic year 2018-19. Our staff will be paid until June 30, 2018.

Transfer of asset and funding for the project for one more month were approved

Unanimously Yes - 11 votes

13. Scholarship

Geetha stepped down as steward for the project. She suggested that she was being

sidelined by the rest of the volunteers and was not comfortable stewarding the project any

more. She mentioned that she felt sidelined because no one had responded to her invitation

for the volunteers to meet for a Focus Group Meeting except Kasthuri who had only

responded at the last minute to say that she will not be able to make it because of a

dislocated shoulder.

It was proposed that Kasthuri and Venkataraman take over as joint stewards. Venkataraman

had already left the meeting, but had earlier suggested he will be willing to steward the


Approved Unanimously Yes - 11 votes


14. UQE - Tirunelveli

The project funding from Asha had essentially ended in December 2017. A proposal was

submitted for funding the project from Jan 2018 to May 2018 and that we would pay the staff

and pay expenses retroactively.

Many objections were raised

1. Two levels of indirection - Navajeevan Trust and the Trust that runs the schools

2. Asha staff at the project have no loyalty to Asha - The teachers are hired by the

schools themselves, Radha who is helping coordinate the project suggested that she

would let the HM know when there were complaints against our staff. If they are Asha

staff, we should take action and not the HM.

3. Both the schools we support through the project are large schools and our

involvement is minor there was a concern that we may not be making a huge impact.

4. Asha has always focused on Elementary education and we do not have the

experience to support high schools effectively and there would be a huge learning

curve for which we do not have the bandwidth.

5. The suggestion that the teachers are continuing to work at these schools without

being paid and hoping that Asha will pay retroactively seems a little far fetched.

6. The budget at these trusts are not available to us and many of the schools run as

Government Aided schools have a tendency to be corrupt. We do not know or have

the ability to find out if these schools are run without any foul play.

The proposal for Jan-May 2018 for Rs 4.8 Lakhs was rejected. Yes - 1 vote, No - 6 votes,

Abstain - 2 votes

15. Thulasi - Thiruvannamalai

Paripooranam presented Project Thulasi. The budget for the project supporting 7 schools, 1

tuition centre and 1 library was discussed in details.

Increase teacher bonus from 3000 to 5000.

Reduce Rs. 10,000 from Annual Day budget.

The proposal with the above change for Rs 16.8 Lakhs approx was approved unanimously

Yes - 9 vote

 16. Poornavidya

Recruited new volunteer Bhuvaneswari to help.


Prakash increase from Rs. 9,500 to Rs. 11,000

Jayalakshmi increase from Rs. 8,500 to Rs. 10,000

Philomena increase from Rs. 7,200 to Rs. 8,000

Nandhini increase from Rs. 6,500 to Rs. 8,000

4 new teachers to start at Rs. 7,500

Bonus for teachers to increase from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000

Change Educational Materials Budget to Rs. 10,000 per schoolItem 8 - Honorarium - needs to be revisited and taken out for now.

Computer Repairs - Change to Rs. 50,000

Data Plan - Item should read Data Plan instead of Data Card

The proposal with the above changes for about Rs 14 Lakhs was approved unanimously

Yes - 9 votes

         17. Pearl - Kayathar

Change teacher bonus from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000

Coordinator - John Baul will step down as coordinator due to conflict of interest issues with

his current job but has expressed interest in continuing to help us with the project as a

volunteer. He has recommended a person name Murugan who will be interviewed during the

Asha Impressions week.

Salary for coordinator to remain Rs. 5,500

Pechiammal Salary to be Rs. 4,400 for teaching and a bonus of Rs. 5,000.

Increase water bottle budget from Rs. 45 to Rs. 75

The proposal with the above changes was approved unanimously Yes - 8 votes

18. Manigal - Indira Nagar


Maheswari - Increase from Rs. 9,500 to Rs. 10,500

2nd Teacher - Hire at Rs, 9,000

Bonus from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000

Therefore increase Salaries total by Rs. 8,000 to account for the bonus and calculation error

in the proposal

Specify number of children supported for each of the line items.

Reduce Teaching Learning Materials from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 10,000 per school.

2017-18 budget for desks was Rs. 18,000. Actual amount spent was Rs, 57,000

The proposal with the above changes as well as the change in the spending for 2017-18 was

approved unanimously Yes - 7 votes Abstain - 1 vote

19. Manigal - Kottur

Saraswathi presented the proposal for Manigal-Kottur. The only change for the proposal


Increase bonus from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000

The proposal was approved unanimously Yes - 8 vote

 20. Next meeting

Some of the volunteers will not be available in May and there will be some work during

RightStart which will make it difficult to hold the meeting in May. So we will cancel the May

monthly meeting but expect to hold the June meeting in the early part of June.

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