Minutes of ASHA Chennai Meeting held on Sunday, 22nd April, 2018 at the Asha Office in Mylapore
Following were present for the whole meeting.
Following came in the morning but left during the meeting.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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