Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2018!

Our children had a wonderful Christmas celebration, thanks to the lunch sponsored by 2 special people! Our loving thanks to them and everyone who has made the lives of our children beautiful with thoughtful gifts and encouragement.

Visit by Dr Kaushik Sridhar from Australia

18th Dec 2017

Dr Kaushik Sridhar along with his wife and parents visited us all the way from Australia, to bring a gift for Nitisha, the child he is sponsoring, and for her classmates!

It was wonderful having Kaushik and his family at school!

Our loving thanks to him and family to come over to school in between their hectic schedule! :-)

Here is Dr Kaushik Sridhar's account of his visit:

“As one person I cannot change the world, But I can change the world of one person”
I recently went on a six-week holiday to visit India, Egypt, Jordan, and Mauritius. When you think of my holiday, you might think of beaches, pyramids, and jetlag! I did all of the above during the six weeks but there was one highlight that became a significant milestone in my personal life and one which made me reflect on the past, present and future of the ‘state of affairs’ in this world. This highlight was a visit to the Gurukulam School in Chennai.
Gurukulam is a free school for the under-privileged children located in Kovalam, Chennai. The foundation of the school is based on the principle that education is and always will be very important in building a strong foundation in one's life. My initial interest in the school was sparked when I learnt KPMG India’s involvement with them and the social impact created in the community by the school’s founder, Captain Nandakumar. While I had been communicating with the school since March and started sponsoring one of the students, Nitisha, from September, I (really) wanted to visit the school, see a class in action, and most importantly see Nitisha, whose education I had decided to sponsor over the next 12 years.
The school itself seemed like a sanctuary for anyone wanting to get away from hustle bustle of city life but its more serious role of providing education for the underprivileged became apparent when we arrived. It provides resources where children have much-needed opportunities to play, read and learn. This includes a large playground, computer lab, vocational education facility, classrooms etc. KPMG India facilitated the development of the school’s computer lab where children are encouraged to take a course in basic computer literacy. Each student is equipped with a uniform and bookbag, provided by the Gurukulam trustees and sponsors. Regardless of the poverty they encountered at home, every young student was clad in a grey and white uniform. Despite the disadvantaged status, I noticed the Gurukulam students thrive when given the opportunity. The bright (and adorable) students share an enthusiasm for learning and a competitive spirit that shined through the classrooms when I arrived.
After a tour of the school’s facilities we visited the Lower Kindergarten class which is where Nitisha is currently studying. The LKG children had all settled down in the classroom sitting in organised rows and were ready for their visitors (my parents, wife and I)! As we entered the classroom all the tiny tots yelled “Good Morning”. We were overwhelmed with their affection and decided to grow their (already infectious) smiles; we went around the classroom and gave each child a gift we brought from Australia! I had also spotted Nitisha sitting in a corner and was overcome with joy and excitement. We spent about 30 minutes with the children and I was able to absorb their happiness, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and play. Some of the children showcased their talents and sang some songs in both English and Tamil; I was amazed with their confidence levels at such a young age. While Nitisha didn’t speak much (compared to her peers), her piercing eyes and keen/observant nature left me with a positive impression of her future. On a personal level, it was an honour for me to spend 30 minutes with the future of our eclectic country.
For most Indian slum families, educating their children is the last thing on their minds. Children in poverty make up thirty-nine percent of the population, and most of these children do not receive a good education because their parents cannot afford to send them to anything but a public school. As slum children grow up, parental pressure to leave school and start work increases, and most young people leave school by the age of 16. Among slum residents, the most common belief about higher education – or even completing school -is that it’s a waste of time and money. This is where Gurukulam comes in!
Gurukulam gets the most disadvantaged children into the school, and the Gurukulam employees engage with the children’s parents on why education is worthwhile. The work done by the people of the school reminds me of a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
My visit to Gurukulam has made me optimistic about India’s future. India is a complex country with a variety of cultures and traditions. To lead in tomorrow’s world, it needs something or someone to help it achieve its vast potential – a good education is that something and Capt Nandakumar/Gurkulam is that someone. Nandakumar’s work mirrors the saying: “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”
Keep up the great work!
         - Dr Kaushik Sridhar

Construction of the last 2 Classrooms for GVTC begin!

12th Dec 2017

Thanks to large hearted donors, construction of the last 2 classrooms for GVTC have started!

We hope to get enough funding to complete the blocks in the next few weeks!

Our loving thanks to our donors who have come forward to reach out to underprivileged youth and women!

First Batch of 12th standard pass with 4 overall Distinctions!

06th Dec 2017

We have wonderful results from our first batch!

Dharini topped our school, the rest are close behind. 

We have 4 children who have secured an overall Distinction!

All the rest have passed with a First Class!, with only one failure in one subject.

           We have 6 Distinctions in English

                          6 Distinctions in Biology

                          5 Distinctions in Computer Science

                          2 Distinctions in Mathematics

                          1 Distinction in Business Studies

It's definitely a time to celebrate. All our combined efforts, the support from each and every one of you has paid off handsomely! 

Dharini, our school topper, 3rd from left - bottom row, along with the entire 12th batchmates

Our English teacher Mrs Susan got a cash award for bringing up the highest number of Distinctions! 

It is indeed a proud moment for all of us! 

It is everyone's support, hard work from our teachers' that has made all this possible!

Dharini in 2005

We still have work ahead!

The children are now going through coaching for Entrance Exams. The teachers are working hard that the children do well in the Entrance Exams that are coming up in 2018...

Our first batch graduate!

4th Dec 2017

Our first batch who started their journey with Gurukulam in 2004 have completed their 12th Standard! (A Level) this October with the National Institute of Open Schooling Board (NIOS). 

We are extremely proud of them! 

Their Graduation Day was held on the 4th Dec. It was a day of nostalgia, a feeling of completion, a sense of pride and achievement in our first batch passing out. 

Our previous Principals' Mrs Shakila Johnson and Mr Rajeev attended the ceremony and shared beautiful memories...

Mrs Shakila and Mr Rajeev honoured with a "Shawl" and momento! 

We then shared the memories of the last 14 years through a "movie" of pictures and videos collected over the years! It was a touching moment for all of we travelled with the children on their 14 year journey with us so far!

Video of memories from 2004-2017

This video was made with a lot of love, effort and time :-) 

The children then spoke about their memories of school and their friends!

Speech by Pragadeesh

Speech by Varsha and other students

Speech by Mrs Sabita Currimbhoy, Trustee

It was a day filled with the promise of things to come!

MMLC4 support the women at GVTC!

07th Dec 2017

Madras Mylapore Ladies Circle 4 helped empower women by donating new tailoring machines for the GVTC Tailoring classes. 

Ms Prachi Ruchita Shah, Chairperson MMLC4, along with Ms Anchal and the MMLC4 team visited school and handed over gifts (snack boxes) for everyone including our children at Gurukulam for Christmas along with handing over of 4 brand new tailoring machines!

Our loving thanks for the constant support from MMLC4 :-)