On November 16, 2018, Cyclone Gaja created havoc in Tamil Nadu, specifically impacting the coastal districts of Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Trichy and Dindigul. While over a thousand families lost their houses in the aftermath of this cyclone, the community incurred a huge infrastructural loss, including the damage caused to schools, anganwadis and community halls. As you might know, ActionAid Association was on the ground immediately following the cyclone, providing relief materials to the most vulnerable families.
Subsequent to distributing immediate relief and with long-term recovery in mind, ActionAid Association has now shifted its focus towards the rehabilitation of affected communities. In that regard, ActionAid Association, with its ally, Social Need Education and Human Awareness (SNEHA), has planned to support 10 Cyclone Gaja-affected schools by opening Child Activity and Learning Centres (CALCs), with support from LIC Housing Finance Ltd. The CALCs are aimed at providing children the space and opportunities for supportive education and recreation and bringing out their hidden potential. As part of our intervention, the repair of roofs, floors, walls, rest rooms and water-tanks of these schools will also be carried out.
In order to kickstart this initiative, ActionAid Association and SNEHA organized a Fun Learning Summer Camp for children on April 25-26 at Vizhunthamavadi and Vellapallam in Nagapattinam district. Attended by nearly 80 children, the objective of this two-day fun camp was to provide a safe space for children to come out of the trauma they had undergone during and after the cyclone. They were also taught about the importance of education through fun activities and games, besides being sensitized about “good touch and bad touch” through films.
“I enjoyed a lot at this fun learning camp and learnt about several morals and ethics. Besides, I earlier was not aware of the child helpline number – 1098 – and their services towards saving children from abuse and violence. But I now know about that and I am excited to share it with others too,” said a 10-year-old participant.
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