REPORT OF THE LANDMARK FOUNDATION

FINANCIAL YEAR 2012-2013

LANDMARK Foundation is now three years old. It basically works for the the children of migrant families, who have migrated from the rural areas and are living in the slums of Chennai metro. LANDMARK Foundation located at Jyothi Ammal Nagar as functional area works among the people through various programmes. It helps children, providing learning accessories to all and school fees in some cases to further proceed with their studies without economic constraints.

The organization volunteers conduct evening classes for the school going children and Drop-outs to engage themselves usefully.

LANDMARK Foundation motivates the youth to be computer literate through regular computer literacy programs and also make them aware of various opportunities in the government and private sector.

Coaching classes are held for TNPSC exams at the area as well as in certain centers. Youngsters are sent for vocational training and placement  in different retailers in the city through an organization called UNNATI which has been doing excellent work for many years in empowering youth below poverty line.

We concentrate on an overall development and personality building of children.
We conduct 
drawing and painting competition, elecution competition, dancing, singing, acting, mimicking, 
Thirukural reciting, sports and games activities for children, youth and women.Festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm. Traditional arts like Kolam Podal, Rangoli etc are also
held. 

We realized that most of the earnings made by the parents get spent on liquor and junk foods. Alocoholism seems to be a major problem in these slums and we were fortunate to get financial 
help from a local organization Athena Healthcare ( Headquartered  in U.S.A.) to deal with the problem of alcoholism. Our strategy to deal with alcohlism has four components ( 1) The alcohol victim (2) The women who suffer (3) The helpless children and(4) the youth. Thus we gave importance for child care, awareness creation, medical emergencies and rehabilitation.

The financial year 2012 started with a “kudi Bodai Ozhippu Mukam”. 
The people of 
Chinthadripet had a different experience when they came to know the ill effects of alcoholism. 
We were gladdened to note that  a number of alcoholics  came forward to know how to stop it. Our simple suggestion was to say every morning ‘No alcohol today’. If they are able to do it regularly for a few days it is possible for them to say goodbye to alcohol.

PREVENTION is a MUST:
When we realized the difficulty of alcoholics to stop drinking, we decided to divert the fund for creation of awareness amidst the youngsters. Our main target was young generation and the tips we gave were useful for them to understand, on how they can prevent the pressures, to succumb to the addiction.

CHIEF GUEST
We were fortunate to have the Deputy Commissioner of Police to address the gathering and he sat through the whole program till the end. PowerPoint presentations explained the ailments due to continuous alcohol consumption for years and how the organs get damaged beyond repair with the help of a number of charts and models. This  has enabled  even illiterate people to be aware of  the scientific reasons of the bad effect of alcoholism and convinced them why they should stop drinking.

FAMILY COUNSELING
There were counseling for children, victim’s wives and parents too. Cultural programmes, role play and street drama were held to highlight the importance of value based education and showed the sufferings and miseries of unlettered.

ENROLLMENT
Our efforts have resulted in the re-admission of almost all dropouts in the area in the nearby schools. The evening classes are held at their premises, and they made them improve their learning quality.

PROVISION OF REQUIREMENTS
We provided everything required for a child from slippers, dresses, books and other learning accessories. Even if their parents make a good amount as wages it is unfortunate that they spent the entire amount at TASMAC (Govt. run liquor shop) and at Junk food joints. Most of the children and mothers are sick. We give them tips to the right food habits, generally we recommend the traditional food.

REHABILITATION
We organized an AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) group for women. Its regular attendance was 16- 18. They are given suggestions to improve their earnings. They were given financial help to start vegetable vending, tiffin centers, dress materials business, and given sewing machines to stitch dresses and fancy ornament making etc. This effort has created confidence in them. 

There are youngsters who havea lready completed 18 years. We selected them to undergo training and placement in different chain shops like Coffee Day, Lifestyle etc. Computer education enabled six youngsters to get employment in different places. These activities created a confidence among the area people.

EVALUATION
After the entry in the Amma Nagar, we are seeing a good improvement in the youngsters and each household has an interest in sending their children to schools and further helping them to go for tuition classes.

Another disturbing aspect is the unhygienic condition of the area. We organize regular cleaning campaigns in the surroundings and littering from the part of children has considerably reduced. We insist them to reuse the plastic bags they get from the shop, to reduce the use of it and collect the plastic stuffs to recycle. Then we started biodegradable carry bags with a message. If they use the bag we provide, that will reduce the use of plastic bags littering, which pollutes environment. We educate the general public with the message of what is alcohol and what are the damages it can cause. This is with two mottos,
 1) To say no to alcohol and the other,
 2) To reduce the use of plastics.
 And our most important aim is to create awareness on the support needed for the child. For the year 2013, we introduced a twelve sheet table calendar with positive notes to remind our donors about these three important aspects: 
 1) Say no to alcohol.
 2) Reduce the use of plastic.
 3) Support child education.

We are getting regular calls from the victim’s families. We put them with family counselors and child counselors attached to De-addictions centers.

We started concentrating the govt. and aided school children and provided them the things that they require. The children preparing for the SSLC exams are given nutritious snacks too. Apart from Amma Nagar, our beneficiaries are from Anchu Kudisai, Dargah and the Police Boy’s club students. There are a few college students seeking help for their emergencies and we do provide them. To encourage their inherent talents to be brought out, we conduct programs on Republic Day, Independence day, Martyr’s day, Pongal , Diwali, Christmas etc  with the total involvement of the local population. The involvement of the entire family member’s of the Amma Nagar is praiseworthy. The competitions held are judged by the community and the prizes they received are cherished by them. More than 365 children are helped by LANDMARK Foundation.

PREVENTING MIGRATION
Amma Nagar people have migrated from a village near Melmaruvathur called Eravanallur. There is a primary school in that village so we decided to adopt that school and provided with all their requirements. One girl child is very good in her studies, so we decided to support her English medium education according to her wish, and she shows a tremendous progress. We have been advised by our donors to identify such children for the future. In a nutshell, we are concentrating on overall development of the family and creating awareness of right education as well as Right To Education, prevention of all vices including alcoholism, environmental awareness to make them prevent pollution, preservation of natural resources, hygienic inputs lead to healthy life and economic empowerment. Our three years experience have convinced us that unless we make the parents aware of the need of education there will not be any solution for their burning problems and they remain marginalized forever. They have migrated for a better life to cities and unless they care for their children, they can’t escape from the grip of poverty.

For the marginalized the only way is to train them certain skills that suit their temperament and there are opportunities for the suitably trained skilled workers with proper tools. We have resolved to extend our activities to the nearby slums too.