The Ponnvandu Foundation is a small public trust through which we handle our work with developmentally challenged children as well as encouraging biodiversity/conservation efforts, ecotourism, AIDS prevention, public service and providing help for tribal and scheduled caste kids.
Challenge is the name of our really tiny therapy centre where we are able to give intensive therapy to around twelve developmentally challenged children at a time. We have an OT, child psychologist and a special educator as well as Asia’s only developmental therapy playground and a 6′ hydrotherapy pool.
Ponnvandu also organises and trains volunteers for doing various ‘needed things’ like raising awareness on AIDS, community cleaning, family counseling, helping in microfinanced projects, and for animal and bird censuses with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.
Our EcoTours are self supporting. We book groups (or even couples/individuals) on a cost + 10% basis and leave it up to them to support Challenge or any of our other initiatives with voluntary donations if they wish to. For further details on ecotourism please email me (addresses down below)
We work with government aid for our work with scheduled caste and tribal children.
1) SCHOLARSHIPS – It costs about 4,000 rupees (USD 90) per month to support each child at Challenge and they are all on scholarships. Depending upon the child’s specific problems, therapy can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months. As a policy we take in a kid only after a thorough evaluation convinces us that we will be able to positively impact that child with our therapy programmes. the scholarship helps pay for staff salaries, rent, amenities and 3 meals + 2 snacks a day. We have found that taking over providing proper nutrition is critically important to therapeutic response!
2) VOLUNTEER Programme – This basically involves going to schools, colleges and youth hostels to give talks on environment, biodiversity, and AIDS. Once a youth shows interest in one or more of these lines, we get them involved after providing some basic training.
3) AIDS – The Positive Women’s Network utilises one of our facilities for meetings on Sundays. We provide a social worker/counselor, some light eats and a quiet undisturbed environment with complete anonymity for the participants. Many of these women are poor, have been driven from their homes by family and have kids who are themselves positive. For those that can’t afford medicines we try to provide them and for three women we are helping out with food from Challenge for their kids.
4) Microfinance in a poor developing nation such as India is of critical importance. Ponnvandu identifies groups of enterprising women (mostly housewives) and encourages them to get involved in low cost projects that can be worked-in round the needs of their families to provide alternate sources of income. Funding is typically between Rupees 5,000 to 10,000 per lady (US$ 120 to 240) for a one time investment, with a ‘holiday period’ for latency and then repayed (interest free) over a two-to-three-year period.
5) Suicide prevention is something that has generally grown out of our work with youth and with AIDS patients. Ponnvandu’s major thrust is to keep the channels of communication as open as possible. We also try to motivate people to live by convincing them that they are needed. Obstacles are more perceived than real, so developing lateral thinking skills while looking beyond the problems to the solution fields that exist ahead are what we try to concentrate on. AHEAD is one of our initiatives (partnered with Phoenix BPO) where we encourage youth who have failed in their public exams (a very common cause of suicide in India) to realise that there is life (and excellent career opportunities) even without a high school diploma in hand.
Posts about our activities will appear from time to time on this blog’s main page and at CHALLENGE. To participate as a volunteer or in ecotourism you need to mail me with your details so that I can get back to you with where, when, and how (email@example.com).
If you want to contribute financially then the best method is to send us a cheque. Other means such as paypal and direct bank-to-bank transfers are also possible (enquire for details). Please try to specify which area you would like the funds to be utilised in: Challenge Scholarship, Volunteers, AIDS, AHEAD, or Microfinance.
Make out a crossed check (cheque) to “PONNVANDU” and mail it to our registered address at:
The Ponnvandu Foundation
Opposite Dr. NGR School
We prefer cheques (checks) or bank-to-bank transfers as the funds will finally reach us as Indian Rupees and this makes compliance with the very strict Indian foreign exchange regulations much more transparent. An additional advantage is that losses to commissions and transaction fees are minimised. When you do transfer, mail, or courier something in, or if you have any comments or suggestions, please do also inform me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org (or) email@example.com
Note: We would appreciate having your contact details so that we can send you a receipt and/or confirmatory email.