History of SIRAGU
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Many of us want to serve the society. We have numerous ideas of how to make the lives of the people in need better. But do we actually implement them? Dr.V.Uma (Masters in Mathematics, Education Management, Hindi, Sanskrit and Wasteland development) and her husband Mr.R.N.Muthuram(B.Com., M.Com., Masters in Education) have dedicated their whole lives to social service. At the age of 10 itself, both of them along with a group of their friends began helping to clean the school grounds and corridors. Regardless of how much pocket money they got from their parents, during their birthdays, festivals, etc, they have always saved at least half of it for donations to NGOs. Around the age of 20, they frequently visited Stanley Medical College Hospital, where they brought their own brooms, mops and buckets to clean the floors. They interacted with the patients of the ‘Kidney Transplant’ section and educated them on the significance of sanitation and the need to keep lavatories clean. They visited Children’s Homes instead of going to watch movies. They would pool in all their pocket money just to buy gifts for the children. They spent time with patients suffering from HIV-AIDS just to make their last days memorable. Later on, they became blood donors.
Suyam Charitable Trust was formally registered under Trust Act in August 1999 and it was continued by experienced social workers who have been in this service field since 1987. Dr. Uma and Mr.Mr. Muthuram are its founders. They conducted many social activities. They have conducted blood donation camps. Their Eye Awareness camps included 200 people, out of which 22 received cataract surgery funded by the trust.
They started a campaign called ‘Anamika’ in 1996 and raised Rs.40, 000 with which they bought a piece of land. 1000 college students from all over Tamil Nadu planted saplings, provided by the forest department, on that land. The wood from these trees was sold to the Hanuman temple. The Siragu Montessori School is for street children who come from extremely poor families. It took Dr. Uma and Mr. Muthuram 4 years to gain the trust of these families. They emphasized “listening” as the most important value while trying to help these people. These families lived in pathetic conditions with no knowledge of hygiene or sanitation. They went through 4 decades of begging. Through the efforts of the Suyam Trust, land was bought from an old lady and a school was built for the children of these families in June, 2003. They managed to pull out almost all the children from the profession of begging and gave them admission in the school with proper uniforms, food and study material.
In September 2004, someone set the school on fire and the entire school was burnt to ashes. However, the couple did not loose faith. With donations from other contacts they laid the roads with their ‘own hands’ and re-built the school within a week.
Currently there are 450 students (no dropouts) of which 150 are hostelers. The school is giving employment, shelter and 3 full meals a day to a group of homeless tribal people as well.
The head of the academics section of the school is Mr. S. Raja, M.A. (English Literature), M.Ed., who is a retired employee of the Southern Railway and is visually challenged.
Our trip to Siragu Montessori School was an eye-opener. The way Dr. Uma and Mr. Muthuram never gave up truly moved us. Their constant faith and love kept them going. Now, we fully realize our potential. The number of things we can do to make a difference. We have drawn inspiration from this real-life story of Siragu, I hope this inspired you as well.