While it may seem that Chennai has recovered from the devastating December 2015 floods by rebuilding its infrastructure, there are still thousands of people who lost their livelihoods after their homes were damaged. Among those are also children, who now travel several kilometres from their rehabilitation tenements to get to a school.
“Several families who lived in slums close to the Adyar river banks were particularly affected, and continue to live in the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board’s resettlement colonies in Perumbakkam. Children from these families, however, are having to travel long distances to attend school. So, we have been working on building a school in the locality since 2016,” Anil tells DT Next.
The building, which is close to completion, still requires furniture, ramps and other finishings. “When I recently visited the school for its soft launch on June 20, I decided to start a fundraiser to raise money for its furniture, playground and other required materials. Through ‘100 Days, 100 Songs’, I am performing live music based on requests from those who donate for the school, which will be educating nearly 600 children,” the musician adds.
The fundraiser on crowdfunding site, Milaap, raised nearly Rs 1.5 lakh so far and aims at pooling a total of Rs 10 lakh.
The school will have 14 classrooms, a laboratory and allow children to study from classes six to 12. “With this school, the kids who were displaced due to the floods can just walk down to their classes. We are also planning for the school to be a community centre by setting up space for women’s skilling and self-help groups within the premises,” elaborates Anil.
The musician himself also raised money through a few of his previous concerts to fund the building.
“I think music should always be used for the service of the community. If enough funds are raised, we are looking at opening the school by October,” he adds.