The initial efforts of the team were met with antagonism and suspicion but sustained efforts caused a few parents to allow their children to attend school.
The success of these students at school helped other parents also to gather courage to send their children. Eventually the rush from this community as well as others became so much that it was felt the right time to start a school.
A school was begun in locally rented premises. The condition of the building was quite poor (eighty years old, poor upkeep, no roof, vermin infested) but volunteer assistance garnered by Suyam helped them make it habitable.
At present in our own land constructed 10 temporary classrooms and 200 children were studying in SIRAGU (out of which more than 50 children are from Brick Chambers). The school has adopted the Montessori method of education and other innovative and practical oriented methods with an aim to provide World Class Education at local costs. The school has 13 teaching staff and 9 non-teaching staff.
In Shastri Nagar, among the Nadaipathai Pookkal, many families have started prioritizing their children-significantly without gender biases. They try and provide at least one quality meal a day to the children. Parents started keeping track of their child's [[development, and interacted with school staff and management to address child related issues. School has become a priority for the parents, even above their rituals and ceremonies, and the levels of absenteeism has come down.
Siragu provides a quality education for children who had minimal access to schooling. Children show overall development, much more than mere academics. They interact with role models and have the confidence to face life without feelings of inferiority. Siragu as a school for the community, has enabled 5 families to be self-employed and move away from begging
Teachers stay late in school discussing the day's activities, and planning for the next day. Difficulties faced, solutions and clarifications are discussed. The teachers also go through books on child development, a new book every month.
The activities are prepared based on each child's needs, to enable the child to learn spontaneously and according to their interest. Each child is given a choice from four or five activities in each session.
Concept formation: relating learning with concepts to facilitate deep understanding and not just memorizing
Values: personal and community values of love, sensitivity, honesty, integrity, unity, empathy, cleanliness, holistic development, confidence, punctuality, creativity, determination and persistence, respect, politeness, sharing, non extravagance and eco-friendy
Multiple dimensionality: of syllabus and of teaching methods, to explore beyond the present systems of education
Mr. R. N. Muthuram, M.Com (Commerce), Administrative Director (Incharge of the school administration and accounts)