June was a hectic month in Thulir. There was a phase of touring the nearby
villages and explaining what this new course on Basic Technologies is all
about and seeking applications from suitable candidates. Then we had the
applications coming in, in all 13 of them. We decided to keep size of the
first batch between 6 and 8 students, given our constraints of space,
materials and staff!!
After a day full of interviews and tests, we selected 7 students for the first
batch. Given the fact that most of them are already in the earning age group
[most boys at 14, who drop out of school, end up migrating to the city in
search of jobs], we decided to offer them a stipend of Rs. 500 a month to
take care of their personal expenses.
The course took off to a flying start as we had some major electrical wiring
and plumbing work on the third day of the course itself. A good electrician
had come from Chennai to do this work and so our students got a good
opportunity to learn the basics of electrical work.
This was followed by small electrical work at Thulir, at the hospital and at
staff homes. So the students got practise what they had learnt in real life
situations. They were also taught to take measurements, to keep track of
materials used, record these properly and to make bills! The course in its
second week has stated earning money!