Developing Student Leadership
The school believes in developing leadership skills in the students. A group of nominated students from each class meet once a fortnight to address some problems in the school. Any class can raise issues for discussion and suggest consequent actions. These concerns may pertain to student and teacher behaviour, time allocations, recycling, banning plastic use in school. The council suggests concrete solutions that can be implemented. Serious issues are brought to the notice of senior teachers and the Principal for decision.
The school encourages students to participate in its advocacy for Green Movement - - water conservation, greening of the community, recycling of waste and the ban of plastics.
To empower and inspire students to take green action in their everyday life the school has collaborated with a NGO called Reap Benefit. With their guidance, the school developed a road map to contribute to the greening of Hosur. Under the banner Go Green Grow Green students of the school have raised over 100,000 saplings and distributed them to social forestry programs and planted them on roads and avenues to enhance the green cover of Hosur.
The school advocates a zero waste campus, and bans the use of plastic. It recycles all used paper and converts it into handmade paper. The school uses this exclusively as stationery. Newspaper is made into paper bags by students. Thousands of these bags are distributed monthly to vegetable vendors and supermarkets. This initiative in a small way discourages the use of plastic bags, which have filled the water bodies and blocked the waste pipes of Hosur.
The garden waste and waste paper is converted into compost to be used as manure for the trees and plants in the campus. Grey water is harvested to conserve water and is used for watering the garden. We have also minimized water wastage by reducing the water flow in taps.
As a school we have felt the strong need to be systematically involved with the community and initiate collective action and decision making in order to bring about meaningful change.
The Community Development Program is an effort to make students conscious of their social responsibility. CDP initiatives focus on responding to specific felt needs of the community, it is concerned with fostering participation of all stake holders, and supporting and strengthening the community. The engagements become personally meaningful and beneficial for all. As a school we have decided to work on every project, we undertake, for a period of four years, to ensure sustainability. When Chennai was ravaged by unexpected floods in 2015, we responded to the dire predicament of a Government Girls School in Poonamallee, which was submerged.
We were the only school to help a sister school in distress. Our students and teachers embarked on the We Care project, where students of grades 6 and above worked for a month to raise money for the much needed renovation work. The students created art and craft products for sale, and raised funds. Additional funds were raised through the contributions of teachers, alumni and parents. The money was used to construct a toilet block, and to bring to working condition, the existing toilets in the Government Girls School. Teachers and 40 alumni volunteers spent 3 days painting the classroom and giving the school a gleaming new look.
Three Government schools in the neighbourhood needed libraries, but were woefully short of funds. TVSA students and staff decided to celebrate significant days in their life by contributing books to set up these libraries. Book shelves were built during the carpentry class in the school. We printed library cards, set up a system for issuing books, and trained the Government school teachers to read and retell stories. Libraries have been set up in the Government schools of Thippalam, Mullainagar and Anthivadi
Saradheswaram is an orphanage near Hosur, founded by a retired teacher. The children who have been abandoned by their families are rescued and are looked after by the organisation. The students belong to various age groups, and the older girls take care of the younger ones. Students are divided into small groups who share and do things together, and bond together like in a family.
TVSA has begun working with Saradheswarm to help in whatever capacity they can. Students from TVSA Hosur (classes IV to VII) with a group of teachers and parent volunteers visit this orphanage every third Saturday. The day begins with a session of Yoga and meditation and is followed by several activities like storytelling, art and craft, singing and games. Students from TVSA also help the school going students with their science and math.
Ramanamaharishi Sevashram is an old age home, near Hosur. TVSA Students from grade VI and VII look forward to visit and spend time with these elders, whom they have come to regard with affection and almost as members of their extended family. The students share their interests, and talk to them about their family and school. In return the ’paatis’ and taataas (grandmothers and grandfathers) tell them stories about their lives and teach them songs and games. It is so heart warming to see how eagerly these elders greet the students, and the great affection that has grown between the children and the elders.
Students, as part of their CD initiative, proactively respond to some of the urgent needs of children in the neighbourhood schools. In one instance, we learned that absenteeism of girls in the neighbourhood government school was high due to lack of water connections to the toilet. A pipe line had to be laid from the community water tank, located in the school ground, to the toilet block. Money was raised from the alumni, and the pipes were bought and the teachers and students of TVSA helped to complete the work. Today the absenteeism is much less, thanks to the work of the TVSA students and teachers.
To prevent the abuse of compound walls in neighborhood schools, the TVS Academy students painted the compounds with wall murals, adding color and verve.
TVSA has initiated a program on healthy food, in 8 government schools. This program is to be conducted by parents who are nutritionists. The Alumni who are keen to support our community work have also been actively involved in conducting career awareness programs in the government schools.