In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, HOPE foundation started two schools in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu. Nagapattinam was one of the worst affected areas, sustaining three-fourth of fatalities in Tamil Nadu during the disaster.
The Samsung School of HOPE in the village of Chinnangudi is one of them. 232 children from eight remote villages in the area study here. The school is within walking distance from their houses and has modern amenities. The students are provided Midday Meals. Established in 2006, the school was so named to acknowledge the Samsung CSR initiative that helped the school’s construction. Samsung employees raised $2 million for the United Way South Asia Tsunami Response Fund, and United Way International subsequently pledged their support here for 15 years.
The other school is in Tharangambadi, where 483 children study presently. The lack of an English-medium school in this fishing village compelled us to start the school in 2005. Qualified teachers from nearby villages have helped us make the school more efficient and effective. It is supported by our partners such as Philips, Samsung and SAP Labs, in addition to United Way’s contribution.
Initially, the students were provided free books, uniforms, tuition, meals and transportation. Now, they pay a nominal fee of Rs 100 ($1.84) a month, to encourage parents to value the education more. Other English-medium schools in the district charge fees of Rs 30,000 ($553) annually.
These two schools have not only made quality education accessible to the fishing communities in the area, but they are also helping change the common belief that children are better off helping with work than studying – boys assisting with the fishing and girls managing homes. The schools attract increasing number of students each year.