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Archive for October, 2008

Plans for Sunday’s Medical Camp

Friday, October 31st, 2008

The details for Sunday’s medical camp have been just about finalized:

  • The camp will begin at 12:30 and will last for approximately two and a half hours
  • We have several doctors coming – and thank you for volunteering your time!
  • This is going to be a general medical camp, with a focus on men, since they have had no specific camp to address their needs in the past. However, it will be open to all people.
  • The camp will be held in its usual location, at the Ramavaram slum, in the laundry facility area that has been generously given to us. Our email is and our telephone number is +91 9789901650. Click here for directions.

  • We need all the volunteers we can get to run this camp, as many of our members are tied down with exams. Please let us know if you can help run this event!
  • This will be our final medical camp of the year, and probably our final major event for the year as well.

Hope to see you there!

Directions to Ramavaram Slum

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The Ramavaram slum is located directly off of Poonamallee High Road. The nearest landmark is the MIOT Hospitals.

After reaching Kathipara Junction travel down Butt Road and turn right to Mount Poonamallee Road (towards Porur.)

Travel for about two kilometers. You will come across the bridge. Beyond the bridge is MIOT Hospitals. The Ramavaram slum is located before this bridge and is the immediate right before it.

View Larger Map | View in Google Earth (.kmz)
This information will be posted at

Ramavaram Video Clips

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

On our first visit to Ramavaram, on March 8th, 2008, Alex Myla took a short video clip of our activites on his cellphone. It shows a little bit of the slum, the riverbed where the residents wash their clothes, and some of our members playing with the children and distributing food.

Though the clip is a little short and blurry, it captures some of our earliest moments and it also shows more of the slum than can be demonstrated in pictures.

On Sunday’s Diwali trip (October 26th, 2008), I took a similar pan of the Ramavaram slum. Watching these clips together demonstrates the effect of the recent rains on the Adyar river, which is now quite full.

Medical Camp, Sunday November 2nd

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

There has been a little confusion regarding this Sunday’s medical camp, but we are happy to announce that its still on. The camp will be conducted by some of the postgraduate students and interns at Sri Ramachandra University. It is going to be this Sunday, November 2nd, and it will be in the afternoon (around 12PM.) Stay tuned for the official timing which will be announced as soon as possible.

The afternoon timing was chosen because, first of all, most of the doctors will be busy before then. Secondly, many of the residents work on Sundays, and by having it in the afternoon, we may be able to reach them as they come home from their work.

We really need help to run this event! We need doctors, of course, to practice – currently we have only two confirmed. If you are a doctor (intern or postgraduate student) and are interested in working at this event, please let us know! In addition, we need volunteers to run the camp itself. Please let us know if you are interested in working with us. Our email is and our telephone number is +91 9789901650.

Hope to see you there! Profile

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

We now have a profile on, a website started by the NGO Action Without Borders, which “connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.”

Various NGOs from around the world put up profiles on this site, along with their events, promotional materials, campaigns, and activities. They put in jobs and volunteer opportunities and find other NGOs with similar projects to collaborate with.

Its a great idea and it has a lot of potential to enhance the activities of all these groups through the power of the internet.

Take a minute to check out our profile. We hope that we’ll be able to work with other groups and find more help through this excellent resource.

A New Way to Celebrate Deepavali

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Yesterday’s trip to Ramavaram was quite fulfilling in many respects. We have been collecting clothes for quite some time with the intention of distributing them house to house, but we were never quite able to mobilize such an operation. Now that Deepavali has arrived, in addition to the torrential rains, it seemed like the right time to do this.

One thing that has been especially educational for me is understanding how important it is that we approach a community with a strong view towards their needs. Because of all the difficulties that people have been facing at Ramavaram, it was imperative that we pay attention to their immediate need for food and clothing and that we address it as soon as possible. It is something that has been difficult for me personally to handle in a way that is not at odds with our strong belief in moving the community from dependence on others towards self-sufficiency. Sometimes it is important to deal with the concerns at hand before trying to move on to bigger things. Small steps are the only way to move towards a better relationship and understanding between us and those we are trying to help.

Overall, I think it was one of the best ways that I have ever celebrated Deepavali. It is the festival of lights, after all, and what better way to bring light to our surroundings than to make a few lives slightly easier for a short while, at least?

Happy Diwali!

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Photo: Wikipedia

Good morning everyone!

On behalf of everyone at Sangam India, we wish everyone a Happy Diwali. We hope you all have a wonderful day on this festive occasion and remember those who may not be so fortunate enough to celebrate it.

As Ahrar wrote yesterday, we had our Diwali celebrations yesterday at Ramavaram and we all had a wonderful time sharing our day with the residents there.

Deepavali Varthakal!

Diwali Celebrations

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

To celebrate Diwali, we decided to hold a clothing drive for the residents of Ramavaram. This event had been in the planning for the past few weeks as we had people send us clothing from all over the world. The clothing drive began at 7:30am where we divided ourselves into four groups. Each group was responsible for distributing the clothing to their respective blocks they were assigned to. The clothes were sorted according to the ages and genders of the family members of each household. This made the distribution not only more organized but reduced the chances of any problems arising as well. Aside from the clothing drive, we also decided to distribute food to each household. This was done based on the complaints we had received regarding the shortage of work due to the rain. Each family received two kilos of rice and lentils that would help them for a few days.

All in all, today’s trip to Ramavaram was an overall success. We were able to distribute the food and clothing smoothly and I got to see some newcomers: Zuhra, Zahara and Praveena. We hope to see you at more of our events!

Special thanks go to Vasundra, Pamela, and the rest of the girls who helped organize the clothes. Without them, this event would not have been possible. And of course, thanks to everyone who generously donated their clothing to support our drive.

Happy Diwali!

Diwali Preparations

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
Here are some photos from our Diwali preparations that currently going on. Our members in the girls hostel have put in a phenomenal amount of work in sorting, folding, and organizing the clothes in order to prepare a package for every household in Ramavaram.

The project starts tomorrow at 10AM. We’d love to see you there! Please contact us if you want to help in the distributing of clothes.

If you have any clothes (new or gently used) that you would like to donate, now is a great time to do it. Please let us know as soon as you can. Thanks to everyone who has donated clothes and made this effort possible!

Also, as we mentioned before, we are purchasing 2 kilograms of rice and half a kilogram of dhal for each of the patients. This is to help to recover from the very heavy rains. We did the same thing earlier this week and it seems like the food was really needed. The weather hasn’t gotten better and so we’ll be doing it again. Please let us know if you’d be willing to sponsor this, as it is a very expensive project.

Diwali Clothing Drive and Next Food Donation

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Diwali Preparations

Diwali: The Festival of Lights.
Photo: Wikipedia

Do you have any new or gently used clothing that you won’t be using? Would you like to donate it for a good cause?

Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, is coming to Tamil Nadu on Monday, October 27th. We have decided to celebrate it this weekend (either Sunday or Monday) by a clothing donation. Our aim is to give an article of clothing to each of the residents of Ramavaram. Many of the people at Ramavaram have one, or at most, two, articles of clothing. The importance of this activity is further highlighted by the heavy rainfall which has an adverse situation on their lives.

If you have some clothing to donate and can get it to us before this weekend, please contact us. We’d really appreciate your donation!

Food Drive

Ganesapuram subway in Pulianthope, Chennai, on Tuesday.
Photo: The Times of India

A day after our food donation, and the rains have been coming down hard. Today was especially heavy and we were all glad that we gave the food yesterday. It has undoubtedly been put to good use feeding the families of Ramavaram when work is scarce.

The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good and the families in slums like Ramavaram will, as always, be the hardest hit.

Because of this, we have decided not to serve curd rice as planned during our Diwali trip and instead we are going to be serving raw materials, like we did yesterday. In difficult times such as these, this goes a lot further in helping the residents.

As posted before, this is an expensive endeavor. It comes to approximately Rs 6,500 (USD 130) to feed 100 families. If you would be willing to sponsor this food for even a few houses, please contact us. It would make a big difference!