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Archive for the ‘meetings’ Category

Rang De

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

It’s been one more long hiatus since you, our loyal supporters, have been updated on our activities here at Sangam India. We’d like to share something exciting that came up yesterday. We met with the CEO, Ram, of an organisation called Rang De ( Rang De is a microlending organization based in Chennai and consists of a dynamic group of people who really want to make a difference. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting with them and are looking forward to working with them in the future. Please do check out their website for more information.

Rang De is hosting a fundraising concert on May 1st at 6 pm at Buck’s Theatre, YMCA, Chennai. The main artist will be Swarathma, an Indian folk band with a socially conscious message. Tickets are available at, or you can approach us for student tickets. The great thing about this concert is that Rs. 100 of your ticket cost will go to an investment in Rang De and its borrowers, and will come back to you. So you can listen to great music AND make a difference! Let us know if you’d like student tickets, or you can buy regular tickets online.

Please make sure you visit their website at

General Body Meeting, August 11th, 2009

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

This past Tuesday, we held our General Body Meeting, for members of our group. It was the first such meeting since the one we held this past January. During the meeting we briefed our members on:

  1. Our organization and its purpose, as well as an introduction to the board members.
  2. Registration forms were filled out. If you would like you fill out a registration form, we invite you to do so.  You can visit and fill out a form on the internet.
  3. Our committees were introduced
  4. Past projects – we briefed our members on events that happened since the last meeting in January including the projects that we had undertaken and the fire that occurred in the Ramavaram slum in June.
  5. Setup of the organization – explaining the working of abroad teams and local teams to work on various projects
  6. Future plans in the MGR Nagar slum
  7. Asked for input - most of the input regarded how we can expand our member base and get more youth involved from other colleges.

Minutes of Meeting, August 4th 2009

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Today’s meeting covered a variety of topics:

  1. Legal Work
    • Trust Deed is being developed
    • Hope to achieve status within the next 2 weeks
    • Various issues were discussed, to be raised with the lawyer.
  2. Financial
    • Need for a new treasurer, several candidates were discussed.
  3. Education
    • Welcoming to the new educational committee – Vidyalakshmi, Adya, Ashita and Lekha.
  4. Summary of Saturday’s Programme
    • Summary by Vasundhra
    • Taking attendance, taking videoclips to help the abroad team and to get volunteers. Will help improve accountability with the students there.
  5. Seminar with Prajna
    • “Education for Peace” seminar
    • Meeting with people from other NGOs
    • To be summarized in a future post
  6. Health Camp Plans
    • Plans were discusssed regarding a future health camp in the MGR Nagar Slum.
  7. General Body Meeting
    • Projected for next Tuesday, August 11th
    • Building Projects – Roofing and Community Center
    • Need for help of a civil engineer, various possibilities discussed.
    • If you can help us, please let us know.
  8. Plan for this Saturday
    • Educational Programme to be conducted this Saturday. Planning by the Educational Committee and to be executed by the local Educational Team.

Minutes of Meeting Held on July 28th, 2009

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Today’s meeting covered a large number of topics:

  1. Introduction
    • Introduced to board to new members of the group.
  2. Legal and Financial
    • Made progress today as we found a lawyer to work with, who will be guiding us on the procedures necessary to register our gruop. We are going to be corresponding with him and sharing our documents. In addition, several of our members have committed themselves to seeing this project through to completion.
  3. Summary of the FGD
    • Providing safe households with roofs
    • Common bathrooms
    • Children’s education – especially an English Programme
    • A Balwadi/Creche arrangement is being considered
    • Interested in vocational training, especially home based activities
    • Identified alcoholism as a major problem by men
    • Interested in computer education
    • Some women expressed dismay that they could not afford for their children to pursue a higher education
    • Possibility of a medical camp in the near future.
  4. Survey Results
    • Toilet facilities were in a poor shape
    • Garbage facilities were also nonexistant
    • Health facilities – most people utilized local pharmacies for their health related needs.
    • Alcoholism was again identified as a major problem.
    • There was a demand for english education, computer and basic finance education.
  5. Health Camp
    • Vandhana to look for another organization to work with and to discuss matters with the Councilor
    • Specialties that are seen as needed are gynaecology, psychiatry, general medicine and pathology.
  6. General Body Meeting
    • Projected day is Tuesday, August 4th.
    • Venue will be announced later.
  7. Roofing concerns
    • To get an estimate of roofing costs
    • Discussed possibility of subsidizing the roofs
  8. Calendar Meeting
    • Members to decide their perceived priorities
    • Katie to help organize these priorities into a list
  9. Plan for this Saturday
    • Educational Programme is planned for this Saturday
    • Educational Committee to develop the plan
    • Vasundhra and Nivedita to run the programme.

Minutes of the Meeting held on July 21,2009

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
  1. Feedback on the survey:
    • Mostly a success except for a few parameter that need to be revised
    • The inhabitants of the slum were rather co-operative
    • Immediate requirement-sanitation facilities
  2. Plan for the coming weekend
    • Has been shifted to Friday, 24/07/09. Plan on being at the slum by 4:30PM.
    • Objectives: To start with a Focus Group for Women; To complete the survey.

Meeting Minutes, July 7th 2009

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Today’s meeting covered:

  1. Summary of Saturday’s visit
    • Met Perulmalswamy
    • Found two slums, approximately 350 houses in total.
    • Several houses were burned down in the second slum
    • People seemed receptive to our help.
  2. Discussing the online Twitter presence
  3. Pros and cons of adopting the new slums
    • Along the river- risk of demolition
    • Discussed new plans by Indian Government to be ‘slum free’ by 2013.
  4. Decision made to start in a new place
    • Census to be taken by the community
    • Survey to be done to cover the following aspects: socioeconomic information, sanitation, education and healthcare.
    • Probably to be done on Saturday, July 18th, 2009.
  5. Survey plan in the works
  6. Activity for this weekend (July 11th, 2009)
    • Reading with the kids/simple games
    • Mapping of the community.
  7. General Body Meeting
  8. Legal discussion

Meeting Minutes, July 30, 2009

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Today’s meeting was short and simple. We discussed the following:

  1. Finding a new slum to work in.
    • Talking to other organizations in the area, and which have experience working with slums
    • Going on a trip perhaps over the next week to see nearby areas
    • Talking to government/public health officials
  2. Working in the small community opposite the former Ramavaram slum
    • Starting with a meeting in this community to understand their needs and build a relationship
    • Focus will be mainly on health education
    • Planned a trip for this Saturday, to be run by Nazneen.
  3. Discussed details of our new internal organization
    • Discussed the plans whereby international teams collaborate via internet mediums, and share their devleopment plans with the Indian-based teams.
    • Importance of researching topics and staying alert on the news affecting underprivileged communities in India.
  4. Wrote short bios for the board members to be featured on the upcoming website
    • May be shared on the blog soon!

Meeting Minutes, June 23 2009

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Today’s meeting covered:

  1. A review of Sunday’s visit
  2. Amudha and Meena’s Education
    • Apoorvaa and Malar are in charge of this effort.
  3. Plans with the Ramavaram Community
    • Health Education Plans, being developed by Dr. Gayatri and Dr. Anita
    • Merit-based scholarships
    • Deworming
    • Periodic health camps
    • Partnering with another NGO
  4. Finding a New Slum
    • Developing an action plan
    • Acting as a bridge organization with other NGOs
    • Developing a Calendar
    • Going on a visit sometime this week to prospective areas and developing requirements for such an area.
  5. Legal
  6. Registration Forms
    • Board members filled out membership forms
    • To be discussed in a future blog post

Meeting Reflections – Moving Forward, Thursday, 18th June, 2009

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Today’s meeting was called in order to discuss the next plan of action regarding Ramavaram as well as Sangam India itself. Several of our members have raised concerns regarding our ability to provide relief and support for these people without becoming a crutch and crippling their independence further. Upon some deliberation, we have decided that immediate food relief is not a necessity, since they do have money to provide for themselves and their families. Since our funds are also limited, it does not make sense for us to give something that can come from another source. More importantly, it is essential that these people understand their responsibilities and do not shirk them. Alcohol consumption and a total disregard for the welfare of their families is becoming more and more rampant among the men, and we need to be careful not to encourage that sort of behavior.

Having said all of that, we also need to focus on what it is that we CAN do for these people at this point – what is our area of expertise and what is that we can provide that they will not get elsewhere? We have decided that the two areas where we will currently focus are a)health care and health education and b) clothing distribution. We will also help them with a gift hamper containing some basics for their homes, but not immediately.

We are planning a visit tomorrow where we will de-worm everyone, since they are living in close quarters with absolutely no sanitary facilities, and we will check all the children for malnutrition. In addition, we will provide some basic health education regarding precautions they need to take while they are in this position. We do need doctors for this, so if you are interested, please let us know.

Food, clothing and shelter are the three basic human needs, and of the three only food has been taken care of. Clothing is not as urgent as originally perceived, but would certainly help them. More information on a clothing distribution this weekend will be provided soon. We have heard a couple of suggestions on providing a tent to protect the people from the elements, but we are not sure yet how that will be undertaken.

Finally, the most important concept that came out of the meeting was the importance of self-reliance and empowerment. If we continue to do all the work for them, the ultimate purpose of Sangam India’s existence is lost. It is important that we guide them towards empowering themselves and representing themselves in the face of difficulty. We have identified one man, Mr. Pitchaimani, who can represent his community well. The members of the community accept his leadership. We will be working with him on speaking to government officials as well as on teaching the people to avail themselves of everything that the government offers them.

Organizationally speaking, we have decided that in these matters, we do need to request the assistance of other NGO’s in the area who work in these fields and have more experience than us. It is important that we do not bite off more than we can chew, and that we go about achieving our goals in the right way. If you know of any local NGOs that can help us in this, please do let us know.

Lastly, things are starting to settle down regarding Ramavaram. We are planning to keep our disaster management team working on this, and early next week we will start working towards identifying a new slum to work in, based on the extent of their need. Suggestions on where we can look are welcome. To do this, we need to expand our volunteer base, so please help us spread the word, especially within Chennai.

As usual, any thoughts, suggestions, ideas, comments or questions are welcome.,, or

Notes for Meeting Held on May 9th, 2009

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

In today’s meeting we discussed:

  1. Forming bridges with other NGOs in Chennai to help develop and execute our projects. The importance of this was especially seen in regard to vocational training.
  2. We discussed various personnel changes, including the addition of Priyanka Boghani as part of a US PR team.
  3. The Educational Planning and the Educational Committee.
  4. Various aspects of the Legal Committee, still to get NGO status in India and NPO status in the United States.
  5. The function of the PR section of Sangam India in regards to getting more people involved ad working with other NGOs.
  6. The possibility of health camps in the future.