Our history, where did it all start?
Suyam started unofficially as a team of volunteers in 1987. We officially registered as a public charitable trust in 1999 by Dr. Uma and Muthuram. Our main objective was to provide education to children at primary schools, to provide additional tuitions, entertainment activities, and organise sports activities. We then extended our activities to include youth programs, creative stimulation camps, blood donation camps, and eye donation awareness camps. Dr. Uma, being a scout ranger, formed VISHAL ranger team. The VISHAL team organised several social activities, and forest trekkings. In 1999, after having served our local comminities over 12 years, we registed as Suyam Charitable trust.
Suyam’s activities fall under three areas:
Our earliest memory was when we met a group of 50 families found begging in Chennai. We helped these families by providing education and organising various weekend activities. Initially the families were tentative with our help but with time, the families began to appreciate our work, and their engagement with us improved. From their feedback, we rented a small premise to start Siragu Montessori School with just 30 children, 40 kms away from Chennai City at a small village near IAF Avadi. In July 2003, the then ex-Governor of Tamil Nadu, the Rt. Honourable Mr. P S Ram Mohan Rao visited Siragu and appreciated the efforts taken by Suyam. In September 2004, in an unfortunate fire accident, our school was completely destroyed be the fires. However, the fire accident didn’t dampen our spirit and within two days, we relocated the school to a neighbouring village. After 6 months, we moved to our own land at Palavedu Pettai village, IAF Avadi, Chennai.
Now Siragu is in its 18th academic year with well over 400 children. In 2015, we introduced Higher Secondary Curriculam, and since then, we have had 5 batches of students graduate from Siragu. . By showing heartfelt gratitude, Siragu alumni along with our staff, conduct classes for available residential children (yes, even during the difficult Covid times).
In 2017, we started our Siragu gaushala (cow shed) to save native breeds of India. We have 6 cows and 2 calves. The residential students of Siragu manage the gaushala and look after the animals.
Since 2003, we have run an organic farm at our Siragu school. We grow organic vegetables to support our Siragu kitchen. We grow Methi leaves, Tomatoes, Mustard leaves and so on. Our Industrial college students also help us out in running our organic farm.
In 2008, we took over the management of Bharathamatha school in Vyasarpadi, Chennai with a strength of 40 children. We bought the premises and re-constructed the school with better facilities to educate slum dwellers of North Chennai. As of March 2020, we have a strength of 60 children.
In 2019, we started Siragu Industrial College to provide vocational training programmes to support economically deprived youths across Tamil Nadu. As of November 2020, we have a strength of 10 beneficiaries and growing!. All the beneficiaries are deputed as trainees at Organic Agri Farm based in Pondicherry. The students are provided with a small stipend towards educational support. Alongside their training at the farm, our students are also studying retail management course named BVOC (Bachelors in Vocational Training).
In 2001, when a severe earthquake struck Gujarat, a small team (of ten volunteers) headed by our founder, Dr. Uma, camped at Bhuj (a district in Gujarat) to provide medical and educational support to local people. We stood up tents to provide medical assistance and also took classes for local children.
In 2004, Tsunami stuck several coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, India. A team of volunteers headed by Uma did field work at Akkarai Pettai, Nagapattinam district to help out local fishing comminities in clearing up dead bodies and provided medical assistance and food. We also built school facilities (fences, classroom furnitures, and an activity center) that is still functioning.
In 2006, we were actively involved in supporting communities affected by floods. In 2015, we also supported several local communities in Tamil Nadu affected by floods. Well over 10 districts, over 30,000 families were given food, dry rations, medical kits, clothes, bed sheets and much more. In December 2016, support were extended to flood victims - we donated foods, clothes and medical kit.
Since March 2020, we have been supporting communities in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, and Chengalpattu districts affected by Covid. We have distributed over 4.5 million Rupees in the form of food, dry ration, preventive medicines, medical kits for children and babies, and baby food. We have also released several covid awareness videos. All of our covid related support activities are still ongoing.
In November 2020, the Nivar cyclone struck the northern region of Tamil Nadu. We have been distributing food, which is continuing as there are constant rains.
Without the support of many our well-wishers, volunteers, philanthropists, instituional and individual donors, we wouldn’t be here where we are supporting local communites.
Suyam is now run by a team of trustees: