NAGAPATTINAM: A Volunteer group and several contributors led by an engineer from Mayiladuthurai have pooled in Rs 7.7 lakh and constructed a new building for Selvam Government Aided Primary School in Thalaignayiru, which was damaged by Cyclone Gaja.
Direction For Volunteers (D4V), led by an engineer named R Ashok Raj (27), coordinated the entire process from setting up a layout to the inauguration of the building on Sunday (May 2).
“We thought of doing something constructive for damaged structures in Vedaranyam taluk, which was affected by the cyclone. We chose three government-aided schools managed by people with reasonable means. We pooled in most of our funds through an online fundraising platform and received contributions from many individuals, NGOs and companies with CSR initiatives.,” said Raj.
The school is a minority institution managed by MA Ahamed Thambi of Thalaignayiru. A total of 63 students from all communities attend the school. “We came in contact with them as we know Raj as an alumnus who was a cyclone relief volunteer. We are proud of him and grateful to all his sources,” said Thambi, the school correspondent.
The building has brought cheer to the school which has two government teachers and a private employee. “We were worried about admissions after the cyclone damage. Thankfully, we are getting a good number of admissions now,” said headmistress K Menaka. The building now serves as a classroom for Classes 4 and 5.
Raj started D4V as a social media group in 2015, It now has 3,000 registered members. He took up volunteering in his spare time and set up a network of coordinators in Chennai and other cities. D4V’s best work was for cyclone relief, where he handled 150 of his volunteers. The group started cyclone relief work two days after the impact. Raj started mobilising his Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam D4V teams from Chennai.