Staff Reporter

It is for the organisation's contribution to community development

CHENNAI: Aid India's Tamil Nadu chapter has been given the 'MIT Global Indus Innovators' award for its contribution towards community development. The award, instituted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was presented on Tuesday to the non-profit organisation, at Boston, in recognition of its services at the grass-root level.

Four specific initiatives of Aid India have been appreciated. A low-cost science experiment lab box for students of primary school was developed. The equipment needed for over a hundred simple experiments and a manual were made available at Rs. 2,500. "Science is a subject a child learns by experimenting. That's the only way a student will understand concepts. We decided to develop simple tools that would help demonstrate concepts," said Balaji Sampath, Secretary, Aid India.

'Village library bag'

Another interesting initiative was the 'Village library bag' programme, in which bags with over 50 books were given to volunteers in about 1,300 villages. Children could borrow books from these volunteers. Besides the already existing stock of storybooks, eight story cards were added to the stock every month. These cards have small stories with attractive illustrations that would make a quick, interesting read.

"Our survey showed us that a large percentage of children in classes three to five among lower income groups, couldn't read even one sentence of Tamil. We also found that there weren't enough books for children in Tamil," said V. Vasanthi Devi, president, Aid India.

This prompted the organisation to come up with small 15-page handbooks on a range of topics. Priced at Rs. two or Rs. three, over 1,04,000 copies of these books have been sold among children of rural areas last year.

Besides these, a seven-step module that trains a child according to his particular skill and level of receptivity was developed.