Neelam Educational Centers is among the initiatives of Neelam Foundation, an NGO which works with women and children at the grassroots. Filmmaker and producer Pa Ranjith is among its trustees.
The Neelam Educational Centers aim to bring out the talents of children from marginalised groups. The training programmes encourage creativity in children and offer them opportunities that they may otherwise never get.
Currently, there are 550 children in the age group of 5-16 years who attend these programmes. Every year, the organisation gathers children from across these educational centers for a camp where they can meet each other and pick up new skills.These include folk art (silambattam, paraiyattam, oyillattam, karagattam, kazhilattam), photography, mime, art and craft, revolutionary songs, rap and gaana, creative storytelling, sculpture making, filmmaking, theatre etc.
Speaking to TNM, Founder and CEO of Neelam Foundation Muthamizh Kalai Vizhi says, "The children will be trained by professionals and skilled trainers from the respective industries. We want to give the best for the children and support them for a better tomorrow."
This time, the winter camp will be organised in collaboration with the Don Bosco Youth Centre, Taylors Road, Kilpauk, Chennai. Around 250 children from Ramanathpuram, Arakkonam, Jawadhu hills, Vizhupuram, Chengalpet, Vellore, Sathyamangalam, Tiruppur, Pondicherry and Chennai will be participating.
The dates of the camp are from December 26 to 30.
The five-day residential camp is being organised with the support of 25 volunteers, and on the final day, the children will perform onstage.
"Every excluded child represents a missed opportunity. When society fails to extend to marginalised children the service and protection that would enable them to develop as productive and creative individuals, it loses the social, cultural and economic contributions that they could have made," points out Muthamizh.
The camp aims to educate the children in a fun-filled way, allowing them sufficient play and leisure. Muthamizh says that developing their cultural aesthetics will help children develop their leadership qualities and also boost their self-esteem.
The NGO requires Rs 4,50,000 to run the winter camp, which will cover boarding and lodging, food, payment for resource persons, materials and other costs. If you wish to contribute, you may do so here.