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Driving Access to Education : A Collaborative Effort

Samatvam Trust collaborated with Microland Foundation and United Way of Chennai, to provide a fully functional school bus to the Government Higher Secondary School, Sreemadurai, Gudalur, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.

The Government Higher Secondary School, Sreemadurai was established in 1927 and is managed by the Department of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu. It is situated in rural Gudalur block of the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu State. This co-educational school has a strength of 434 children with 181 boys and 253 girls. Currently 21% of the students are from the tribal community. The lack of transport facility was the main deterrent for children to attend school. Most of the students found it challenging to be regular to school, especially during adverse weather conditions or when the public transportation services were unavailable. Students who travelled long distances either on foot or by any alternative means were exposed to various safety hazards like road accidents, encounters with wild animals (in the rural belt) or harm from strangers.

To address the challenges faced by the students in commuting to school and increasing accessibility for students in attending School, Samatvam Trust collaborated with Microland Foundation and United Way of Chennai, to provide a fully functional school bus.

A used bus was procured and completely overhauled and refurbished. Two CCTV cameras were fixed with features of two-way communication, night vision, parking sensors and GPS tracker. New tires, hand brakes, air filter and battery were installed. The bus meets the safety standards stipulated by the local RTO.

The District Collector, CEO, School Principal and Gram Panchayat have assured that they will operate the bus thereby fulfilling the objective of the project, and hire a driver and female conductor for the children’s safety. They also have the requisite finances to cover the maintenance cost for the bus.

The bus service was inaugurated by Ms. M. Aruna, I.A.S., District Collector and Magistrate, Nilgiris District and Ms. Geetha, Chief Education Officer, Department of School Education, Nilgiris District. On this occasion Ms. Aruna said, “This occasion marks a monumental step in bridging the gap in access to quality education for tribal children by providing safe, hassle-free transportation facilities. Doorstep pickup ensures no child is left behind in their pursuit of education.”