Cognizant Foundation's Inauguration - (by Aditi Chandran)
On Wednesday June 13th we were fortunate enough to host prominent members of the Cognizant Foundation at Uluru to inaugurate their generous donation of 38 new desktops and a brand new server for our computer centre, the Vicki Standish electronic Education Centre, along with new laptops and fans for the Cognizant Foundation electronic Classroom on Wheels (eCoW).
Mr K. Balaji, Director, Mr S. Madhavan, CEO and Ms. Sumathi of the Cognizant Foundation travelled to Uluru from Chennai for this great event. Although Mr Madhavan has visited us before for the inauguration of eCoW, it was seven years since his last trip so there were many positive and significant changes for him to see too.
We began with a tour starting at the boys dormitory, heading from there to the main part of the Uluru Children's Home, then to the Admin & VSeEC courtyard and the
They were very interested to hear the story behind Bodhidharma and his 'return home to the Kancheepuram District' courtesy of TEWFI!
From there we all moved on to the Uluru Nursery & Primary School and toured the
Classes were in full swing with the children actively engaged in learning with their
teachers and the use of a variety of interactive digital media.
Our Cognizant Foundation guests seemed very impressed and we were truly gratified that they took some time to talk to our teachers and our children.
Next we were all treated to a folk dance performance by some of our Uluru Children's Home school children.
After the performance, our little lead dancer gave a short thank you speech (in English, of course!).
From there we moved on to our eco-centre. Our environment team headed by Mr. Sudhakar deserve kudos here as they had put together a beautiful presentation of the centre, including displays of some of the medicinal and herbal plants grown in our nursery, the seed bank created and maintained by our Uluru children and displays of local coastal flora and fauna.
Our guests loved the idea of the free nursery for the community and the education and assistance provided to community members along with the plants themselves. Mr Sudhakar had then arranged a surprise addition to the agenda and had each of our guests plant a tree in the beds between VSeEC and the school. This lovely gesture was both
well received and much appreciated.
On from there to the focal point of the event - VSeEC itself.
And so the ribbon was cut and our newly equipped centre was officially opened!
Our staff with help from our children had the place looking absolutely fantastic and Sangesh had put a great “Thank You Cognizant Foundation” screensaver with a courtyard background on every one of the 38 brand new screens!
All of our older children who had helped along with our staff attended the event, including the health centre staff and Dr Premnath who had come over from the clinic just for the event.
We began with a welcome and a brief history of our relationship with the Cognizant Foundation which began with the eCoW project – the first mobile classroom of its kind in the world at the time- and our hopes for a continuing relationship going forward.
We then spoke about some of our exciting plans for the new computers and VSeEC including increased training and educational programs, outsourced employment opportunities for the community and a technology incubator.
From there it was over to our Cognizant Foundation guests to say a few words. How wonderful it was to hear Mr Balaji say that he is looking forward to a continuing long relationship with TEWFI!
Mr Madhavan's speech was equally rousing and inspiring and he was extremely gracious in praising our staff for their great work.
We finished the ceremonies with a thanks from the Founder and then headed off to cut the ribbon on the bus followed by photographs and lunch.
I must say I was incredibly proud of our staff and children who put a lot of work into making it a really lovely day. My special thanks must also go to Sangesh who has been invaluable.
It was truly gratifying to see our work and efforts here at Uluru being appreciated by a corporate donor of the calibre of the Cognizant Foundation.
We are very grateful to the Cognizant Foundation for their invaluable support.
With love from Uluru,