– By Sarah Lieberson
Consultant – Cuomo Foundation
The Mambakkam Project is the 7th school to be built by the Cuomo Foundation since its involvement with education and access for disadvantaged children in Tamil Nadu that began in 2001.
The project is unique, in that it is the first school the Foundation has built to strict ‘green/environmentally friendly’ guidelines.
Designed by an Indian Chennai based young female architect, it has been awarded the prestigious IGBC ‘Platinum’ rating. It is the first green school to benefit and educate disadvantaged children and built in a rural area to receive this level of award in Tamil Nadu.
The 31 new students at Amala Annai Higher Sec school who make up the Green Team (7th-10th standard) and the Junior Green Team (6th standard)—all graduated from the existing old secondary school and primary school in Mambakkam.
A communication/teaching project created by the Foundation, in collaboration with an Indian partner, aimed at encouraging action could highlight the resulting health benefits and the importance of making changes now to benefit the next generation.
To create these future ‘Green Warriors’ it is essential and crucial to have the understanding and total support of all the staff and church members involved with the running of this school.
The Foundation has built an important new school not only because it has been successfully awarded the Platinum IGBC certification but that it is the first green school to be built for disadvantaged, marginalised children.
Historically all other Green schools have been built or adapted in urban areas to benefit the highest profile of student in society. The fact that this new school is open and caters for the most ‘downtrodden’ in society and is situated in a rural neglected region is to be applauded on many levels.
After all the hard work, commitment and effort of all involved in the Mambakkam project, the Foundation aims to continue to protect and be proactive on that substantial investment.
The Foundation has indeed evolved and expanded its global scope of work. The completion and IGBC recognition of the Mambakkam project gives it the perfect opportunity to shift and change how it operates in Tamil Nadu and to explore other collaborations and partners who also share the Foundations concerns for protecting the environment and supporting the children of today, who are tomorrows world citizens.