Signature Programs

Katradi After-School Centre

In 2018, Thilagavathi Palani, principal facilitator of Katradi and an accomplished Kattaikoothu performer, approached Katradi founders and spoke of her dream of building a centre for the children in her village. She showed photos of a dingy, abandoned room, with crumbling walls and broken floors, lit with a single tube light where older children helped younger ones with their homework. Impressed by the spirit of this community, Katradi built a small centre in Kalavai Kootroad village meant for 40+ children. Thilaga also pioneered an Outreach programme to serve children in far flung tribal communities like Irular and Boom-boom Mattukarar

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We built a strong group of youth running all our sessions on gender, caste, environmental awareness, life skills development using Kattaikoothu theatre, Bharatanatyam and Ultimate Frisbee. We ran our signature Lorry Lolakku performances in 2018 in those districts, where several of the children participated in building awareness on gender equality, fighting stigma against menstruation, speaking up against child marriage and more.

Gender camp

The gender camp in May 2019 held at the Centre hosted 15 youth from Arunodhaya Centre for Street and Working Children. This urban and rural exchange was a huge success and the youth leaders that emerged from the programme spearheaded different activities at the centre once the COVID-19 crisis struck the following year.

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Covid-19 crisis

Since March, 2020, when the first lockdowns started, government schools haven't reopened. Since children in government schools haven't gone to school the whole year, especially classes 1 through 8, the Katradi After-School Centre, at the request of the local government authorities, amped up its activities to provide children with a safe space as well as creating exciting learning activities with sports and Kattaikoothu dance-theatre. The strength of the Centre has doubled to 62+ children from the age of 5 through 17. We built a new floor to accommodate more children with appropriate social distancing. Many thanks to our principal funder Dindugul Thalapakatti Hotels!!!

Free kitchen

In August and September, 2020, the Katradi After-School Centre at Kalavai Kootroad started a free kitchen, feeding 150+ kids who were falling into malnutrition since Government schools hadn't started and they could not access that one meal a day. The kitchen was also open to old people and parents who could not afford to cook. The kitchen was closed when parents finally got work and could provide for their children.

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We have initiated a project to create a mobile School-in-a-bus with the objective of stopping cold labour and helping children gain the year they have lost in their education. Many children have lost a year in their education and when schools start, wherever that is, there seems to be no plan to help chicken address the last year's syllabus that has been amandine. For example, how will a child enter 5th grade and cope with science and mathematics when s/he has not studied the 4tg grade syllabus?

What is even more alarming is that they are being pulled to work and support the family. We know the vicious cycle of child labour never stops if the children are looked upon as a source of income or labour. The hard work over the past decades to sensitise communities about child labour and integrate children into schools has suffered a severe setback. Teenage pregnancy, child sex abuse, child marriage are on the rise since children have no place to go to. So Katradi has moved swiftly to create the School-in-a-bus project where books, educational materials and teachers will be ferried to local communities surrounding our centre and work with children. Teachers will set up a school under an attached awning or a tree so school can be safely conducted in the open air following appropriate

COVID-19 safety measures:

There is also an accompanying mobile library component where facilitators from the young Kattaikoothu artistic community have created Koothu literacy modules to help children improve their Tamil and English reading and writing skills.

We have started fundraising for this project and aim to start in August. To know more, please write to Donate Now