Brother Siga Animation Centre (BSAC)
In 2015 we were fortunate in finding a like-minded organization, Brother Siga Animation Centre (BSAC). BSAC is based in a deprived area in North Chennai. They work in local slum areas as well as in nearby rural villages where there is extreme poverty. Their three main focuses are on education, child rights and skill building.
BSAC was founded by S. Shanmugam in 1984 and was inspired by his role model, Brother Sigamany. The latter apparently influenced local youths, including Mr Shanmugam himself, to change their destiny by contributing back to society in some way. BSAC’s tradename Aarvam meaning Interest, Affection, Love was coined by the children themselves.
One of the main aims of BSAC is to encourage reading through their reading enhancement scheme and they particularly target children between ages eight and ten, as they noted that this is a crucial age for encouraging ongoing schooling. They run a resource library and also have ‘Book fairies’ going in to six local corporation schools for two hours a day to encourage reading and story-telling. Over the years they have also encouraged story writing and have published several stories by local children. Since they started working in the area, the school drop out rate has reduced significantly from approximately 50% to near none. BSAC currently runs six after-school supplementary education centres in North Chennai slum areas and also a further twelve rural education centres in Gumuripundi near Chennai. We have learned that for their supplementary education centers, BSAC has been using Aid India resources, materials and also their training methodologies.
BSAC focuses on Child Rights by running child participation groups and giving parent education on important matters including child abuse, child prostitution and the right to education.
BSAC supports children and young adults from age eight to twenty years old. Apart from basic education, they offer support in skills development to improve employment opportunities by offering computer training, tailoring, other apprenticeships.