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Truchy VILLAGERS of Ootathur and Saradamangalam have spent over Rs 3 lakhs out of their pockets to renovate two panchayat union elementary and middle schools in Pullambadi taluk. Over a period of five years, the villagers have provided almirahs, chairs, inverters, recreational items, built boundary walls, installed cooling sheets and even laid tiles in restrooms of the schools. The two villages, 36 km and 45 km from district headquarters, respectively, have over 60 schools. Ootathur Panchayat Union Elementary School has over 193 students and seven staff members. About five years ago, a Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meeting of the elementary school noted with minimal funding from the government, upgrading the school had become a tedious task. Parents, along with villagers, then came up with the idea of contributing small amounts to en-sure the school's upkeep. Speaking to Express over the phone, C Ravi, the school head-master, said villagers have provided all the requirements by understanding the needs of school students. "Their contribution is bearing fruit now, as the items provided have been of big help to the students," he said. A teacher who has been working in theschool for over nine years, said students' involvement in their studies has improved, thanks to the help from the villagers.

 Villagers recently installed cooling sheets in classrooms by spending over n lakh and built a nine-feet-high boundary wall. S Radhika, a contributor and
parent of a Class II student, said the villagers had decided to make the donations of their own accord. "We have contributed a total of Rs 3 lakh to up-grade the school and infrastructure developments made recently," Similarly, a Panchayat Union Middle School functioning at Saradamangalam in Pullambadi taluk has started English-medium classes from this academic year with the help of villagers. Singapore-returned villagers had formed an association and were providing plenty of sup-
port to the school, said R Selvarani, WI` headmistress of the school. "The group of Singapore-returned Tamils in the village has been supporting us for over two years and we also receive funds from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) on the government side. But the latter amount was not enough to upgrade the school facility," said Selvarani. With the school being up-graded, Class I enrollment has risen to 24 compared to 15 last year. Currently, there are around 113 students in the school, she added. Class VII stu-
Ootathur Panchayat Union Elementary School Total amount contributed by the villagers: Over ' 3 lakh Materials contributed: AIM' rahs, chairs, Inverter, fan, recreational items, Installed cooling sheet, raised the boundary wall. Saradamangalam Panchayat Union Middle School Total amount contributed by the villagers: Over ' 4 lakh. Materials contributed: Whitewashed the school premises, built a centre-stage, laid tiles in the restroom, distribute prizes at the time of school events.
student T Arthi said Saradamangalam villagers have helped the school by whitewashing the premises, laying tiles in the restroom and built a central stage for cultural events and awards ceremonies. T Pichaipillai, a contributor from the village, said, "The idea was initiated in 2015 and now the association has over 95 members."

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