Educational and Welfare Activities

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The following information is from Educational and Welfare Activities section of the Adyar TS website.  Listed are all the schools that the US Federations, Lodges and Study Groups can contribute to.

The Olcott Education Society is the body established by the Theosophical Society to carry out its educational and welfare work at the Headquarters. It includes distinguished educationalists and social workers, and has as its Chairman the President of the Theosophical Society. A large majority of its members belong to the Theosophical Society; the others are sympathetic to its aims. The Olcott Memorial School, the HPB Hostel, the Social Welfare Centre, and other activities, function under its aegis.

The Olcott Memorial School - One of the first items of welfare work taken up at Adyar was the education of the poor and the deprived; for soon after the Founders came to India, Colonel Olcott began the pioneering work of establishing free schools for boys and girls from the lowest strata of society. After his death, two of these schools were aptly named Olcott Memorial Schools. They were later merged into one school catering for poor children in the Adyar area.

The Olcott Memorial High School is located in the southeastern part of Besant Gardens. It provides free education for over 700 underprivileged children, both boys and girls, and also free textbooks, uniforms, a nutritious breakfast, and enriches a mid-day meal provided by the government. For further information, please visit the School website by clicking the following address:

A Craft Centre started in 1988 gives instruction in such skills as carpentry, plumbing, screen printing, gardening, home craft and tailoring. Music, dance, games and scouting are part of the program. The School seeks not only to give a good education and vocational training but also to instill a sense of confidence and dignity as well as provide a happy atmosphere for children from deprived homes.

HPB Hostel - This hostel, founded in 1971 and named after H.P. Blavatsky, offers free board and lodging to students of the Olcott School and some others. They are sponsored by members of the Theosophical Society in various countries and given parental care by the Warden. Staff members from the Krishnamurti Foundation's school next door, situated on the Society's campus under a lease agreement, have been helping to run the hostel on the right lines and also guiding the children in the Olcott School with their studies and activities.

Social Welfare Centre - The Social Welfare Centre, located near the main gate of the Estate, cares for about 200 infants. It runs two crËches free of charge for the children of poor working mothers in the neighborhood, and a pre-primary school which provides education to children aged 3 to 5 years. In addition to a nourishing breakfast in the morning, the children are given a midday meal.

Poor women of the area receive training in sewing and handicrafts, the products are sold, and the proceeds help supplement the women's income. A Medicare Centre provides free medical aid to poor persons in the neighborhood.

It is proposed to expand this welfare work, and for this purpose a Social Welfare Endowment Fund has been set up, to which well wishers may contribute.

Animal Welfare Centre - In 1968, the Theosophical Society erected a building in Besant Gardens for running an animal dispensary, with facilities for hospitalization when necessary. Recently, an Animal Welfare Endowment Fund has been started and an awareness campaign to reduce cruelty and inspire compassion is being planned.

On 16 July 2000, the International President Mrs. Radha Burnier inaugurated the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary in the Besant Gardens premises. Animals are being treated on a regular basis.

Vocational Training Centre for Women - This Centre was established in 1999 for training young women as domestic help in households. They are trained in ethics and etiquette in addition to the various aspects of household work. There is a growing demand for such domestic help in the upper/ upper middle strata of society in India and among the Indians living abroad. The remuneration is attractive by Indian standards.

Besant Scout Camping Centre - A place of much interest to children in Chennai is the Besant Scout Camping Centre at the southern end of Olcott Gardens. In a large clearing, shaded by trees, scouts, guides and other young campers can pitch their tents, live outdoors, and meet each other to discuss, talk and play. The Centre's kitchen is provided with cooking utensils, and tents may be hired for a small fee. Boys and girls come by the hundreds to enjoy the relaxed, sylvan atmosphere of the centre, especially at weekends.

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