This section gives details and updates of recent construction projects and updates to Free Student Homes.
1) Specific FSHs Sponsored by SF Bay Area Individual donations
FSH Sponsored by Smt. Kaveri Rangaraj, Chunchanakatte, Mysuru, Karnataka (2017)
The FSH is now completed on time and on budget. Smt. Kaveri has also funded water cooler and water purifier for the FSH, so the students can have a clean supply of drinking water available. They are also installing a solar water heater and solar panels for electricity.
Story and updates on this project here
There was an existing FSH hostel operating from a leased building that was in a bad shape. Smt. Kaveri Rangaraj funded the construction of a new building for the FSH in 2017.
Interview with Kaveri Rangaraj
Kaveri Rangaraj grew up in the Mysore-Coorg area and they used to visit this area and the banks of the Kaveri river (The Ganges of the South) as she was growing up.
Chunchunakatte is located on the Banks of Shri Kaveri. Kaveri attended the college nearby. Her parents were Government officers and education was very important to
them and same was inculcated in their children and family.
What prompted you to sponsor a FSH?
Kaveri: I grew up observing children who were smart but unfortunate because they were poor and did not have the means to get an education and lift themselves and their
families out of the cycle of poverty and petty labor jobs. I wanted to give back to my motherland but, didn’t have a channel to do that before. One needs a trusted channel that uses the money wisely, has low overhead and the intended recipients get the benefit of the donation. I felt that it was like “pouring oil/ghee into a lamp to light the flame”, the flame of education.
How much were you involved in the tactical construction of the FSH?
Kaveri: I was not involved much. I was sent the drawings of the new FSH etc. I preferred to leave the work and decisions on-the-ground to the professional engineers, architects and others, physically present in the region.
What is your involvement now that the FSH has been completed and is functional?
Kaveri: I am planning to visit the FSH in December and meet the children staying there and the manager, Ms. Gayatri.
What are the future plans for the FSH?
Kaveri: I am funding a water cooler and water purifier for the FSH, so the students can have a clean supply of drinking water available. They are also in the process of
installing a solar water heater and solar panels for electricity.
Did the project meet your expectations?
Kaveri: Yes, so far. I haven’t personally visited the FSH. But in terms of being on budget and finishing on time, it did meet the targets.
In summary, Kaveri wanted to give back to India, her motherland, from where she got so much, her education, opportunity to come to the US and make a good life for herself
and her family. The best way to give she felt, was to give a gift of education to the underprivileged children, so they have the means to uplift themselves. This is a gift to benefit the future generations and is long lasting.
FSH Sponsored by Sri Ramesh Kesanupalli (2014)
One of our AVC volunteers mentioned to me about one of his friends Ramesh Kesanupalli. Ramesh was keen on extending philanthropic support in memory his late wife, Sowmya Kesanupalli, who is remembered fondly for her compassionate nature. He came to know about the AIM for Seva program and how it reaches out to the community, Ramesh decided to support the effort. When we met 2 weeks later after an information session with the visiting Swami Tattvavidanandaji, Ramesh handed me a check which was much larger than I was expecting. He magnanimously enlarged his donation soon after that, to a level enough to build a brand new Free Student Home in the memory of Sowmya. I am grateful to Ramesh for having the confidence in our program, and for his generosity.
Interview with Ramesh Kesanupalli
AVC – Namaste Ramesh, Thank you for your gracious support to the Aim for Seva initiative. How did you hear about the Aim for Seva program and what influenced your decision to support the program?
Ramesh – Prasad, a family friend mentioned about the AIM For Seva organization, and then I heard from Sreenath Garu that he was also approaching AIM For Seva for the project in Penumale. I merely connected the 2 dots and did what I could to keep my Late Wife’s memories alive.
AVC – How was the land acquired for the Sowmya Kesanupalli Free Student Home?
Ramesh – By gift from “Punyakoti” Indiramma Penumale Venkataramaiya Trust, Penumale, with an area of 1.10 Acres.
AVC – How did the construction begin and what are your observations regarding the construction effort?
Ramesh – A reputed Architect was appointed and tenders were called for. The work was allotted to the lowest tendered keeping in view the contractors reliability and Experience. The Architect along with engineers, has visited the site during the course of construction. The contractor’s bills are paid after certification from the Architect. Materials used are from reputed companies. The entire work is supervised by the trustees of “Punyakoti” trust, one of them being an Engineer and another is a banker.
AVC – How long did it take for the the construction to complete? What is current phase of construction?
Ramesh – The FSH roof has been laid and construction is expected to be completed by August 2014.
AVC – Did you visit the construction site?
Ramesh – Yes, I did while the foundation stone being laid.
AVC – Did the construction meet your expectation?
Ramesh – I have not visited the site after the “Bhumi puja” function.
AVC – What is your vision regarding the future of the Sowmya Kesanupalli FSH? Do you have any suggestions regarding any improvements to the program to address the needs of the deserving students?
Ramesh – I wish that the FSH will provide opportunities for all round development of the children for a bright future. I wish that the FSH will run to its full capacity of 50 children. I propose to attend the opening ceremony of the FSH during which time I will interact with all the stakeholders and provide feedback for initiating suitable steps. Personally, I am willing to provide the necessary support on a regular basis as best as I can.
50 FSHs sponsored by USA chapters, Overview (2018)
Art for Development (Feb 2017)