Long Term Projects


CASCADE Montessori Rural Resource Centre in Jamunamarathur

Jamunamarathur is a small rural town on the Jawadhu hills. It can be reached from three different places by road, viz., Vellore, Polur and Vaniyambadi. Regular buses are operated from all these three different areas. Though there are many villages in and around Jamunamarathur, the town has primarily settlers from different parts of the state. Tribals form the main population. They speak Tamil and most of them are into farming.

Relief Foundation started with a small survey in this area before building a centre to ascertain the needs of the people. While there were few schools run by Government and private players, people still felt the need for a learning space for their children that would offer quality education at an affordable cost. Educational reforms are the need of the hour, but definitely not at the cost of losing the culture and tradition of a community. Relief Foundation does not believe in an educational philosophy that makes the natives feel bad about their own culture. For several decades, Montessori philosophy has proved that a child receiving practical life experiences at an young age that are culturally relevant, does not forget or ever feel bad about his/her own culture. Our experience in the past with schools in the rural areas where we implemented Montessori philosophy also strengthened our hands that we were sure that we were walking in the right direction.

We have built a centre for children, which has a section for toddlers up to 3 years, a section for 3 to 6 year olds and a place for children above 6 years to come and use in the evening. The construction began in 2014 and the building was opened for children in 2015. A trained adult in Montessori philosophy and education takes care of the centre. While in the morning it functions as a full-fledged Montessori environment for children between the age group of 2 and 6 years, in the evening it functions as a resource centre for children studying in different schools, aged 6 and above. Ever since its inception, the centre has seen several challenges with respect to admissions, retention of children, convincing parents about the method of education, finding the right people to lead the centre, and many more. We are happy to say that we have been successful so far in not only having sailed through these challenges but also, we have been able to make meaningful differences in the lives of children and their families.

Some of the major highlights of this project are:

  • Regular parents' circle (once a month) where the adult discusses from the books of Dr.Maria Montessori and makes connection with the lives of children in the community for parents to understand the philosophy
  • We have implemented dry toilet facility for the first time. The human waste is converted into manure.
  • Organic Farming happens within the centre premises. Children watch the process and also actively take part in watering the plants & trees.

The centre strives hard to inculcate a culture of prioritizing education for children among parents. When education becomes the priority, all the other social evils will automatically vanish. Relief Foundation sees Education as a means for community development.

  • Tribal Life
  • Beeman Falls
  • Lake
  • Zoological Park near Amirdhi Village
  • Vainu Bappu Observatory in Kavalur Village
  • Trekking (after obtaining permission from Forest Department)
  • Local wildlife

Visit other project:
  • In Vallambedukkupam in Gummidipoondi Taluk, Thiruvallur District.