On Monday September 7th, I arrived at the Thulasi Centre in Kingston-upon-Thames home to the Centre for Community Development charity. Though I have been here before, this place never fails to amaze me. It is a small building nestled behind a take-away on the main road, and completely inconspicuous apart from an entrance set into a small side lane.
Yet when you walk inside, this place transforms. The receptionists, while looking at me a little quizzically (they don’t often see students here apart from for designated events), were very friendly and welcoming. When I mentioned the project coordinator’s name, they immediately directed me to the room in which we were to have our first meeting.
The Centre for Community Development charity shares this venue with the Tamil Information Centre and you can instantly notice their presence here. The small room contained two computers and was lined with bookshelves on all four sides, with stacks of books and folders overflowing onto the floor in a few places too! I was able to pick out the folders labelled Tamil Women Development Forum. This is the individual project within the Centre for Community Development that I will be working on for the next few weeks and part of my project is to collate all their documentation, including audio and visual records.
After reviewing the plan for my project in our first meeting, most of my first week was spent analysing the material in these folders. It was quite a humbling experience as I truly appreciated how vital this project was, how effective its work was and the duration of the project. Many of the reports I consulted were as much as ten years old!
One of the main aims of my project is to evaluate the successes and shortfalls of the organisation and to that end I will be conducting interviews with some of the members of the Tamil Women Development Forum next week. I left the Thulasi Centre on Friday evening with an appreciation of how important my project was and a renewed sense of determination!