2016 Events


December, 2016
Baranica and Preethika continue their winning streak

Pudumai Penn sports scholars Baranica E (Ethiraj College) and Preethika A (TBAS College) participated in the 49th Dr. Sir. A. Lakshmanaswamy Mudaliar Silver Jubilee Commemoration athletic meet and secured the silver and bronze medals with vaults of 3m and 2.6m respectively. Another great win for our two scholars in a successful sporting year.

Baranica has been selected to compete in all India inter university meet, to be held in Coimbatore on the 12th of January 2017. All the very best!

December, 2016
Preethika and Baranica vault to first place

Pudumai Penn sports scholars continue to scale greater heights: this time at the recently-concluded district-level Chief Minister’s Trophy Sports & Games 2016 – 17. Preethika A and Baranica E outjumped the competition to secure first place in the pole vault event in the Chennai and Nagapattinam District Units respectively. They have both been selected to compete at the Tamil Nadu state level.

We are immensely proud and wish you both the best of luck and every success in your attempts!


13th November, 2016
Pudumaipenn expert talk – Giving and receiving feedback

We are all creatures of habit, and there are many things that others observe about us of which we are unaware. Feedback from those around us is therefore very important to help us improve on our weaknesses and make more effective use of our strengths. Done well, feedback is an excellent tool for learning but done poorly, it can lead to defensiveness, conflict or embarrassment. There is an art to both giving and receiving positive and negative feedback.

On Sunday 13th November our scholars went through a fantastic workshop by Rajani Sriraman on ‘giving and receiving feedback’. Rajani combined presentations, role play, and interactive questions and answers in a lively and engaging session. Our scholars are not likely to forget the ‘Johari Window’ or ‘SBI’ techniques anytime soon! Feedback from our students was excellent – some commented that after initial scepticism on the depth and relevance of the topic, they had thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a great deal from the session. We hope to see Rajani again amidst us soon.

October, 2016
Karpagambal wins the Ekalaivan award for academic achievement

We are delighted that R. Karpagambal, a new Pudumaipenn scholar of the 2016 cohort, is one of the recipients of the 2016 Ekalaivan Award for academic achievement. The Ekalaivan award, instituted by the Elaya Bharatamseva Trust, is given annually to students achieving the best results in their schools in the XII standard public examinations.

Karpagambal scooped the award for her outstanding performance and achieving one of the best results in her school, the Lady Sivaswami Ayyar Girls Higher Secondary School, Mylapore, Chennai. She is now pursuing a B.Com. qualification at the Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai, and hopes to start her own business as a Chartered Accountant. She also plans to help other deserving students fulfil their own educational ambitions.

Congratulations and all the best Karpagambal, may all your dreams come true!


October, 2016
Pudumaipenn career options talk on accounting

Our scholars, one and all, aspire to careers in their chosen fields of study, but have no personal contacts or guidance: so entering any sector might seem fraught with difficulties. The Pudumaipenn career options series of talks seeks to close this knowledge gap by providing our young ladies with mentors to demystify and clarify the process of entering any profession.

On Saturday 22nd October, the Foundation organised a talk by Mr. Annadurai on entering the finance and accounting professions for scholars doing commerce degrees. Mr. Annadurai, a Chartered Accountant and certified International Coach Facilitator, currently works for Sodexo. The session, conducted as a round table, was full of useful information and practical down to earth advice. It elicited great interaction and enthusiastic participation from the students.

Mr. Annadurai kindly offered to mentor and guide students preparing for the annual bank officers selection examination or to become Chartered Accountants. 50% of Pudumaipenn scholars are pursuing Bachelor of Commerce degrees: the Foundation extends its gratitude to him for this generous offer. The Foundation is also making arrangements to invite several more bank officials, Chartered Accountants and other finance professionals to speak to and mentor its students.


October, 2016
Workshop on converting dreams to reality

Our scholars come from underprivileged backgrounds and the obstacles they face in achieving their dreams are not just financial. Knowledge, awareness, self-confidence, social framework – they face a long and difficult journey towards their goals, making it tempting to just give up. It is part of our mission to equip our girls with the confidence, self-belief and management tools that will keep them effective, motivated and constantly pushing forward so that every journey ends in success, however they have defined it.

To this end the Pudumai Penn Foundation held its first workshop on “How to convert your dreams to reality” on Sunday 9th October led by Vidya Raghu . Vidya kept the audience spellbound with the right blend of guidelines, advice, stories & humour. She outlined a few simple, yet forceful tools to overcome ingrained negative mindsets and habits, with small positive steps adding up to the greater goal. The messages communicated in the workshop were reinforced through group discussions. All the students appeared serious and motivated about achieving the first step towards their dreams as early as possible. We will monitor progress in subsequent sessions.



September, 2016
Barnica vaults her way to silver

Barnica Elangovan of the Pudumai Penn 2015 batch has won the silver medal in the pole vault event in the Tamilnadu Inter District Junior Athletic Championships 2016. Barnica, a third-year B. Com. student at Ethiraj College, Chennai, is a Pudumai Penn sports scholar and dreams of representing India in the Olympic Games. Well done Barnica, we are so proud of your talent and hard work!

2016 inauguration blog_2
July, 2016
Dreaming the Impossible – Guest blog: Jacinta Jayachandran

July saw the inauguration of the third batch of the young women scholars of Pudumai Penn, where the parents of the scholars, as we call them, spoke with clarity about their ambitions and aspirations.

The young girls come from the financially and socially marginalized sections of the society and need financial support to pursue higher studies. One cannot fathom the nature of their struggle and the sheer audacity of their dreams and the strength of their purposefulness.

But to dream for your children, and actively search and find solutions to help them live a life of dignity and hope, is something that the parents of these young women strive for and deserve tremendous kudos for. They spoke about hope and about dreams, rather than fears and worries. That is a testimony to real parenting.

The most humbling and beautiful part of the evening was to listen to the young women speak of their own dreams and listen to Priyanka, Anandi, Divya, Preetha and G S Sridevi. They each committed to not just finding a better place for themselves in this world, but also contributing to creating a better future for other girls so that they can also grow, dream and lead fulfilling lives. This, for me, was a call to action for each of us.

I am compelled to recall Luther Vandross’ inspiring ode, “The Impossible Dream”.

“To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star.
This is my quest
To follow that star:
No matter how hopeless,
No matter how far…”
Let’s dream the impossible dream, and let’s reach the unreachable star.

June, 2016
Welcome to the 2016 batch of Pudumai Penn scholars!

This is the most exciting time of the year – when we meet bright, talented young girls from across Chennai to select the most deserving candidates for the next batch of Pudumai Penn scholars.

This year, twenty five young girls with outstanding academic track records were selected from 5 schools to participate in the programme. Over half the batch aspire to study commerce for a career in finance, with a number of engineers and doctors thrown in.

We asked some of the girls what their plans were and how they would use the opportunities presented to them. Their responses make for inspiring reading and have re-energised us to keep pushing ahead with our plans and programmes.

This is my first step towards my aspiration – a Nobel Prize in Mathematics.

Now, my father no longer needs to incur debts to educate me.

My father is a fisherman and is the only earning member of a family of five. I have two sisters and an ailing mother. This scholarship has enabled me to get admission in a reputed college at the right time.
This scholarship will enable me to learn more and earn more so that I can also help students like me to study.

My mother is my family’s only earning member and had to borrow money at high interest rates for my education. Now I will not burden her anymore.

This scholarship has enabled me to study in an English medium college which otherwise is not possible with my father’s income: he is a corporation sweeper.

24th April, 2016
Expert Talk: Konrad Fernandes and Sriram Ganesan, Crestpoint Consultants

The work environment today occasionally places all of us in a position of having to choose between profits and quality. However, it is essential to have a work ethic that guides our choices towards the right thing to do. This was the theme for the April 2016 Pudumai Penn Expert Talk, delivered by Konrad Fernandes and Sriram Ganesan of Crestpoint Consultants.

Konrad and Sriram brought home the concept of a work ethic in action with a building exercise, where the girls constructed a bridge at the lowest cost and quality. When they were told that they would be the main users of the bridge, however, the girls began to re-evaluate their choices. The group then discussed the components of a good work ethic – commitment, quality, ownership, accountability and integrity.

The thought-provoking talk brought home to the girls the point that ultimately, what you give life is what you get back. A good work ethic sows the seeds that yield lasting success and happiness.

4th April 2016
Expert Talk: Mr.V. Narasimhan, Head – Learning & Development, Sundaram Learning

Living your life without goals and objectives is setting off across unknown territory with no road signs and no road map. You have no choice but to make it up as you go along, reacting and responding to whatever happens, and hoping for the best. Only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all.

On the 4th of April Mr V Narasimhan, Head of Learning & Development at Sundaram Learning spoke to our scholars on goal setting. Using games and a number of interactive exercises, he gave our scholars the message that without a goal post all one’s energy is spent in vain. He explained how important life goals were and how we should move with them. The girls went through a personal goal-setting exercise and thought about how they would work towards their achievement. Both teachers and students came away from the session with renewed energy and focus.

March 2016
Expert Talk: Mr. Arvind Ashok, Founder of fitness company, The Quad Squad

A healthy mind works best in a healthy body. With the pressures of modern city life and stresses of academic achievement, many of us struggle to find the time and motivation to stay healthy and fit, leading to a number of side effects from weight gain to a number of chronic conditions from back pain to diabetes and heart disease.

To help our scholars get on the path to sustainable, life-long fitness and health the Pudumaipenn foundation organised an expert talk by Arvind Ashok, founder of fitness company the Quad Squad.

Arvind spoke about finding the right path in fitness and encouraged the girls to listen to their bodies and do what feels right. His suggestions for diet & exercise were down to earth, practical, and inexpensive to enthuse and engage the students. The girls responded well to his ideas and asked a number of intelligent and insightful questions.

February 2016
Expert Talk: Mr. S.Ramani, IPS (retd.), formerly Director General of Police,
Tamilnadu Government

Harassment of women – termed ‘eve teasing’ – is an unfortunate everyday reality for many women in India – whether students on their way to college, or women trying to commute to and from work. To equip our scholars to face such risks bravely and sensibly as they pursue their aspirations, the Pudumaipenn foundation organised an expert talk by the charming Mr. S. Ramani IPS (retd), formerly Director General of Police, Tamilnadu Government on ensuring personal safety.

Mr. Ramani spoke to our scholars on 1st February, sharing useful advice on personal safety as well as tips and tricks on staying safe when out and about. He charmed everyone by showing them a compact pepper spray for use in emergencies. The girls found the session extremely useful and after overcoming their initial awe of the speaker, engaged with him in a lively discussion.

January 2016
Pudumaipenn turns 2!

On the 24th of January we celebrated the second anniversary of the Pudumaipenn Foundation with over 180 friends and well-wishers, including our scholars and their families, our team of energetic volunteers and other members of the Foundation’s extended family.

  • The guest of honour was the motivational, inspiring Preethi Srinivasan whose short speech was mesmerising and touching. Her spirit was contagious and the girls were overawed by her strength and perseverance.
  • We were proud to recognise the progress made by our scholars through achievement and computer training awards, kindly sponsored by generous corporate donors.
  • We used the event to launch the Pudumaipenn invocation song, ‘भूतले भाति मे अनारतम् भारतम्’ written by Dr. Ram Kant Shukla. An ode to the diversity and beauty of our motherland, it is a celebration of India’s secularism that transcends religion and caste.

It has been a fantastic couple of years since our inception in May 2014. Our scholars now number 47 bright, dynamic girls who are working hard across a variety of disciplines from medicine to commerce to make their families proud. We look forward to a year full of progress, achievement and learning.