2019 Events


“8th & 9th August 2020 (1st batch) and 29th & 30th August 2020 (2nd batch)
Life Skills Workshop by Cognizant Outreach Volunteers

When it is hard to even do a life skills program virtually, Cognizant Outreach volunteers made it highly engaging so that each student was able to understand more about life skills. Topics ranging from ‘Looking within and finding your true self’, ‘Importance of Speaking Out’, ‘Face the World’, ‘Stress Management’ and ‘Importance of Goal Settings in life’ were presented in (activity based) interactive sessions and conveyed in a non-preachy manner.


23rd February 2020
Developing a Positive Mindset by Rajini Sriraman

Sunday 23rd February witnessed a large gathering of our scholars, across all years, for Rajini’s session on “The power of Positive thinking”.

The session began with dealing with one’s Fears. Accept yourself, Act in time and Emerge boldly was the message.

The girls were divided in groups and were encouraged to share their top fears. Stage fear, Fear of being judged, Fear of expressing ones views, Fear of exams, Fear of speaking in English were some of the recurrent fears expressed.

Through an interesting activity Rajini encouraged the girls to open up, express themselves and liberate themselves from these Fears which were limiting them

“Fears is an Energy and a Time consumer” was the takeaway from the exercise.

Having set the set the stage and a positive energy in the room, Rajini then demonstrated how each individual was responsible for “creating one’s own happiness”

The brain is an adaptive organ. The brain can be rewired and planted with positive thoughts. The girls went through an exercise which demonstrated how every negative thought can be converted into a positive one. Remove all mental barriers. Have a positive mental image of yourself, Build emotional and mental immunity, Expect the Best were the strong messages.

The energy in the room was high at the end of the session and it was evident that the close to 70 participants felt stronger about their ability to overcome their fears and create their own happiness.


February 2nd 2020
Team Work and Interpersonal Skills by S.Chandrasekaran

The core message of the session was that “Communication plays a big part in our interpersonal relationships”. S.Chandrasekar demonstrated this with several examples and simple activities.

Activity 1 – The girls were asked to move around and greet each other in a perfunctory manner. After that they had to switch to greeting each other warmly.

The take away from this simple activity is the change in Energy. A warm greeting always makes both the recipient and the giver more energized! If we approach people warmly, almost always, it is reciprocated.

The next lesson was that for each of us our name is our brand. And the behaviour we exhibit creates that brand. Giving several examples he demonstrated how we have good intentions, but the tone we use when we communicate and our choice of words, often do not convey our good intentions.

“Always understand the “purpose” of the communication, then the right words and the right tone will automatically come” was the oft repeated message.

The girls did an interesting activity, wherein they listed their “Relationship Shrinkers” and their “Relationship Flourishers”. This exercise made them introspect and realize how their own behaviour can impact other people’s behaviour both in a negative and positive way.

The third activity required the participants to convert many YOU (blaming) messages to “I” messages, which are nonaggressive and therefore more productive.

It was a very engaging session with lessons that our scholars can carry for life !


January 5th, 2020
Create and set Your Own Goals by Vidya Raghu

Vidya started the session by establishing that “Energy is core” to success. And that each one’s mantra should be to “Grow Grow Grow”

The girls were taken through a short visualuzation session of what they want to achieve by January 2021 and how they would *feel* having achieved that dream. Some of the girls were invited to share their dreams and Vidya stressed on how important it was to invest in helping themselves achieve that dream. Giving several relatable examples Vidya demonstrated how small steps taken with the right attitude and in the right time can lead to achieving one’s Goal. The girls were urged to “SEE your Goal, FEEL your Goal “.

The second half of the session was spent on setting Goals that were Specific, in different areas of one’s life and tips on how to take stock and measure success. There might be temporary setbacks, but “Do not compromise your Goal for the temporary problem” Vidya repeated .

The session ended on a HIGH Energy note. Each participant was asked to set and review their individual Goals and share it with the group during the course of this week.

A highlight of the session was the involvement of our Alumni.

At a meeting conducted with the Alumni a few weeks and facilitated by Rajini, many of them volunteered to support. One of the suggestions was that they share their real life experiences of the “world of work” with our current students.

Two of the alumni working with leading IT organisations were present for the workshop. Both girls urged our scholars to be regular for the sessions that are conducted by the Foundation. They said it was only when they met their peers at work that they realized the advantage they had from the mentoring received at Pudumaipenn. “Focus on your Goal and work towards it !”, they urged the current batch.

It seemed to give the students a lot of confidence when someone who had also studied at a Government school like them could stand in front and talk confidently about her experiences at work. Sreedevi referred to the tips she had got at The Interview Skills session (kudos to Kalpana !) that helped her at the final interview at Cap Gemini .

This is a great initiative and we hope it will accelerate in momentum!

December 22nd 2019
Alumni Workshop of Pudumaipenn by Rajini Sriraman

It is six years since Pudumaipenn was launched, and in the last 5 years around 50 plus students have graduated. Many of them have joined various leading organisations based in Chennai, and a few have opted for higher education and are pursuing post graduate studies of their choice. A couple of these graduates have got married opting for domestic bliss and home making. That is their choice but not a desirable outcome for Pudumaipenn graduates. Hopefully they will take up something at a later date after taking care of their family needs.

Pudumaipenn Operations initiated a chat board for alumni to keep them engaged in the Foundation activities and to have a discussion on their experience in their work environment. We also wanted to find out how much of the skills building that was done for our students benefitted them and helped them slide into their organisation smoothly and settle down to do their work with ease. We also wanted to find out if there were any gaps in our understanding which we could address and thereby enrich our current skills program. But as most of them were very busy with their work and personal pressures, there was hardly any conversation in the chat board. The students were familiar with each other, but they could not open up on the issues they faced at work and any help they needed.

It was then decided that a face to face workshop may be a good option to initiate discussions with our Alumni for mutual benefit. It was welcomed by most of them and they agreed to come on a Sunday for discussion. The date was fixed for 22nd December, a time which is a fairly relaxed holiday time in most organisations. Around 25 Alumni participated which was heartening. Our volunteer and veteran Facilitator Rajini Sriraman volunteered (on our request) to facilitate the discussions.

Feedback given by few alumni are shared below:

Alumni 1

I felt so happy to come back to the place where i have learnt many things because Pudumaipenn has made me realize who I am and where I am. All those workshop are now helping me a lot. Not only me every one of us is now ready to face everything. Now I am able to speak in English without any hesitation. Its because of Pudumaipenn. Thanks to each and everyone. Eagerly waiting for next meeting.

Alumni 2

We are all attending the alumini meet with excitement and happiness. It is all about the knowledge Pudumaipenn gave us and how well we are able to apply the same in the real world. It is a great honor for us to share feedback and suggestions of our graduation journey. We are proud to share our experiences. Thank you so much for giving this wonderful opportunity of meeting again and sharing our experience.

Alumni 3

The alumni meeting reminds me the classes we attended a years back and it has been the great experience to share our views and to stay in touch with Pudumaipenn

Overall what we gathered was that the Skills program was very successful and had given our students an edge in their workspace as expected. They also would like us to keep an online repository of the workshop contents for them to refer when needed. They also felt the current online English language program needs to be strengthened by a few interactive sessions.

One happy outcome of this workshop is that many of the early Pudumaipenn graduates would like to support the Foundation which helped them and volunteered to help us in workshops and mentor their juniors. This is a wonderful gesture and we gladly accepted. And we are proud to have so many volunteers who will mentor and guide our future students


December 15th, 2019
Diversity and Inclusion- facilitated by Jacintha Jayachandran

Jacintha started the session by drawing attention to the fact that our world is populated by people of diverse backgrounds . India itself is a country that is so diverse in every aspect. Culture , food , language, dress , customs etc. Using illustrative examples she demonstrated how as Indians we recognize the Diversity that makes up India , however we are not inclusive in our behaviour and attitude .

So while Diversity can be classified as Data , it is our behaviour that demonstrates Inclusiveness.

With several real life examples Jacintha drew attention to the fact that preconceived notions lead to biases that prevent inclusiveness ; whether it is at work , home or a social setting. The message that was driven home was that in the world of work in particular , it was necessary to be sensitive to a) Gender differences ( male female , transgender etc) b) Differences that arise out of Geographical distances c) biases that could arise due to co-workers who belong to different Generations d) People who are differently abled.

The clear take away for the participants was that our success and ability to function well is linked to how Inclusive we are of people with diverse backgrounds history and capability.

The success of the session can be judged by the following message sent by one of the participants currently in her final year of college , to Jacintha .

“I am scholar from Pudhumai Penn foundation. Really I enjoyed this session and I learnt how to behave and embrace all in the society . It will be very useful to survive in the world in the way of good manners. Thanks a lot mam for spending your time with us and for giving us a good message.”


November 17th, 2019
Improving English Communication through the use of Games – facilitated by Bhavani Raghunandan and support by Prathima Rajan & Aarti

The 17th of Nov saw students playing a game called JAM – standing for Just a Minute. The game was to help improve their spoken English skills. They were given ten topics like their favourite actor, food, dress, teacher, movie, song, social cause etc. they were asked to prepare to speak for at least a minute on any one topic that they would get by picking lots. The students were far more confident speaking about these topics and had a good time. At the end of the session, the resource persons gave a general feedback on their performance and tips on to how they could improve.


November 10th, 2019
Improving English Communication through the use of Games – facilitated by Bhavani Raghunandan and support by Prathima Rajan & Aarti

A game called Shipwreck was conducted on the 10th Nov 2019. The principle of the game is that the participants are all travelling on a ship, which is sinking. There is only one life jacket with the captain. The participants draw lots one at a time and take on the personality of the name given in the slip they draw. Each of them has to argue and justify in one minute, why she is the one (as the person she represents) who needs to be given the life jacket and saved. At the end the participants themselves judge their friends and decide who has to be saved depending on how convincing her argument was.

Through this game they practice their English speaking skills, learn to listen and make a fair judgement, and since the facts about 25 well known people were given to them it helped improve their general awareness.


October 06th, 2019
Communication Improvement Workshop – a leading MNC CSR – Toastmaster Initiative – facilitated by Bharath Nagarajan and Jayashree

The Second session in the series of workshops started with the recapping of the topics discussed on communication and with few scholars sharing the write-up “Tell me about yourself”

The first topic covered was Interpersonal communication. Bharath addressed the different types and importance of interpersonal communication viz., ease of conversing (small talk, telling facts, opinions and view points and personal feelings), negotiating, defusing verbal criticism and positively affirming one’s stand. The session was interspersed with activities and slightly touched upon human values.

The Third session in the series was on Etiquette and was led by Jayashree. She had explained the different types and importance of etiquette in the corporate world with small magic indicates “yourself is your first inspiration”. She explained about body language and gestures to be followed, mistakes in etiquette and a mindset towards etiquette. The session included different activities for the participants.


October 13th, 2019
Communication Improvement Workshop – a leading MNC CSR – Toastmaster Initiative – facilitated by Bharath Nagarajan and Reena G.S.

Objective:

The “Recruiter’s viewpoint” session was the 4th and final session in the series of sessions facilitated by Bharathkumar Nagarajan. It was conducted by Senior HR consultant Ms Reena GS as a leading MNC CSR-Toastmaster initiative. The objective of the session was to give an awareness to the audience about the aspects that a recruiter might expect from their candidate so as to choose them as a prospective resource to their organization.

Summary:

The session included areas like attitude needed by the candidate, what are the dos and don’ts before appearing for an interview, how and what to prepare, a couple of mock-interviews and some activities. The audience were able to get a complete picture of the learning program by connecting the learnings from the earlier 3 sessions and converge to this final session. They also revisited their old queries now with a new viewpoint.


October 06th, 2019
Communication Improvement Workshop – a leading MNC CSR – Toastmaster Initiative – facilitated by Bharath Nagarajan and Jayashree

The Second session in the series of workshops started with the recapping of the topics discussed on communication and with few scholars sharing the write-up “Tell me about yourself”

The first topic covered was Interpersonal communication. Bharath addressed the different types and importance of interpersonal communication viz., ease of conversing (small talk, telling facts, opinions and view points and personal feelings), negotiating, defusing verbal criticism and positively affirming one’s stand. The session was interspersed with activities and slightly touched upon human values.

The Third session in the series was on Etiquette and was led by Jayashree. She had explained the different types and importance of etiquette in the corporate world with small magic indicates “yourself is your first inspiration”. She explained about body language and gestures to be followed, mistakes in etiquette and a mindset towards etiquette. The session included different activities for the participants.


September 22nd, 2019
Communication Improvement Workshop – a leading MNC CSR – Toastmaster Initiative – facilitated by Bharath Nagarajan , and supported by Vidya Raghunathan

Workshop commenced with Vanaja addressing the students on the importance of improving their communication for leveraging employment opportunities and growth subsequently. She also stressed that mere degree certificate may give them a job but not a successful career. For that they should meticulously plan and attend all the workshops to improve their general awareness of the expectations of work environment. Expressing their thoughts well is a key requirement associated with their career growth. Vanaja also thanked Vidya and Bharath who made this workshop possible before the final years get ready to face job interviews.

Bharat Kumar Nagarajan who runs the Toast Master Club within his organisation, shared his insights on the importance of the communication with a funny video and how communication should not be.

1) First he talked about the inspiration, collaboration and time management. He quoted the below Thirukural and explained about the power of communication

சொலல்வல்லன் சோர்விலன் அஞ்சான் அவனை
இகல்வெல்லல் யார்க்கும் அரிது. (647)

Solalvallan Sorvilan Anjaan Avanai
Ikalvellal Yaarkkum Aridhu. (647)

Translation

Mighty in word, of unforgettable mind, of fearless speech,
‘Tis hard for hostile power such man to overreach.

Explanation It is impossible for any one to conquer him by intrigue who possesses power of speech, and is neither faulty nor timid.

சொல்லாற்றல் படைத்தவனாகவும், சோர்வு அறியாதவனாகவும், அஞ்சா நெஞ்சங் கொண்டவனாகவும் இருப்பவனை எதிர்த்து எவராலும் வெல்ல முடியாது.

2. He gave inputs to overcome the communication barrier

a. Prepare and practice

b. Observe others opinion or the matter of fact they convey to us.

3. He gave the following tips

a. Dress code is more important.

b. Breathe a lot of time so that your tension gets rid off.

c. Speak up with your ideas when in groups.

d. Writing improves your concentration increase the vocabulary.

e. The way of giving feedback is very important.

4. He explained the types of communication and how to communicate with hands on activities

a. Verbal communication

b. Non-verbal communication (91% of the people understand non-verbal communication)

Finally pairing program was suggested for the below activities, where two people work tandem to attain the goal

1. Have a write-up on “Tell me about yourself” in 150-200 words.

2. The 2nd person review and provide effective feedback to the first person and vice-versa.


September 01st, 2019
Interviewing Skills workshop by Kalpana

The 2019 – 2020 Skill Development Workshop commenced with Kalpana facilitating a wonderful session on “Preparing for a Placement interview” for all our final year students .

Vanaja highlighted the importance of English language skills in securing employment and career progression of the students. Also introduced Bonnie to the scholars.

The session covered various aspects like how to dress for an interview , how to enter the interview room and the initial greeting , documents to carry , body language during the course of the interview , sample of questions one can expect and the appropriate responses.

Kalpana displayed a whole list of the typical questions asked to freshers .

Example

a) Tell me something about yourself

b) What are some of your achievements and failures

c) Why do you want this job

d) How do I know you can be trusted with responsibilities

e) Why should I hire you etc.

Using short role plays the girls were encouraged to respond to these questions and were given tips on what is appropriate to disclose at this stage and why.

Giving several simple examples from daily life Kalpana demonstrated how it was easy to convince the Interviewer that the Interviewee has traits like “Eagerness to learn”, “Flexibility” “Decision making skills” etc; all skills that are critical in a job environment !

The session wrapped up with an assignment urging each student to do a self audit and note down one’s strengths , achievements , examples to demonstrate the above and areas for improvement .

The girls were very “present” throughout the session and we were amazed how most of the girls had such varied talents and interests.

Natarajan who was also present shared some of his thoughts . Kalpana’s passion and energy was so infectious, the session ended on a high note !

August 25th, 2019
Improving English Proficiency – Hindu STEP Introduction session for 2019-20 Batch Scholars

Bonnie A Jose (The Hindu Group) , Vanaja Arvind , Madhavan from Pudumaipenn commenced the session with the students ably assisted by few of Pudumaipenn scholars from previous batch who had volunteered to assist the new batch to get familiar with the application.

Vanaja highlighted the importance of English language skills in securing employment and career progression of the students. Also introduced Bonnie to the scholars.

Bonnie briefed them on why STEP (Standardised Test of English Proficiency) is more useful to them in learning the language than from grammar books and Explained that STEP will help them to speak, write and interact with confidence.

Out of 24, 22 scholars have participated and completed the pre-test and started the 40 days course. They have been given 3 months’ time to finish the course.

This year the Hindu Group, apart from providing the foundation the licenses to use, have shared their dash board /report to monitor students’ progress weekly. This will enable the foundation to ensure that the learning journey initiated on 25th continue without interruption.


March 10th, 2019
Reach out to Excellence by Unni Nair

Sunday 10th March saw our final workshop for the academic year: “Reach out to Excellence”, conducted by the inimitable Unni Nair. It was an energetic, invigorating event where lessons on how to move from mediocrity to excellence were passed using a mix of video clips, anecdotes, activities and sing alongs.

Inspiration included an an elderly gentleman who first took up running as a sport at the age of 97; Sergey Bubka who beat his own Olympic record 14 times; Jessica Cox, who learnt to fly even though she had no arms, and more.

Using a group activity that was done in groups, the girls understood the difference between kinetic energy and potential energy and how to tap the latter to reach excellence.

An interesting activity entitled “The cup of life” demonstrated that it is possible to fill one’s life with different goals to make it more meaningful and complete.

The session ended on a high note and the girls are now focussed on their exams. All the best to them!

March 03rd, 2019 StressWorkshop on Work Ethics and giving Back by Sara Kachwalla

Sara’s session on 3rd March ’19 on “Work ethics and Giving back” was highly appreciated by the final year students. Since each of them would soon be moving into the” world of work” , she started the session stressing on how it was important to move from being an Individual to have the ability to work in a team .
To explain the concept she used KASH as a guideline.

KNOWLEDGE – Be a lifelong learner. And one can do that by cooperating with co-workers, by being adaptable, by sharing one’s own knowledge and by interacting and learning from others

ATTITUDE – Always have a positive attitude. Concentrate on what is going right . Speak up and never be afraid Express yourself and communicate what you are thinking and feeling .

HABITS – Always ensure you demonstrate and cultivate Habits that are appreciated at work Always be punctual. Listen to what others have to say. Greet others cordially. Be appreciative. Ensure good grooming . Always be Grateful.

The session was interactive and with Sara demonstrated each of the points with interesting examples. The first half of the session set the stage for the second half “Giving back” The girls were asked to do a short Gratitude exercise. They were encouraged to think what that were grateful for. Going round robin , each one present had to share something they were grateful for using a letter in the Alphabet . It was an interesting thought provoking exercise. Post the exercise every student was encouraged to share how they would “give back” , either to someone in their immediate circle or family or to society.

Sara made the session a collaborative interesting two hours and each student felt empowered to contribute and “give back”.

February 03rd, 2019 Diversity and Inclusion by Jacintha Jaychandran

Jacintha had her audience riveted yesterday at her session on “Diversity and Inclusion ”

“D and I is a mind-set issue” was the central thread of the talk . With examples solicited from the girls she proved how from childhood we are slotted into certain categories. Girls are supposed to behave in a certain way while expectations from their male counterparts is different. Statistics show that worldwide while women form 75% of the Toppers list in examinations , sadly only 1-4 % reach the top in the world of work .

This situation can change and the young women entering the workforce today for the first time, especially in India, are doing so because they seek “a purpose” to work rather than just working “to meet a financial need “.
Jacintha explained the shift in the ratio of women reaching the top can be done by keeping certain criteria in mind:

a. Women *must* ensure their personal wellbeing by not “sacrificing” on their physical fitness, nutrition and sleep

b. It is imperative that every working woman must have control over her own finances. She must ensure her physical safety as well as emotional stability.( What should I tolerate, what should I not ?)

c. It is important for women to interact and communicate with others at the workplace and show that she is as well informed as her male colleague . She should also seek opportunities to “contribute ” to those around her. Giving several live examples Jacintha demonstrated how “contributing” goes a long way in increasing one’s self esteem.

c. It is important for women to interact and communicate with others at the workplace and show that she is as well informed as her male colleague . She should also seek opportunities to “contribute ” to those around her. Giving several live examples Jacintha demonstrated how “contributing” goes a long way in increasing one’s self esteem.

Jacintha stressed that every woman was responsible to ensure she reaches to the top. She should not be cowed down by societal pressures.

The second half of the session dealt with the concept of 4Gs.

a. Gender – Sensitivity to people of different orientations and being inclusive of them leads to harmony at work

b. In today’s work world often people of 4 GENERATIONS work together. If the older generation brings experience the younger brings energy . Both should learn to be tolerant of the other.

c. GEOGRAPHY- Coworkers can hail from different geographies and therefore different cultures. . It is important to be sensitive to these differences and be respectful of them . She gave several examples to illustrate the point.

d. Generic – Differences can be physical , emotional. The important thing is to remember that tolerance and acceptance contributes to one’s personal growth and wellbeing.

The session was extremely engaging with some of the volunteers present too sharing their points of view . Thank you Jacintha! I am sure the girls had a lot to think about and implement for themselves post your session.