Kanavu | கனவு

கனவு means ‘dreams’. A small team with big dreams, we dream of an India where circumstance does not dictate destiny.

Kanavu brings this change to rural India by nurturing leadership in disadvantaged schools and communities. This enables every student, parent & teacher to realize their dreams, irrespective of circumstance.

We presently work with 5 Affordable Private Schools & allied communities, set up by ASSEFA Foundation in rural Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.

The Association of Sarva Seva Farms (ASSEFA) was set up in the 1980s. It put to good use the lands collected during the Acharya Vinobha Bhave led Boodhaan movement. Having set up more than 100 schools in rural Tamil Nadu, ASSEFA started 6 schools in tsunami affected rural and coastal Cuddalore in 2005. These schools aimed to create nurturing learning environments for children who are disadvantaged by systemic, man-made and natural oppression.

Our work | Education

‘Schools in rural India are unable to deliver quality education to children’ (ASER, 2018).

We nurture teachers’ skills on content (what to teach) and pedagogy (how to teach) through termly training programs and regular workshops. Simultaneously, we build capacities among principals to enable them to provide teachers with a school environment where they are able to effectively deliver quality education. We are also building an eco-system of global partners towards providing support to the schools’ collective. This has led to improvement of teachers’ skills and hence learning outcomes among children enrolled in our schools.


School Principals



Our Work | Community Development

At Kanavu, we believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Students of ASSEFA schools come from 102 villages on the coast of Cuddalore district. This gives us an opportunity to work with these communities. Our Community Development happens through Parent and Community Outreach.

Parent Outreach : By organising conversations about quality education and their role in it, we ensure greater parent involvement and participation in their child’s lives. Workshops and awareness programs through the year enable this.

Community Outreach : These initiatives cater to the communities adjacent to our schools. We support these communities through the following 3 programs.

Students in After School Center

Singer Certified Women Tailors

Community Members Participated

Our Work |

The rural communities that send their children to our schools are largely dependent on fishing, farming and daily wage. Incomes from these livelihoods, in these areas, are unstable even at the best of times.Other socio-economic complexities make daily life a struggle for most students’ families.

With the aim of securing a more stable future for their children, a group of our students’ mothers came together. Trained in sewing at the Seva Resource Centre, they purchased sewing machines on micro credit with our support. And thus began the brand Sura – a social enterprise of rural women stitching together, to support their children’s education.
The women have established a tailoring center in their own village and are supported on process setting, sales and marketing. We currently have 10 women who have stitched for over ten lakhs in the past two years.

As of 2020, Sura’s exclusive portfolio of vibrant & customizable fabric products have found a dedicated and fast-growing clientele across India and the globe, of over 350 customers.

Interested to purchase a product?  Write to us.


Lifestyle products


Our People

Meet our people, our leaders and change makers who strive to live their dreams, every single day.

Karuthammal, Teacher

Dreams of an India where, all women enjoy freedom from oppression.

Kayalvizhi, Sura Tailor

Dreams of building womens' collectives who can together to earn money and respect.

Nirosha, Head Mistress

Dreams of leading a school where women can build long term careers without socio-cultural barriers.

Thivya Lakshmi, Student

Dreams of a world where, children lead the path to solving the world’s biggest problems.

Our Enablers

At Kanavu, we believe in the power of the collective, to make dreams come true. Meet some of our ‘enablers’ who have volunteered with us – from a 3 day stretch to month-long internships, we open out a range of volunteering opportunities. Our huge network of 300+ ‘enablers’ continue to shape Kanavu ‘s path to achieveing our dreams.

Interested to be an ‘enabler’ to propel our dreams forward? Write to us.


Hours Of Volunteering

Our Team

Our Partners

Kanavu Kadhaigal | Stories from Kanavu

Working with rural communities and schools leaves us with so many stories everyday – stories about India, about our children, people, resilience, hope and struggle. Read our blog, to explore Kanavu’s stories and our people

Kanavu | In the news

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