About Us

Friends of Mettupalayam Trust (FOM)
Registered Charity no 1054673
The Institute for Rural Development Trust (IRDT)
Indian Registered Charity

pensFOM is the UK based funding charity for IRDT which has been operating since 1984 and which was registered as a trust in India in 1986. Originally funded by Action Aid, Mr David Eldridge, founding trustee and chairman of FOM, took over responsibility for funding when, due to a change in direction, Action Aid pulled out. Over the years, and particularly following becoming a registered charity in 1996, FOM has been able to increase financial support and expand IRDT’s effectiveness.

Who are we?

Chairman and founding trustee: David Eldridge – Former Headteacher
Hon Treasurer: Francis Muncaster – Bank Manager Retd.
Adele Eldridge – Teacher
Steve Lawson – Solicitor
Kath Lawson – Teacher
Rosie Muncaster – Teaching Assistant Retd.
Hugo Welsh – Coach
Jean Welsh – Practice Nurse

Where are we based?

Although FOM’s trustees are based in North Yorkshire, support is received from all over the UK and, indeed, from Friends abroad.

Where do IRDT operate?

IRDT’s office is situated in Mettupalayam, which is a small rural village of around 70 families located in Utherimerur taluk, Kancheepuram district, around 70 miles south west of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, South India. There is also a small office based near Palayanadukuppam where the Nambikki School was started following the tsunami of 2004.

What are IRDT’s aims?

IRDT, run by founding trustee Mr C G Venkatachalam, is involved in various development activities, namely education, nutrition, employment and income generation, healthcare support, community organisation, old age care and support for the disabled.

The project’s work focuses on the education of children, improving their future lives and health through education and better nutrition. In recent years, support has been extended to include the elderly, and the disabled and to address much wider healthcare provision issues for all the villagers.

Our small semi-organic farm gives work to villagers whilst incorporating modern scientific farming principles.

IRDT have been instrumental in founding, training and supporting many women’s self help groups (sanghams). These promote micro enterprises, savings and loans schemes, and social and economic development.

Recently IRDT has been working closely with UNICEF and the Indian Bank, supported by the Tamil Nadu government to promote a village latrine programme. Many hundreds of individual house latrines have been built and the eventual aim is to complete around 2500, all in the Utherimerur area.

Following the tsunami, which affected the coastline some 40 miles from the project, and after an extended period of emergency relief work, IRDT started a second project on the coast, using the 20 years of experience gained in Mettupalayam. There is now a primary school in Palayanadukuppam, a small fishing village, which will expand over the next few years to cater for around 150 children. As in Mettupalayam school, in addition to the education provided, a balanced, nutritious diet and some home support is available. Organisation and support for women’s self help groups, encouraging social and economic development, is also offered.

Supportive Study Resources.

One of the outstanding things about the work of Friends of Mettupalayam is that whilst we are just a small charity, we have been conducting our activities for over 20 years and so can show clearly how development activities have benefited the people. We now support two schools in Tamil Nadu, South India. Firstly Mettupalayam School that has 6 classes for around 140 children aged 4-10 years. Secondly, Nambikki School with a similar structure that will expand over the coming years to around 150 children.

We have worked extensively with and received support from a range of schools, particularly in North Yorkshire.

The work that we have carried out has always proved to be of considerable interest to school children and we are very happy to help schools conduct work investigating the lives of people in Tamil Nadu. We have an annotated set of photo resources that are downloadable from the Photo Gallery link. A commercial set of primary school study resources have also been developed and information is available on the Resources link. We are also happy to visit schools in North Yorkshire and give presentations which are free of charge. Requests for presentations in other counties will be considered! Being a small charity, we are able to be flexible- if you are interested in finding out more please refer to the Contact Us link.

Copyright © L Muncaster 2008