Friends of Mettupalayam
FOM is a village based project supporting children and adults in a very poor rural area of Tamil Nadu, South India. The project, founded in 1985, centred mainly on children, improving their future lives and health through education and better nutrition. In recent years, we have also expanded support to include the elderly, and the disabled and we also look to address much wider healthcare and disability provision issues for all the villagers. Our Crakehall Primary School provides for around 75 village and tribal children and sets the standard for all Government schools in the area. We also have a bursary fund to support access to secondary school and college where appropriate. Additionally, we provide a weekly doctors surgery in our village, with free medicines.
In 2005, following a devastating Tsunami, which affected the coastline some 40 miles from Mettupalayam, we started a second project on the coast, using our 20 years of experience gained in Mettupalayam. We now have a primary school there, with six classes of around 80 children, with provision for around 150 children in total. This was achieved mainly through the support of schools in North Yorkshire- we were chosen by North Yorkshire Education Authority as their Tsunami appeal charity and received a tremendous response.
Over recent years, we have also organised and supported over 250, mainly women’s, self-help groups. These groups engender social and economic development, many involving livestock, for example keeping dairy cattle and collectively selling the milk to a local dairy. Our small semi-organic farm gives work to villagers and is a demonstration farm incorporating modern scientific farming practices. We have also worked with UNICEF, the Indian Bank and the Tamil Nadu Government, building over 2500 individual house latrines, indeed Mettupalayam was one of the first villages in the whole state where every house had its own toilet.
Additionally, there is a small but vibrant Kuruvi Tribal settlement close by and around 40% of our Crakehall Schoolchildren come from there. Outcast in all but name elsewhere in the state, we encourage and engender equality of opportunity and integration in all aspects of our work. This also extends to the local small Muslim and Christian communities close by.
Our project director based in Mettupalayam, Mr C G Venkatachalam (Venkat), was originally a social worker and organiser, employed by Action Aid. He has a lifetime of experience and has devoted his life to improving the daily lives and prospects for everyone in our project areas.
Would you like to help us with our work?
As a registered charity, we are able to claim tax relief on all eligible donations, whether one-off, or a regular monthly amount. Currently, this means that for every £1 you donate, we receive £1.25! A small monthly donation in sterling translates into a significant opportunity for these poor rural people. £10 per month will cover the primary school costs for a child including ensuring they receive adequate nutrition. £60 per month will pay a teacher’s salary. Our weekly open access surgery costs around £120 per month plus the cost of the medicines. If you can help, please contact us and we will be delighted to make the necessary arrangements.
We are also happy to share our work and Indian experiences with an illustrated slideshow and talk, and we also have several presentations suitable for primary schools. Again, please let me know if this would be of interest.
Thank you for your interest and support.
Ps- every penny we receive arrives in India as trustees of FOM cover all expenses from our own personal donations.