Friends of Mettupalayam Trust
Registered Charity No. 1054673
C/o David Eldridge, Director
The Coach House, Bainbridge, North Yorks, DL8 3EE
Tel 01969 650618 E Mail dave@eldridge.demon.co.uk
Charity website address www.irdt.info

08Newsletter / Update December

I am delighted to be able to send out this brief update on the Mettupalayam project, as we reach the end of 2003.

Education

I have received information that Venkat has been able to strengthen his staff, in recent weeks, hopefully this will help to enhance the quality of education the children get.

100 children and 11 staff have been on a trip to the zoological gardens at Madras. Children also visited a science exhibition at the high school in Kancheepuram district. The materials for playground equipment, paid for by Bedale school North Yorkshire, are now on site and the equipment should be constructed by the end of January. It is appropriate that the children are participating in school trips and the playground equipment is a refreshing development.

Health

The nutrition programme continues to be central to our health programme. Venkat is providing milk at 10:30, lunch at 12:30, groundnuts at 3:00pm and eggs once a week. All children have recently had a health check and 90 children are having vitamin tablets for 90 days.

During the last three months there has been a general health camp for 375 people, and two eye check camps. 27 people have received cataract operations. Our local health worker provides community after care for the patients. A health camp for girls aged 11-20 has also been run. These camps are staffed by local primary doctors and ‘Rainbow Eye Hospital’ doctors. There are plans to provide dental screening in the near future.

Agriculture

The big news is that it has been raining. The monsoon has been 80% successful, which is excellent and should ensure good harvests in the coming year. We have planted 5 acres of fruit trees including mango, guava and lemon and flowers including   jasmine. On 6 acres we will be growing pulses and on 7 acres groundnuts. Irrigation pipe lines of 2000ft length have been laid and scrub land has been cleared.

The chicken shed is completed and the 100 chickens for the shed, paid for by Colburn school, are to be bought in the next week or two.

At this time the first paddy harvest is being collected, the estimated yield is one of 7 tonnes. The value of which is approximately £500 – £600.

The steady growth of income coming from the land is extremely helpful for the project as a whole and as a means of generating employment opportunities locally.

Social Development

The kitchen and bio-gas plant is now 60% built. The second floor of the multi-purpose building is now nearly completed too.

Meals for 25 elderly widows are now being provided and there is a desire to extend this facility. The cost of providing meals for the elderly is approximately £1 per person per month. It is easy to find ways of spending money and the area of welfare for the elderly is of particular interest to some friends. A complete support programme for up to 100 elderly would cost approximately £120 per month, this might be something we will strive towards in future. It would be a new area of focus and we would be interested to hear what friends feel about potential support in this area.

Future Thoughts

A computer link is slowly being established with the project, this is of great value in terms of improved communication. We would also envisage the opportunity to establish school links in due course. This will be both valuable in terms of developing understanding and also in terms of creating new fundraising opportunities.

Work targeting water supplies through providing an appropriate bore well to a depth of 500ft and 3 new water sources on the land is also in hand. We would hope to report back fully on new capital investment programmes in the next newsletter.

It is hoped that friends will be visiting Mettupalayam during late January/ early February. We also have the exciting prospect of two young people, Courtney and Scott visiting the project in March. They have a particular interest in disabled children and more broadly creative play opportunities for children. I expect some very interesting questions will arise from these two visits.

In August six friends are visiting the project. At that time we will do a project review and produce a two year development plan alongside Venkat and the staff of IRDT.

2004 will hopefully see us revisiting the educational provision at the project in detail and also considering how best to move forward with the agricultural side of the project.

End of year meal . We have paid for an end of year meal at Mettupalayam   where everyone in the local area comes along to a great night out! This is a personal present from one or two friends. So when you’re enjoying fine vittles   and a wee dram, this might be an encouraging thought.

Fund raising

We have had a really good fundraising final quarter of the year. Rosie has raised £1500 selling Christmas decorations! We have also received several new standing order donations. Thank you everyone. Standing order donations including gift aid now amount to £500 per month. It is in this area that we would like to continue to see support grow.

If anybody would like to make a standing order to the project, or to organise a fund raising event for Mettupalayam, obviously we would be more than happy to get involved. Below is a reply slip you might wish to use and send to David Eldridge at the address at the top of this letter.

Warmest thanks for your continued support.

Season’s Greetings

David Eldridge

(Director FOM).

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Please tick any of the choices below that apply

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