FRIENDS OF METTUPALAYAM TRUST
Registered Charity No 1054673
c/o David Eldridge
The Coach House, Bainbridge
N Yorks DL8 3EE
Tel 01969 650618
Francis and Rosie Muncaster
Bedale. DL8 2HF
Since our last newsletter in June, so much seems to have happened, both here in the UK and in India. Set against a global recession and turmoil in the world banking systems, I thought that supporters and friends would be reassured to hear that so far our two projects have been fortunate in suffering very little in practical terms. Apart from local inflation of around 12%, which we have countered by an interim pay rise pending a review in January, our work continues and support grows. Increasingly we are seeing practical involvement and help from local people like Subramanian, the President of the Rotary Club of Uthiramerur. Venkat recently organised an Old Age People Day, inviting around 150 elderly villagers to our Mettupalayam Office where, with funds supplied by the owners of The Millings Residential Home in Bedale, they were presented with a new set of clothes and also enjoyed a special meal with 6 different dishes. At the same time, the residents of The Millings also enjoyed an Indian meal followed by an illustrated talk. Subramanian was surprised at how many elderly people weren’t receiving their Government pension and has promised to bring the pension officer back to the villages to make sure that they are all registered. It was a very special day for us all and really highlighted the cohesion that IRDT/FOM achieves in both communities.
The schools are still at the heart of our endeavours, and there are 148 children registered at Mettupalayam and around 50 at Nambikki. All of last year’s class 5 are now attending the Government secondary school and yesterday we were delighted to learn that 4 village boys who studied at Mettupalayam have just been accepted at Engineering College, Venkat being instrumental in arranging education loans to enable them to take up their places. Pictured is the new school council, a boy and girl from each class, with two of the littlies also included. We are delighted that Principal Teachers, a North Yorkshire based teaching agency are now paying the nursery class teacher’s monthly salary – thank you so much. We are also awaiting a visit to Mettupalayam from a UK company who specialise in training volunteers to teach English as a second language. We hope that this may lead to a mutually beneficial arrangement in the future.
Readers of my blog (www.irdt.co.uk) will know about the tragedy that struck Mari and her father Gopal recently. I spoke briefly to Mari some days ago, she is settling in well at Secondary School and Venkat, and in particular our social worker Gomathy, continue to keep a close eye on her.
Healthcare is very variable in this part of rural India, and Venkat frequently arranges health camps in addition to the weekly surgery. This month for example he invited doctors from several hospitals to come to Mettupalayam with ultrasound, ECG and similar medical kit to give a free health check to over 1000 villagers. The 70 nurses who also came were well employed, identifying amongst other things, several cases of tonsillitis in children, some vitamin and iron deficiencies in pregnant women and sadly a suspected case of cancer. All these, along with other problems, will be followed up with treatment and medicines as necessary.
Here in the UK we are now rapidly approaching the Christmas Fair season when we sell our cards, xmas tree decorations and Indian jewellery. We are always open to invites to new events! Our next visit to the project is booked for January and we are again taking out a Friend to experience Mettupalayam Moments- an updated presentation will be available when the next season of talks commences in the New Year. We still have capacity to undertake more talks and are always grateful for the opportunity to share our experiences.
Your financial support is vital to our work, and it is always appropriate to take the opportunity again to thank all those Friends who donate, many through the monthly bankers order system. We rely on this regular income to underpin the projects’ running costs, not least to pay the salaries of our 37 full time employees. The impact of IRDT’s work is felt right across our project areas and at all levels-you are all making a tremendous difference in combating poverty, disease and disability- thank you again.
May we be amongst the first to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and for our South Indian readers, Happy Pongol.