ABOUT US

This is a review made at the end of 2017 which covers the progress in the first 10 years.

10 YEARS ON

 

  • In 2006 Leslie and Janet Stephen visited Trichy and learned that the Home set up by Leslie’s father was soon to close due to lack of funding. They set up a U K Charitable Trust with David  and Caroline Cotton to continue the good work and were later joined by Steve and Lesley Turville who make up the U K Board of Trustees. Funding is though a separate Indian Charitable Trust. 

  • At the outset the objective was to continue the secular grounding of the Home and to “Break the cycle of poverty through education” - which has become the trust’s strapline. The School and Home is founded on Christian vales but is not in any way exclusive.

  • The Indian Trust provides local day to day management, This was run by a friend of Leslie’s father but he has sadly now passed away. The reins have been taken up by two keen local men who supervise on a daily basis.

 

THE INFRASTRUCTURE

 

  • In the beginning facilities were very basic. Girls rose before dawn and bathed in an open trough and washed their clothes in the same water. Boys used the same water afterwards. The surrounding bush was the lavatory. The Trustees first project was the building of a toilet and shower block with separate facilities. This was funded by the Rotary Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh

  • There were several ageing buildings which doubled as classrooms and dormitories. There was a little rudimentary lighting. Most of the old buildings have been demolished and the others repaired and improved with lighting, fans and secure windows and doors. The kitchen was rebuilt and additional toilets provided.

  • The second major project was largely funded by Loddon Vale Rotary and is an I. T. facility. The School now has a dedicated air conditioned computer classroom with Wifi. All children receive computer training with a specialist I. T. teacher.

  • With grants from U K Educational Trusts a completeley new School block has been built with 2 classrooms, a science room and a teachers room. More recently a large “Arts” room was added for dance and music with up to date facilities. There is weekly tuition for boys and girls in dance and music.

  • The Wardens family building has been extended and improved to provide a simple Flat for visitors and facilities for sewing classes. Thaw whole site has been made more secure with new walls and fences. There is video security and a night watchman. Government standards are constantly changing to improve standards of teaching and social welfare.

  • We now have some animals on site including a cow and there is a vegetable garden and other decorative planting.

 

CHILDREN

 

  • The School and Home are separate but closely linked. Children live at the Home.

  • 10 years ago most children were of itinerant workers but now many more children are local and parents make a more active choice to bring their children. Primary school teaching is provided but some children live in the Home and then attend the village senior school. In total about 60 children attend Primary school and 30 children live at the Home.

  • It is very difficult to persuade parents to allow their children to go on to further education. Marriage and work are the norm for children from poor backgrounds but we have been successful in funding a disadvantaged girl to become a teacher and 2 to become nurses.

  • All children now receive some uniform clothing and basic but good food. They also get regular health checks

 

STAFF

 

  • At the outset we had a Warden and family who were pretty much responsible for everything apart from teaching. Government funded teachers came in daily but there was little or no supervision and facilities and equipment were very very basic.

  • Now we have an excellent headmistress, used an an example by the local teaching authority. She is supported by 2 full time teachers and a teaching assistant. Specialist support comes for music, dance, I. T. and sewing. Government supervision and inspection is now frequent and detailed and the school receives glowing reports.

  • The Home side is covered by a Warden supported by an assistant, cook, odd job man and night watchman. We also have a volunteer who looks after infrastructure and buildings maintenance.

 

SUPPORT

 

  • We are very fortunate and grateful for the support we continue to receive. In no particular order our supporters are:-

  • Many friends, family and individual donors

    • Rotary Clubs of Reading Maiden Erlegh, Loddon Vale and Trichy

    • Waddesdon School

    • Saint Andrews Church Sonning

    • Bishop Heber College Trichy

    • The School local community and local businessmen –in particular Janus John

 

FUNDING

 

  • From the outset many friends, family and Rotarians set up regular payments to cover the day to day running costs.

  • In the beginning it cost about £350 per month to support the home. Now this is £1000 per month and as the Home progressively develops and the facilities and schooling improve; this can only increase.

  • Capital spending has been huge. In total about £110,000 if we include essential repairs and maintenance. This has come from Rotary, various educational Trusts, St. Andrews church Sonning, schools and specific donations.

  • The Trustees take no remuneration or expenses here or in India –so every penny is spent on the Home.

  • Currently our day to day expenses far exceed our regular income and so our focus is on improving this.

NEXT

 

  • Now Karun is more about the whole learning experience including art, drama, music, dance and other skills such as I.T. and sewing. We are focusing on giving pupils a wide set of values and experiences which will help them to compete in a fast changing India.

  • Funding for Capital projects is sometimes available from Educational Trusts and we have some projects in mind. However these Trusts are very reluctant to consider meeting day to day running costs. So our priority at the moment is to establish a regular income stream through small donations to cover this ever increasing outlay. This will provide ongoing stability and security.