Tuesday, 17 June 2008

What goes around, comes around

We see many examples of the way in which our primary school education forms the foundation of future lives. On our visit in 2006, we attended the pre wedding ceremony of one of the teachers, Indumathi. She had been a Mettupalayam pupil, went off to secondary, and higher secondary school, completed her basic teaching qualification, and returned to work at the school. On marriage, she left, as is the custom, and now has 2 young children. Today she visited Venkatachalam to ask about the possibility of attending college to study for a BA Ed degree! We will encourage and support her- it is rare for a married women in our rural area to have the opportunity and the support from her husband to do this. She may possibly return to teach again at Mettupalayam School- a great example of the wheel turning full circle.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Weddings always cause much excitement, and Vernkat's extended family in Dharmapuri are preparing for one! Our very good Friend Kahli (far right) is to marry in August, with the betrothal ceremony due to take place tomorrow (12th June). Kahli and her sister Sakthi have worked at IRDT Mettupalayam for a long time, Venkat helped them to finish their college education, and also helped Sakthi study for the police entrance exams. Kahli has been working at the Mettupalayam School and helping with the accounts. She will be very difficult to replace when she goes up to Dharmapuri to live with her new husband. Sakthi has been staying with Venkat for the last few weeks whilst he recovers from the operation on his spine but is now back working with the police in Chennai.

Kahli has looked after everyone who has visited Mettupalayam over the last two years, cooking delicious food and making them feel comfortable. We will be thinking of her and wishing her all the best for the future.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

New school year starts in Mettupalayam

Ist June is the official start date for the new school year in Tamil Nadu. At Mettupalayam School, we have an initial enrolment of 105 children, but will undoubtedly find another 20 to 40 children joining later. There are 17 children moving on to the Government secondary school. Tomorrow Venkat will be going to pay the fees for the gypsy children- 12 at 300Rps each (about £45 in total). Mari, the tribal former bonded child labourer, has passed her entrance exams for the secondary school and starts later this week. We have given her and her family a lot of support over the past 3 1/2 years, and it is wonderful to see the results.

Nambikki School still awaits the official licence, and is restricted in numbers but we continue to press for it to be issued, knowing that at least 100 children are expected to come.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Welcome to our new blog!

This is your new source for regular updates on the IRDT Mettupalayam project in Tamil Nadu!

We hope you enjoy reading it and sharing in the excitement of the project. Please visit our website at http://www.irdt.co.uk/ for further information.