Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Rice harvest

Our second crop of rice has just been harvested. Venkat is pleased that around 2 tonnes of rice is now bagged up and ready for sale to the Government Regulating Market. As we won't have enough well water for irrigation for another crop, Venkat is planning to plant watermelons as a short term cash crop.

Our farm not only provides good quality food, we are also able to show other local farmers how to grow crops in an environmentally friendly way, using minimal chemicals and maximising sales income. Yet another of our rural development activities.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Sponsored run/walk

Our very good Friend and supporter, Stuart, is looking to raise funds for our work by running/walking The Lyke Wake Walk in July. The extract below gives details, do e-mail me for further information and how to support him on

The Friends of Mettupalyam Trust is a village based project supporting children and adults in a very poor rural area of Tamil Nadu, South India. The project centres on the education of children, improving their future lives and health through education and better nutrition.
Following the Tsunami, which affected the coastline some 40 miles from our project Friends of Mettupalayam started a second project on the coast, with three classes of around 48 children. They have helped to set up and support over 200 women’s self help groups.
Back in July 2007 I undertook to walk Scafell Pike three times in one day, which I managed with excellent support from friends particularly on the last climb!! The money raised enabled me to make a real difference to the lives of the people in Tamil Nadu.
This year on July 18th I am doing “The Lyke Wake Walk” , hopefully this will be twinned with an event in the village in Tamil Nadu.
I have set myself the challenge of completing this walk of 40 miles across the North York Moors in just 12 hours, starting at 6.00pm and finishing at 6pm. To qualify for the Wake Club the walk is normally completed in 24 hours so 12 hours should prove a real challenge!
The walk includes 5000ft of climbing with the highest point on the walk being Botton Head at 1489ft. In order to reach the deadline I will be running a substantial part of the way, with the company of a few friends on the way! Training has already started with the Bath Half Marathon under my belt and a few more (local) races scheduled.
I do hope you will join me in supporting this project, further details of which can be found on the website uk , thank you for your kind donation based on a fixed amount for me completing the walk within 12 hours.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Open Day 8th March

As usual after returning from our annual trip to the project, yesterday we held an open afternoon. On display were the 5th and 4th class booklets which we brought back, and also the necklaces and bracelets. Whilst not primarily held for fund-raising, as always, our Friends were very generous and we had a total of over £250 donated to help the project. Pride of place in our displays were the plans for the new Crakehall School which we expect to start this week. I hope to be able to share the progress of this work with you all via photos from our project director, Venkat.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

First rank students

Through our bursary scheme, we continue to support Mettupalayam school students when they move on to government secondary school. This may be by way of fees, uniforms, school books or simply by recognizing their achievements. This is especially important for the gypsy children who now all continue on with their education rather than dropping out. This month, two of the gypsy children received awards for being first ranked in the exams- Chinnapunna who was in our top year last year, and is therefore in year 6, and Tamilarasan who is now in year 9.
He has been so sucessful in achieving top rank all through his secondary schooling so far that both he and his parents were featured in a full page article in the Indian Times. When he completes his schooling, Tamilarasan wants to be a Government officer so that he can help his people.

Nationally, less than 1% of gypsy children take up education- in our catchment area, we estimate that around 50% come to Mettupalayam school and we continue to encourage and educate parents in the benefits for both themselves and their children. The official description of the gypsy races is Most Backward Class, and there are significant Government payments for those who reach 10th standard and pass their exams. There are also marriage payments for gypsy girls who sucessfully complete 10th standard.