The objectives of our charity are:
The relief of sickness and poverty and the preservation and protection of good health of children in southern India in particular but not exclusively by the provision of secure accommodation and medical costs;
and the advancement of education of children in southern India in particular but not exclusively by the provision of educational aids for disabled children.
In practice, our core work at present is in the support, through financial sponsorship, of deprived children, and the communities from which they come, in the South Indian State of Tamil Nadu.
Most of the children that we help come from the Paliar and Kaniar tribes who live in the Western Ghats, a range of mountains that lies along the border of Tamil Nadu with the neighbouring State of Kerala.
Some 9,000 of these tribal people scratch a precarious living from the natural materials that the forest provides. Their diet consists mainly of what they can gather, supplemented by rice which they buy from people of the lowlands with money raised by the sale of some of the forest products that they gather.
It is harsh semi nomadic life and the children do not have the benefit of either education or medical care. Moreover, increasingly, these people are displaced from their traditional forest homes by the clearing of the forestation into State provided settlements. For more information see the Summer newsletter 2007.
Lincs with India can provide the younger tribal children with an introduction to basic education by providing ‘balwadis’ (all age primary classes) supervised by an ‘Activator’. This is a valuable experience for those children whose parents choose, later, to send them to our residential hostels from which they can attend a mainstream school.
Because of their remote location visiting the tribal settlements is not always easy but it is a very rewarding experience. One might be fooled by the spectacular scenery into thinking that the tribals live an idyllic ‘Tarzan & Jane’ existence. They do not. Their life is lives are hard and often short. We hope, by providing education, to give the children opportunities for a better life.
We also support other children from the very poorest families who live in the town of Srivilliputtur and the surrounding villages.
Members of our charity sponsor the support of 50 boys and 25 girls in hostels at a settlement founded by an Indian charity, Social Democratic Education Trust (SDET) near Shrivilliputtur. In 2007 we funded the cost (almost £13,000) of building a new hostel building for the accommodation of the boys and we are currently engaged in the planning and raising funds to build a new hostel building for the girls. For more information see the Special Edition 2008 newsletter.
Support for the poor communities
As well as our support for very deprived children, where possible we also try to improve the living conditions of the communities from which they come.
We have established two First Aid Medical Centres staffed by qualified attendants where a consultation and treatment cost 10 Rupees (about 12p) for those able to pay, but is free for those who cannot. The Rotary Club of Lincoln Colonia have ‘adopted’ one of these, the Athikulam Centre, and we are very grateful for this support, especially as the attendant there has midwifery qualifications.
Two Local Day Care Centres for children with disabilities (recently accorded special school status by the State government) have been established and are funded by the International Children’s Trust. We have provided remedial and play equipment to both schools and fund the cost of transport for the children from and to their homes. For more information see the Special Edition 2008 newsletter.
A deep borehole has been sunk at Thumbaiyapuram, together with the necessary pump house and distribution point, so that constant fresh drinking water is available to that village. This project was entirely funded by the Rotary Club of Alford & Mablethorpe.
Where we work
The hostels for the boys and girls are at a settlement just outside Chokkalampatti, a village within a hour of Shrivilliputtur, the main town of area.