Nandri Centre Bringing Laughter Joy and Happiness To Our Children

Nandri children having fun!

The Nandri Foundation is committed to the education and development of our children. All our activities are carefully designed to protect and promote the best interests of the child.   An important  part of that is insuring that our young people learn how to play together and have fun!  In the Nandri Centre, we have set up a playground for the children with lots of equipment that they can enjoy after they spend time in educational classes. Towards the end of their day, the children are so excited to go outside and the sound of their laughter fills the air!  It gives them a chance to forget their difficult empoverished lives and just be children having fun with their friends.  After a recent training programme for local children, you could feel the excitement in the air as the day came to an end and they could finally run to the playground!   In the words of  Jerald, our Chief Operating Officer  “The children forget everything and they are in their own world.  The campus is filled with laughter, joy and happiness”.  When the evening came to a close, the children were sad to tear themselves away from the playground and  leave –  but the Nandri centre will always be a place that our young people will remember with love, a place of positivity, education  and fun and they will long to return time and time again.  

Nandri Micro Loans Continue to Change Lives

 

In July, 52 Nandri mothers received life changing micro finance loans which would help them start their own business or give them the finance to send their children to third level education.   This programme gives a lifeline to our impoverished mothers and their families.   As the mothers pay back their loans each month, these repayments enable us to lend to more than 50 new mothers the following month.    The cycle of success of our micro finance loans continues to grow and flourish bringing hope and a future to new families each month.  NANDRI,  changing lives.

Drumsticks making an educational and nutritious addition to Nandri!

Nandri Drumstick plantation

 

Our workers are busy removing the weeds at the drumstick vegetable plantation yard at Nandri Center.  Drumsticks, also known as Moringa, are vegetables loaded with valuable minerals, healthy proteins and essential minerals, making it a very healthy food. It is used as one of the ingredients in sambar, a type of stew. Being high in nutrients and tasty in nature, the leaves and pods of this green vegetable possess blood purifying properties and it also acts as a potent antibiotic agent.

 

We have created this drumstick yard to help train our agricultural students who come to Nandri to learn how to grow and tend crops.  In addition, we will showcase the plantation as a model as we bring forward our initiative to introduce allotment farming to our Nandri families. It is mostly women who do the weeding and even if they work along side men, the women get lower remuneration for their work.

Nandri Drumstick plantation

The physical work done by these workers will bear fruit within six months and we will use the drumsticks in Nandri Centre in the delicious South Indian food we will prepare for our guests and participants in our training programmes.

“NANDRI Came To My Rescue”

 

From a very impoverished family,  Dinesh’s dreams of furthering his education and  achieving a degree, looked impossible.  With the help of an educational  loan from Nandri,  he completed his 3rd level education,  enabling him to support his sister and her children and in turn,  fund their education.  Nandri has changed his life and the life of his family forever:

“My Name is Dinesh Kumar. I have a sister whose name is Anthonyammal. We belong to a poor family. With great difficulties my sister helped me to finish higher secondary education. I wanted to go college but my sister could not afford to send me for further studies. But luckily she was a member of a mothers group called Semparuthi which is one of the mother group formed by Nandri. She contacted the field staff and told her about my educational ambitions and the financial needs that I was facing. Nandri came to my rescue and gave me an Educational loan to pursue mu college studies. I finished my B.com Degree course successfully. I also finished ITI one Year course successfully.

Now I am employed and earning comfortably. I am now taking care of my sisters family and the educational needs of her children. All this was possible only due to the timely help by Nandri. I would be always thankful to Nandri and Mothers Group. At the same time I have resolved to help the needy children like me through Nandri.”

B.Com funded by a loan from Nandri

 

When Sagaya Vincent with the help of Nandri,  managed to complete his schooling, his mother who had very little income, wanted him to get a job.   She needed the money to help feed their family.  An educational loan from Nandri called SHE (Support for higher education) enabled him to continue and achieve his degree and start his own business.   Now his familys’  future is secure:

“My name is Sagaya Vincent. I belong to a village called Allikondapttu, Thiruvannamalai  Dt.  My mother name is Mangala Mary. She is a member of Mother Group called Lillie Annaiyar Group which is one of the Mothers Group formed by Nandri. Up to 7th std my mother somehow managed to help me study. From 8th Std onwards I was selected by Nandri for sponsorship. Up to 12th Std I studied with the financial help from Nandri. After finishing school   I wanted to go for college education. I told my mother about my intention. But my mother asked me to find a job and help the family citing family financial strains. But the aim of going to college was burning in me.

I  came to know from the Field staff of Nandri  that they are giving educational loans to deserving students under SHE programme,  which means Support for Higher Education. I informed my mother about it who also knew about the loan facility already. She approached Nandri and applied for educational loan. My mother received a loan for Rs.25,000/-. With the help of this amount I joined college studies. I finished B.Com and was employed for some time. I earned some money and took care of the family as well. Now I have a small computer center which is a source of good income.  With the income from the computer centre I earned some money which was more than enough for my marriage.

All these were made possible only because of Nandri which took care of my school as well as college studies. I owe my present situation to Nandri and Mothers Group to which I would be ever grateful.”

The Nandri Centre 2 years on.

In February 2016 we opened our Nandri Centre. This is a training and administration centre for our mothers and children built on 2 acres of land in a rural part of southern India. Previously we had to move every 12 months as our mothers who are members of the Dalit so called low caste community are like travellers in Ireland. They are not welcome anywhere.

They are proud to be members of Nandri. They proudly wear their Nandri saris. They even pay for membership which is helping to make the organisation self sustaining.

We have one large training room with full audiovisual facilities and a computer room with a dozen computers. We run regular training courses. Our large reception area is used for regular cheque presentations for loans.

A few weeks ago we had 200 mothers attend what is called an RPL (recognition of prior learning) course which is funded by the Indian government. This particular course was to teach the mothers how to pack and pick vegetables. The mothers are each paid to encourage them to attend the course and Nandri Foundation are compensated for running the course including providing food for the attendees. These mainly illiterate mothers are proud of the certification and it will be easier for them to get daily work and will also become an important part of our income following our major investment in the centre.

Every day almost 200 children attend English language courses in local villages. They learn spoken English through song. They get help with their homework and are provided with some nutrition before they play games. We now have a playground for them and a cricket training area in the centre and they will be invited there on a regular basis.

We are pleased with the success of the centre which was funded by large donations by Irish donors and directors.

Nandri Success Stories

This month we are starting to share some of the stories of the people that have been helped start a new path in life with the help of Nandri’s support. We want to share some of the amazing journeys and to let you see how effective our loans, sponsorships and training programmes have been and what they can achieve.

A success Story of Jhansi made possible by Nandri.org

My name is Jhansi. I belong to a poor family from Thalayampallam, Thiruvannamalai Dt. My mothers name is Arulayee. I am the eldest in the family.  I have one sister and two brothers. My brothers are mentally challenged. My mother is member of a Mothers Group called Vasantham, which is one of the mother groups formed by Nandri. I received sponsorship from Nandri when I finished my schooling without any difficulties.

I wanted to go for higher studies at college. But my parents could not afford to send me to college. Instead they asked me to find a job and help the family. I was determined to go for higher studies. I was able to meet the field staff of mothers group. I told them about my goals and the difficulties I was facing at that time. She took me to meet the Managing Trustee of Nandri. I narrated my actual aim and ambition to him.

The managing Trustee heard my plea’s fervently. He then decided to put me in a college. He got me an admission in Sacred Heart College of Nursing at Velledu. He took all the responsibilities to himself and saw to that I was taken care of well at the college and the hostel. He paid all the college and hostel fees until I finished my Nursing course successfully. Now I am doing my six months intern course at Delhi. I hope I will get a job as a nurse soon. My dreams of finishing a college course were made possible only by Nandri and Mothers Group.

While I was studying in the college Nandri gave a loan to my mother to buy a cow. My mother bought a cow and from the milk she sold in the market she was able to run the family with ease. In both ways Nandri and Mothers Group helped me attain my goal and at the same time for my mother to run the family without difficulty.

I will be forever grateful to Nandri and Mothers Group, also I promise to help poor children like me to pursue their studies in whatever way it is possible.

Nandri Tuition Centre’s

The parents of the children from rural villages where Nandri is working are very poor and illiterate.  Sadly, these parents are unable to help their children with their homework or help them with learning outside of school hours.

This makes the children roam the streets and without proper guidance they get disconnected from learning within the school system.

To respond to this problem Nandri has initiated Nandri Tuition Centre’s in three villages now and more villages are on the list to start operating from June 2018 onwards. Nandri tuition is one of the activities of Nandri Service Centre’s new initiatives. Through these centre’s, children are helped to do their homework correctly, organise games, and other extracurricular activities to develop their talents. Each centre is managed by a mentor who identifies the innate talents of the children and they encourage all children to develop their own individual talents.

Special attention is given to speaking English. Our children who study in the Tamil medium schools are apprehensive about speaking English. In these centre’s, we try to make learning english a joyful experience for the children.

 

At present we have five centres in three villages and about 150 children are benefitting from this programme. By June we would have another eight centre’s, catering to more than 500 children. Thanks to Electric Aid from Ireland for supporting this initiative of Nandri.

Jude Thomas

International Women’s Day

Nandri.org is very proud to join women all over the globe who come together today to celebrate International Women’s Day with a voice of unity.  Acknowledging this special day and the women who lead the charge when it comes to giving the not so fortunate voices of the world a chance to be heard to be one.

The Nandri ethos has always been simple, empowering women. How we achieve this is also simple, we support and encourage our members to be self sufficient. Through our self help groups, loan scheme’s, education and training programs.  Nandri has been providing, nurturing and supporting the women of rural, Southern India to strive for a better life for themselves and then in turn they support their families and the wider communities in Tamil Nadu.

Nandri Mothers

Our Mothers Self-Help group is fundamental to our success. Nandri works with mothers groups at village level to administer loans. The income generated helps the mother keep children in education and provide for healthcare.

The earliest Women’s Day observance, called “National Woman’s Day,” was held on February 28, 1909 in New York.  It was organised by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel who was an American labor activist, suffragist and educator. She was the first woman to rise from factory work to leadership in the Socialist party. Her 1910 novel, The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker, is credited with helping to reform New York State labor laws.

In 2012 the UN theme for International Women’s Day was Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty.  In 2013 – time for action to end violence against women. In 2014 – Equality for women & it was declared that this would be progress for all!.

In 2016 The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukheriee, in his message issued on the eve of International Women’s Day said: “On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I extend warm greetings and good wishes to the women of India and thank them for their contributions over the years in the building of our nation.” The ministry of women and child development announced the setting up of four more one-stop crisis centre’s on March 8, in addition to the eight already functioning across the country. Ahead of Women’s Day, the national carrier Air India operated what it claimed to be the world’s longest non-stop flight where the entire flight operations were handled by women, as part of International Women’s Day celebrations. The flight, from Delhi to San Francisco, covered a distance of around 14,500 kilometres in around 17 hours.

This year the United Nations call for action is this “Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.”

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

The Nandri message remains simple today and every day, give women the tools to empower themselves. Women of the world we salute you!

The future of Nandri : Some of the young women who’s lives have changed through education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Tony Shaju experiences teaching and living in a rural village in Tamil Nadu

It was a typically hot and humid Monday morning when I set off from the Nandri centre with Joe the Nandri India CEO.  Being honest I didn’t really know my destination, only that it would be quite rural and unlike anything I had experienced before. After driving past many towns and some bigger villages we started to head to a more mountainous area until we finally arrived in the village of Udaiyarkuppam. To my surprise and delight there stood a St. Anthony’s church with the parish house beside it where I would be staying for the next week or so. I would be living with the parish priest, Fr Arokiya Raj, who thankfully spoke English well and helped me to adjust.

The next morning, I was awoken by a what sounded like a large crowd. It was in fact a bell and then the public-address system from the church which calls out the time followed by a prayer or small bible reading at various times during the day. Unfortunately for me it started at 6AM!

Across the yard from the church was the local school where Joe had suggested that I could help teach English while I was there. I hastily met the young principal, Karthik, and before I knew it I was officially a teacher at Anthony R.C.S Middle School. Suddenly in front of me I had 40 odd expectant kids, looking back curiously at this overawed foreigner. This was a Tamil medium school so the standard of English and exposure to it were rather poor.

Nevertheless, me and my students in 7th and 8th standard managed to communicate effectively with a mix of English, broken Tamil and extravagant hand movements! The enthusiasm and eagerness from the kids was fantastic as was the competitiveness which was on display when playing English learning games in class.

Break times were filled mostly with playing kabaddi, the local sport, where you try to tag the opposing team and run back to your team’s half before they catch and take you down. I had resisted many calls from the students to be a ‘raider’ but eventually gave in. It can get quite rough but thankfully they understood me saying “soft” before they gleefully took me down!

There are around 260 children, mainly Dalits, in the school and each day ends with everyone outside singing the national anthem before heading home which was quite different to Ireland. Admittedly it was daunting at first having never been in a comparable situation but I feel it was a worthwhile and beneficial experience for me and hopefully the students too!

My evenings were equally busy as I went around the nearby villages to conduct surveys as part of my work with Nandri. So, I was visiting mothers and their families who had received loans from Nandri 3 or 4 years ago and helping to determine the impact on their lives. This was another new experience from me as I was exposed to a different side of India than have seen on previous visits. I had help to complete this work in the form of Selvam, a college student in Chennai who is from the local area. His help to translate and converse with the mothers combined with his local knowledge were invaluable. Initially Selvam and I went on foot around Udaiyarkuppum and as I walked up to the homes of some of the mothers I could see the cow they owned- bought with the loan from Nandri. The cow provides them with an asset and essentially becomes an earning member of the family. The milk will usually be sold to a cooperative and so provides a regular monthly income source for the family and also future calves can be sold. Thus, I could see the direct benefit of the Nandri loan for some of the mothers as the extra income was used to help take care of living costs. Indeed some of it was put towards the educational fees for their children. It was also nice a surprise when knocking on a door and seeing it opened by one of my students, some of whom are supported by Nandri.

Of course, as I was travelling around the villages- sometimes with Selvam on his little motorbike- I met others who were struggling more. Some are constrained by chronic medical ailments or a lack of access and affordability to treatment and generally there is a shortage of work. This is in part due to Tamil Nadu being in the midst of its worst drought in 140 years. Naturally the shortage of water affects daily living but also employment opportunities as most people are agricultural daily labourers, thus relying on the land. The struggle is not helped currently by the governments inadequate support despite national protests from Tamil Nadu farmers.

I must also mention the generosity of the villagers as I was travelling around to their homes. I’m grateful to their willingness to help us locate fellow group mothers on our list and inform us of any issues. I was also offered numerous snacks, fruits, tea and juice which was very welcome in the scorching heat. Indeed, I had the opportunity to have dinner in some of the mother’s houses and taste some local dishes which was nice- despite being far spicier than I’m used to! I was also able to attend a local Hindu festival one day which included inserting metal hooks into the backs of some worshippers and walking on fire followed by a procession. I had seen some similar things on t.v before but it was interesting to see it up close.

Overall it was an eye-opening experience to live in a truly rural area of India and see some of the people that Nandri support. I’ll certainly miss interacting with the imaginative kids from the school and the ability to talk with locals and learn about their lives while I definitely won’t miss the early morning ‘alarm clock’!  I’m told by locals that when the rains come the area is lush green and quite scenic and I look forward to returning sometime and seeing it for myself.

Tony Shaju