Our mothers conference on Sunday was a great success. Over 2000 mothers turned up and marched about a kilometre from one school to another. Originally we had intended to have about 1500 of our sponsored children but the mother’s indicated they would prefer to have a day out without the kids 🙂 . I suppose mothers are the same everywhere.
Sunday was also national voters day and we used this to raise the profile of our partner here and I believe we were featured on the local News channels.
In December I was contacted by Sigurdur, a retired video producer from Iceland and he offered to produce a short video for promotional use by Nandri. He videoed a lot of the march and the subsequent conference which we hope to edit over the next few weeks so that you can see the highlights. Today he spent shooting what will be a five minute video about the impact which we have had on one family. It really illustrates how all of our programs integrate for the benefit of the children and mothers in our various programs.
I will tell you more about this in a separate blog
Michael Sweeney my fellow director and I arrived in India today Saturday. We initially flew to Dubai which is an eight hour flight and then we flew from Dubai to Chennai where we were picked up. It is about three hour drive to Vellore where we will be based for the next 6 days.
This is a photograph of a street banner advertising our mothers conference which is on Sunday, 25 January. 2000 mothers will attend.
It does serve to publicise our local partner Child Aid Trust and the work that it is doing. I believe the other two in the photographs are local dignitaries and being associated with them also is beneficial to Child Aid Trust.
I want to say a big thank you very much to Irish chartered accountant Jeremy O’Beirne. He is just finishing three months volunteering with Nandri partners in India, Child Aid Trust . He has made a great contribution to improving the accounting and systems there. He offered valuable training and experience to the accounting staff. Working in rural India means electricity going down during the day. The backup power supply kicks in but it can be frustrating. The temperature and humidity would have been difficult but at least he was there during a time of year which would not have been the hottest. There is not a lot to do in rural India where 99% of the locals don’t speak English. It gets dark at 6 o’clock every evening, no internet, not too many television channels. This time next year we hope to have our Rural Development Centre with accommodation for volunteers. We would hope to entice volunteers with different professional qualifications and experience to bring to our work in India. The photograph above is the house that Jeremy was staying in. Unfortunately the car was not his. I wouldn’t advise anyone to drive in India. Well done and thank you to Jeremy
Well done to Caoilfhionn Crowe and her friends who held a fundraiser with an Indian theme for the night. Caoilfhionn had brought back from India a dozen saris, one for each of her friends.
They raised enough money to provide a family income generation loan to 5 families. The families will be presented with a cheque by Caoilfhionn in India on Sunday, 25 January.
They will probably use the money to buy a cow which will provide the family with nutrition and milk and enough money to repay the loan over 20 months. At that point a second family will benefit from the money which was raised.
On 23rd January I am heading to India again. Traditionally we make one visit to India each year as technology means that we can talk and communicate every day and it is not necessary to actually go there more often.
In October last year I went there to review a number of different pieces of land and look at prices of land generally. I ended up recommending the purchase of 2 acres of land which is within walking distance of our Nandri Farm and Agriculture Training Centre which we acquired on a ten year lease a year ago.
Over the last few months we have been developing with a local architect plans for the building of a Rural Development Centre. This will provide office accommodation, a reception area large enough to meet and talk to up to 30 mothers every day who may have questions about the various programmes in which they are involved. It will have a number of training rooms and accommodation for volunteers. There will be cooking facilities for up to 200.
On this trip in January we hope to meet a number of builders and obtain quotations so that we can start building in February 2015. In India, at least in our part of India, you buy the land and then submit plans to the local mayor who will give you planning permission. It sounds a bit risky but that’s the way it works and obviously we discussed with the local mayor what we had in mind for the land. In a twist that sounds a bit Irish the same mayor was also acting for the seller of the land as an agent.