Nandri broadens its outreach to help more survive the pandemic

India’s COVID19 cases continue to rise. The figure for infections to date stands at 78,810 and tragically there have been 2564 deaths.  Tamil Nadu state continues to be in the top three areas of infection.  Without a doubt the lockdown has very much reduced the number of deaths but not without a severe impact on the economy and the poor people of India.  On a positive note, India, among many countries, is in the crucial world wide race to develop a vaccine against COVID19.  There are now 10 potential vaccines being tested in India. The world anxiously waits for a vaccine to stop the spread of this virulent disease.

Lockdown in India continues till 17th May.  Following this, there will be a gradual loosening of the restrictions. In the meantime the effect on India’s economy has been devastating.  Indians are awaiting details of a relief package to help jump start the economy.  The government plans to spend 260 billion to help revive the severely impacted businesses but what about the poor? In the words of Rita Dewan, VIce President of Indian Society of Labour Economics:  “People are out of money, what about them? Where will they go?”  Our mothers, their families and the local community will depend on Nandri to help them survive.  

Nandri’s mission is to support our mothers and their families as well as the impoverished villages in the surrounding areas of Tamil Nadu throughout this crisis. Our support will be vital for the survival of our Nandri families and the broader community in the weeks and months to come.  Our work to help our poverty stricken community survive the financial damage of  COVID19 has just begun.  While continuing to support our mothers and their families, and local villages, we have again extended our outreach further into our local community, thanks to the much needed  financial aid received from our sponsors and supporters.

This week as part of our community expansion, we distributed rice to Narikuravar families and local unemployed drivers who lost their jobs during the pandemic.  We were introduced to a mother with six children, whose husband had recently died.  She has no income and no means of support for her and her children.  Nandri provided her with food and will continue to help her and her family survive. We also visited the village of Irungal and distributed much needed rice and financial aid to 23 families who were struggling to survive.  Nandri has been a lifeline to these families who have been severely impacted by the lockdown. 

India’s financial recovery from this crisis will be slow and the needs of our mothers and our local communities will be many.  Nandri will be the rock on which our families can depend and with your help we will do everything in our power to help them through these extremely difficult times.  A heartfelt Nandri to our donors for all your support. 

If you would like to contribute to Nandri’s ongoing COVID19 relief fund, please donate here:

Vital new financial aid arrives from Ireland

The number of cases of Corona Virus continues to rise in India. To date there are 53,000 cases of COVID19 and 1,787 deaths. In Tamil Nadu, where Nandri is situated, there are 5,000 confirmed cases. More than ever, our families need our help and support.

Due to the generosity of our donors, this week we sent a further 25,000 euros to Nandri to help our volunteers in Tamil Nadu continue to not only support our mothers but to expand aid to neighboring poverty stricken villages as well. The Dublin Lions Club also held a virtual Bingo Night in aid of Nandri. They managed to raise over 1500 euros in much needed funds. This money will enable Nandri to feed an additional 128 families this month.

The extra financial aid has helped us greatly to expand our aid operations throughout the area. Nandri in collaboration with generous sponsorship from I – PAC Consulting Ltd., distributed 1000 parcels of food in four locations in Vellore. We will be continuing to distribute this vital aid for 20 days. These parcels are being given to people who are destitute – daily wage earners, migrant workers and homeless people, with no where to turn for help.

Again, thanks to the Generosity of I – PAC., our volunteers distributed food aid to people in Kakithapattarai, Vellore. Normally they make a meagre living from working as roadside vendors, bullock cart drivers and building workers. During the lockdown they have no money and no food and without our support they would be starving. Nandri also sent 300 kgs of rice to the village of Kasthambadi. The villagers were struggling to survive and were very grateful to receive this vital aid.

Since 2012 Nandri has provided micro finance loans to 3000 mothers, enabling them to buy a cow and start their own micro business selling the milk the cow produces. These loans literally change the families lives, giving them income, independence and their children an education and a future. During the COVID19 pandemic, their cows have been an enormous benefit. It has provided a source of food for them and their families during this very difficult time.

Nandri has substantially increased its aid to the needy people of Tamil Nadu in the past week, thanks to our supporters and donors who have given so generously. On behalf of everyone in Nandri we would like to express our very grateful thanks for helping us to help our people survive this dreadful pandemic. From the bottom of our hearts, a big nandri to you all.

If you would like to contribute to Nandri’s ongoing COVID19 relief fund, please donate here:

A 3rd level degree for Jayaseelan

Jayaseelan and his two brothers lost their mother when they were very young. Their father, Royappan, did his best to care for his three sons while earning a meager wage.  He joined one of the Nandri mothers groups as the only male, in order to get the support he needed to bring up his sons. Tragically the boys father died leaving the three children orphaned and penniless.  

Nandri stepped in and supported the brothers in their education.  Jayaseelan was always an excellent student and continued on to 3rd level college with the help of a loan from Nandri.  He completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer applications and now works as a software developer in Chennai. He is earning a good wage and supporting his younger brother to complete his schooling. 

Without the constant support of Nandri through out the years, these boys would have had no chance to escape a life of abject poverty.  Jayaseelan and his brothers have a promising future ahead of them, all thanks to the support of their Nandri family.

COVID19 – How vital emergency fund money has aided our families

As the disaster of the COVID19 virus first loomed over India and the entire country was told to remain at home, Nandri realised that our families were going to be severely impacted. Our poor daily wage workers would be unable to earn any money. Faced with the challenge of supporting our mothers and their families through the total lockdown, we managed to raise 40,000 euro to ensure we could help them survive this catastrophe. Many of our loyal sponsors and also new donors, understanding the severity of the impending crisis, have given so generously to Nandri.  Here are some of the many ways this money has helped us to help our mothers and their families and also to aid the wider poverty stricken community in Tamil Nadu.

The COVID19 fund has been invaluable to all our families.  It enabled us to commence many emergency projects to feed, educate and protect our families as well as other very poor villages in our region. Immediate financial aid was distributed to all our families.  Joe, our CEO in India, traveled around 87 villages in Tamil Nadu, distributing 500 rupees for each mother to the leader of the mothers groups. In total we have provided emergency financial aid to 4721 mothers. With this money our mothers will buy 10kg of rice, 1 litre of cooking oil and other essential food items.  This will feed a family of 5 for 10 days. Without this money our families would have gone hungry. If one of the mothers is going through a particularly challenging time, the other mothers in the group will rally round to help her financially.

Nandri has implemented vital education programmes for our mothers and families.  We see knowledge as an important weapon to keep COVID19 at bay. Nandri has provided classes covering social distancing, hand washing instructions and the importance of wearing masks.

We provided masks for our families and also for those in the district working on the front line, who are in contact with the public, such as police, government officials etc. We educated them on the importance of masks to prevent the spread of the virus.  Our people have embraced wearing their masks as the new norm. Our mothers are now making them and sharing with the nearby villages.  

In this time of need, Nandri has extended a helping hand to all.  We set up a mobile food kitchen to visit poverty stricken people, including the Narikuravas, Gypsies from a nearby village who were starving.  We fed them for two days and organised the local government to continue caring for them.  
We are also feeding seven very poor migrant families from Northern India who have been left destitute as they no longer have any work or money. Nandri is supporting these families with vital food items for the last 10 days.

The lockdown has been very effective in stopping the virus spread throughout India and as a result, the government has extended it beyond the initial 3 weeks. We do not know how long these restrictions will be enforced.  As a result our poor families will continue to be severely impacted as they simply cannot earn their daily wages. We will continue to support them and other poor families in our region. We will do everything in our power to help them through this horrendous time.

Close to where Nandri is situated, we have 5 refugee camps where more than 1500 families are living in severe poverty.  These people fled Sri Lanka during the war. Due to the lockdown they are not permitted to leave the camps and have no means to earn money.  Their situation is dire. With further funds Nandri could reach out to these and other desperate communities and provide them with basic food to help them survive this catastrophe. These poverty stricken families are in a hopeless situation.  

Our Nandri families know that we are always there to look after them but these are extraordinary times and Nandri’s resources have been severely stretched. Looking to the future, if the lock down continues and our families cannot work, our mothers will need more money to buy food. Nandri also wants to help other very needy communities in Tamil Nadu, who urgently need our help.  The bottom line is we will need to raise further funds to help us continue our vital work.

As always, we say a very grateful “Nandri” to our sponsors, donors and supporters for helping us to help our mothers and their families and the other very poor communities in Tamil Nadu. Without you we could not do this vital work. Particularly as this time, your financial support is even more invaluable to the Nandri family.

If you would like to contribute to Nandri’s ongoing COVID19 relief fund, please donate here:


On 23rd April, India recorded 681 deaths and 21,393 confirmed cases of COVID19.  Tamil Nadu where Nandri is situated, had 18 deaths attributed to the virus. The strict lockdown has been very difficult for our poor rural families but it has been successful in lowering the spread of the disease.  

This week Joe, our CEO in India, delivered Nandri’s financial aid package for the COVID19 crisis to the leader of each of our mothers groups. Our mothers groups are a very important part of the structure of Nandri.  There are 4721 mothers in 268 groups, each one headed up by a leader. Each group has between 15 – 20 members. A mother may decide to set up a group herself and become the leader or a leader is nominated by the other women in a mothers group.  It is looked upon as a very important and responsible position in their villages.

WIth the finance that Nandri has provided to each of our leaders, they will make sure that each mother in their group has enough money to eat and buy the necessities for them and their families.  As he visited all the villages, Joe took the opportunity to remind the leaders of their roles in educating their mothers’ group on maintaining social distance and handwashing.

Each of our leaders have risen to the challenge of mentoring their group through the pandemic, as well as monitoring the mothers financial well being in this very difficult time.  The mothers know that their leader is always there, as a representative of the Nandri Family, to help and guide them through this very challenging crisis. 

COVID19 – Nandri helping our families to survive.

Today, India has confirmed nearly 14,000 cases of COVID19 and 452 deaths to date.  Like many countries,  India has a shortage of personal protective equipment in their hospitals. Of course this is vital for the protection of the doctors and nurses on the frontline of fighting the virus. The government is ramping up the manufacturing of necessary equipment as well as COVID19 tests which are also in very short supply. As well as a limited number of tests, so far India only has 111 testing centers to handle a population of 1.3 billion people.  This is grossly inadequate.  The number of critical care hospital beds is also very limited.  This makes Nandri’s mission of limiting the spread of COVID19 amongst our families all the more important.

Our aim at Nandri is to protect and educate our families and as much as possible prevent the spread of the virus in the villages.  We are implementing our education programmes and our mothers have been very receptive in following the guidelines. Our families are wearing masks and also manufacturing them to distribute in their villages. We demonstrated social distancing with one of our mothers groups to emphasize the importance of keeping two meters between yourself and others at all times.

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We continue to monitor the welfare of all our families during this crisis. One woman who needed immediate aid is a widow who has kindly taken in a orphaned child, who had no other relatives to look after her. The widow who lives in a shack in the village, is a very poor daily wage worker who because of the 21 day lockdown had no money to feed herself and the child now in her care. Nandri provided her with rice and money to survive the lockdown. We have promised to support them through this very difficult time. Looking forward, we will also help this woman to keep the child in education so she will grow up to have the opportunity of a better future

Nandri is also providing feeding stations for those who are unable to work during the lockdown. We visited a village of Narikoravas people, nomadic gypsies who make their living by selling handmade goods on the streets. They were extremely grateful to Nandri for the emergency food. We also organised for them to access ongoing government aid.

For all our families, knowing that Nandri is there to help them get through this time of crisis, is a huge source of comfort. We will not let any of our families down and they know that our Nandri Family is there for them as long as they need our support. They are so grateful to us but it is the generosity of our wonderful donors who make our work possible. A heartfelt “Nandri” to you all.

Update on impact of COVID19

Education is a priority. Our hand washing leaflet

India to date has 5865 confirmed cases of COVID19, with Delhi being the worst hit area.  Authorities are worried that Indias healthcare system will not be able to cope as the virus spreads throughout the country.  They are converting sports stadiums and train carriages into make shift hospitals. Tamil Nadu, where Nandri is situated reported a fresh spike of cases and presently the region has 834 people who have contracted the disease. This means that worryingly the area has the second highest number of infections in India.  

Train carriage being converted in to an emergency hospital

Our aim is to try to stop the spread of the virus throughout our Nandri villages by educating our families on the importance of frequent hand washing and social distancing.  As much as the recommended increase and implementation of these rules has been an adjustment to us in first world countries, this is going to be so much harder for our rural families in a 3rd world country who have no access to toilets or running water and live with large families in small dwellings. One of Nandri’s projects is to improve the living standards of their families by helping them to build toilets and have access to clean water.  We are making progress but still have a long way to go.

In rural India the poor rarely have proper sanitation in their villages – defecating in fields is the norm.  They have no access to running water in their homes and have to fetch water daily in buckets from the well to wash hands and rinse cooking utensils. This is why our education programme is so important for our families so that they understand the importance of these new measures to avoid being infected.  We have implemented our programme already, we are also distributing leaflets promoting hand washing and it is being very welcomed by our mothers and their families. The mothers are also making masks for themselves and their families and also giving them to the police and other public figures. 

During the 21 day Government lockdown our mothers will have no income.  We have organised for the immediate distribution of emergency money to each family to help them through this extremely difficult time.  Our mothers do not have access to bank accounts so this means our Nandri staff travelling to all of their villages in order to distribute the emergency funds to them.  This in itself will be a huge undertaking but it is already underway.  This will provide our families with enormous relief, not having to worry how they can afford to feed their children and themselves. 

Dealing with COVID19 is going to be a very frightening time for all our Nandri mothers and their families but we will be there for them in every way possible to help them get though this catastrophe. Without the help of our generous sponsors, none of this would be possible, so on behalf of all our families, thank you – or in the Tamil language, a big “Nandri” to you all.

COVID19 – How Nandri will support our mothers and families through this Global Catastrophe

India, the second most populous country in the world has declared a 21 day national lockdown. There have been many shocking images of millions of migrant workers trying to leave the cities to return to their villages. These daily wage workers have been let go from their jobs. They live from hand to mouth with no savings and now with no work their only option is to return to their rural villages. There is no safety net to help them survive this global catastrophe.

Migrant workers returning to their villages crowd outside a bus station in New Delhi

All our Nandri families are being severely impacted by this lockdown and will be in great danger when the Covid Virus hits their villages. They live in very rural areas with little or no medical care and we have seen cities like New York with top rate health care brought to its knees by the number of people very ill and losing their lives. The Indian Government is giving some support but it will not be enough for our families to survive 21 days without work or income.

Migrant workers and homeless being fed in a New Delhi shelter

Nandri is there to help and support our mothers and families through this desperate time. We will support our families financially. Just 1000 rupees (12 euros) per month to each of our mothers will help them survive this unprecedented pandemic. It is important to help our families avoid contracting this disease, especially as they will be particularly vulnerable as there is very little medical care available to them. We have implemented educational programmes in order to teach our families about the importance of hygiene – especially hand washing and to emphasize the importance of social distancing to prevent spread. This disease is new to us all and it is vitally important that our families are informed how to prevent contracting it.

Some migrant workers have to walk days to return to their villages

The world is going through an unprecedented pandemic that is devastating countries both rich and poor but the effect that Covid19 will have on our poorer countries is unimaginable. We have seen wealthy Nations with sophisticated health care buckling under this virus. India has a population of 1.3 Billion, of which 360 million live in poverty. This virus does not discriminate on who it infects but the poor are so much more vulnerable. Nandri has already transformed the lives of over 5000 poor Dalit mothers and their families and through out this pandemic we will do everything in our power to protect, support and see our vulnerable families through this desperate time.

We want to thank our donors who make it possible for Nandri to do its work in supporting our mothers and their families. In this extraordinary and very frightening time, a special thanks to you all for helping us to help them. As Nandri means thanks in the Tamil language we would like to say a big “Nandri” to all our donors and supporters.

Some of our 5000 mothers who attended Nandri’s annual Conference in January

No Water, No World

This years Annual Mothers Conference was a tremendous success, with over 5000 mothers joining the Directors of Nandri from Ireland to celebrate the mothers achievements in the past year and to look towards what the future holds for Nandri.

And we are off! Toria from Ireland waves the starting flag for the procession

The Theme of this years conference was “No Water, No World”. Nandri appreciates the importance of nurturing our environment for the good of present and future generations. Many of our new projects, such as Tree planting, will embrace this philosophy and through these initiatives we will educate our mothers and in turn their children on the importance of caring for our world

Some of the 5000 mothers marching to the conference

Many special awards were presented to celebrate individual achievements and afterwards the mothers were entertained with songs and dances by local performing groups. The conference is a great opportunity for the mothers to network and learn what other activities various mothers groups are engaged in. The mothers thoroughly enjoyed the day and left with feelings of happiness and pride to be a part of the Nandri family.