Evening Classes

Children in rural India are generally very weak in English. Even if they know a few words, they are too shy to use these words. Those children studying in Tamil get very little coaching at school to learn English. After the 12th class which is equivalent to leaving cert in Ireland, when some of these children join college education or poly techniques, they face a lot problem with English as the mode of lecturing is in English.

Nandri has started evening classes to enhance English speaking skills of the children with innovative and child friendly teaching and learning methods.  The intricate grammatical concepts are made easy for children with games, song and dances. Apart from spoken English, children are helped with their school assignments and also receive some food snacks.

The evening classes are named Nandri Joyful Learning Centres (NJLC) as the children should enjoy learning and feel happy to come to the centre.  The evening classes are conducted from 5.30 to 7.00 in the evenings. Some of the teachers are college students and they are benefiting from classes we have at weekends. The income which we pay them helps them with their fees.

In November 2016 we have a hundred children in NJLC and December 2016 fifty more will be added. The plan is to roll out this project next year to lots more villages. We want the villages to run these classes with teachers we will train. We want the villages to pay the cost and this will mean many more children will benefit.  

You can see from the short videos how much fun they are having while still learning 

Visit to Nandri Centre by Caroline Keane

Caroline with mothersCaroline who lives in Ireland was visiting Southern India. She contacted us about children’s clothes which she had brought to India. The clothes have now been distributed to some of our children and she also visited our centre and sent the following email.


My visit to a Nandri Mothers’ Self Help Group meeting

More than 3,000 women in some of the poorest areas of rural Tamil Nadu now have their own successful little businesses thanks to the help of Joseph Abraham (Joe), managing trustee of Child Aid Trust which is Nandri’s partner in India and Nandri’s Micro Finance programme, funded by Irish donors and recently by #LCIF (Lions Clubs International Foundation).

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting Nandri in person, meeting some of these inspiring women at their monthly group meeting and hearing their stories.

Some of the women have received a modest loan (€350) from Child Aid Trust/Nandri to start their own income. One of the women I met proudly told me about her tailoring business, another has bought a cow, while a third lady is now making shoes. Because of their micro loans and hard work, they are all now able to provide better lives for their children.

caroline keane with mothersAs well as these micro-finance loans all of the mothers save Rs.100 each month. This is about the amount of money which they earn for a days work in the rice fields. any mother can also borrow from their own group. All of the savings and repayments are relent each month.

It was lovely to see all the women smartly turned out in their colourful lilac-and-white sari uniforms which they wear to their monthly meetings.  These Dalit mothers are proud to belong to a group.  They clearly enjoy these get-togethers where they save each month, repay their installments, share their experiences and catch up with each other. From start to finish they were full of enthusiasm, chatter and smiles.

I was particularly impressed by how well managed the programme is and how supportive the women are of each other. Every loan and repayment is carefully and clearly accounted for by a local Nandri staff member using the individual and group reporting set up by Joe. The women have their own individual loan account books which, as well as repayment details, also include a page where they write what their children would like to study in the future, e.g. to be a nurse or engineer. These mothers are determined to make their businesses a success so that their children can have a better education and future than they have had.

Nandri do not receive any interest or fees from these loans. Instead, the women contribute a small 1% fee into a fund towards college education for children of members within their own group.

Although working on shoestring and also running other activities, Joe and Nandri are aiming to have 4,000 mothers and families benefiting from their membership this time next year. Impressive indeed, especially since this programme was first started four years ago, in 2012.

Aside from the Micro Finance programme, Nandri’s other local initiatives including a sponsor a child programme, evening tuition schools and skills training for adults.

Joe and Nandri also have other great initiatives and ideas which they can implement with a little more funding. They are strong champions of social improvement through education and community empowerment because it works. It was really remarkable to see first-hand how they are experts at stretching even the smallest donation to make a huge difference.

If you’re thinking of donating to a charity that can make your money go a long way, I recommend without hesitation http://www.nandri.org

Caroline Keane


Making entrepreneurs of our mothers

This week we arranged three days training programme for eight of our mothers on making candles and incense. These mothers will in turn show other mothers how to make candles. Many of mothers have already received a loan to buy a cow and this provides regular income. Candlemaking will be an additional source of revenue. Candles are used extensively in India for religious and other occasions. Almost every day the electricity fails so candles will also be useful to provide light.

caNDLES 2CANDLES 3candles 1

Healthy mother happy kids.

Yesterday a mother of one of our sponsored children died of anaemia. She was 35 and may she rest in peace. Her husband died a few years ago from alcoholism.We have recently arranged with a local hospital in conjunction with the local Arni Silk Lions Club to visit one of our villages every month to check out the health of our mothers and children. Hopefully such conditions as anaemia and heart problems can be spotted and treated before they become more serious.

Our biggest problem will be to convince the mothers to attend a doctor for the checkup as they believe they should only go to a doctor if they have a problem.

Our Nandri Centre which opened in February 2016 has given us local credibility. Previously this hospital would just have regarded Nandri as another one of the tens of thousands of charities in India, some legit and some not so legit just like Ireland 🙁

The healthy mother featured here was a sponsored child. Last year while I was in India she handed me a cheque for Rs.1000 in gratitude for her educationimg_1194.jpg

We are half way there

I arrived in Chennai and immediately made my way to the site where our rural development centre is under construction. 

We expect to complete the building and have the official launch and opening on 14th February 2016. If you would like to visit India and see the real India you are invited to attend the opening. We are going to organise a number of days visits to some of our different programmes and villages and mothers groups. 

None of this would be possible without the very generous donations of a number of individuals. 

This building will enable us to better serve the 2000 families which we currently help and would hope to double this within two years.

Rural Development Centre – first sod is turned

Yesterday Friday the 13th May 2015 the ceremony was held for the starting of the building and the laying of the foundation stone. This foundation stone was blessed by Nandri President and Director Fr Michael Murtagh in Ireland and personally delivered to India.

Before the building constructio commences a Bhoomi Pujan ceremony is carried out. According to Hindu culture, the earth is considered to be a mother. Bhoomi is the Hindu goddess Mother Earth. Before the start of construction, usually a Bhoomi Pooja is performed. This is to ask permission from Bhoomi Deva, and to get her good will and assistance. It also is to ask forgiveness for the disruption of the many living beings already on and in the land. 

This building will provide administration and training and support facilities for our 2000 mainly dalit families. Once the building is completed in January 2016 we would hope to expand and grow the number of mainly families to double that number.  

Jeremy O’Beirne

IMG_6164-0.JPGI 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

Rural Development Centre

2014-11-10 07.20.48In November 2014 we concluded the purchase of 2 acres of land near Chetpet, Tamil Nadu. This land is within 10 minutes walking distance from our Nandri farm, which in December 2013 was leased for 10 years.

Since the charity started in 1996 we have probably spent over €2 million on houses, schools, medical dispensaries, toilet facilities and clean water bore wells and many other miscellaneous projects.  During that time our  office staff and fieldworkers have moved from one unsatisfactory rented accommodation to another.

Finally, we will build a rural development centre which will provide a solid foundation for us in India through our partner Child Aid Trust.  We already provide services for almost 2000 families, through our various programmes, including child sponsorship, mothers self-help groups, micro-finance income generation and medical programmes. We are developing a range of agricultural training programs at our Nandri farm. Our new rural development centre will provide accommodation for mothers who are being trained.

2014-09-15 11.18.48The RDC will have a reception area for the many mothers who visit us every day. It will have a medical room to attend to basic medical needs. There will be office accommodation for our office staff and a meeting room for our office and fieldworkers. We also expect to have volunteer accommodation and a large and small training room. There will be catering facilities for the hundreds which we expect to attend our training courses.

The RDC should enable us to double the number of families we are serving within the next three years. All this is only being made possible by a small number of donors who have made substantial donations.

We are currently reviewing plans with a local architect and hope to begin building in February 2015

Fred Crowe