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 importantpart 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 ofJerald, 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 andleave – 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.
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.
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.
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.
Last month we handed out 35 loan cheques to mothers who will buy a cow. We also gave out 45 loans to mothers to fund their children’s third level education.
Since we started our micro finance program we have issued 1100 loans to our mothers in order for them to earn an income and to improve their overall living standard and to fund their children’s education. We have a 100% repayment rate and our loan book is now such that the repayments every month enable us to issue 25 new loans.
The mothers learn how to manage money, they earn the self respect of their family and their peers. They know that every repayment every month enables another mother to get closer to receiving her loan.
Over the last few years we have been changing the culture from one of our mothers receiving handouts to one of receiving loans. They are beginning to see the benefits of this.
A major benefit for us is our sponsors money is used more efficiently. The same euro is recycled time and time again
Many mothers join our programs in order to benefit from our child sponsorship program. (handout)
Our objective is that within three years of joining a mothers self help group a mother will receive a loan to purchase a cow.
The income she can learn from a cow is way above the handout we give in the form of child sponsorship. Increasingly also we are only including in our sponsorship program children of widows or from broken homes or single parents. We try to ensure that the money goes to those most needy.
Mrs Thilagavathi is one of our 1500 mothers, who meet every month in our 100+ self-help groups. She has a son who is being educated thorough the child sponsorship programme. Two years ago it was very difficult for her to maintain her family and to keep her son in education.
Now things are changed with the help of NANDRI. What was NANDRI’S role?
In 2013, she joined a mothers self group. Although she was in dire situation, she had the talent to stitch and sew . From the mothers group she received Rs. 5,000/- (€75) as group loan and bought two tailing machines “second hand”. she started her business to earn money.
Later she got a micro finance loan from NANDRI, Rs. 20,000/- (€250) and bought two more machines to sustain her life. Now it was a great success after her hard work. Per month she is able to generate easily Rs. 4500/- to 5500/- through her work.
She is able to pay rent for the shop Rs. 2000/- and repaying the loan Rs. 1000/- and also managing to get provision for her food and lastly sustaining the child in education.
Also she is teaching 10 poor children and through which she gets around Rs. 1000/- which is also useful to her savings. Above all she has the interest and determination to teach tailoring to poor children freely. Hence she has asked the field workers to bring the children so that the children will be taught. She is really proud to be part of the NANDRI family and grateful to her sponsors.