Please look at the two most recent newsletters to see the particular schemes and projects being provided by the volunteers; the newsletters dated February 2020 and July 2020 will show these.
However, the news for 2020 has been overshadowed by the impact of Covid-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) and Kerala Partnership has reacted in small but we hope meaningful ways. This has only been possible through your generous donations; donations made over and above the regular support many of you give each month.
This short report shows you in section 1 a summary of the ‘regular projects’ by type of scheme, and then in section 2 we have summarised what has been done as ‘special projects’ to give assistance during the Covid-19 period (from April to the time of writing – late September 2020).
Please note that you can read any updates on very recent news by the Facebook link that is on the homepage of this website.
Any help you can offer for any of these efforts will be greatly appreciated.
Section 1 – the regular projects and their schemes;
–Self-employment schemes to help families support themselves:
–Care and assistance for older people through:
–Cost of medicines:
–Community nursing service:
–Special ‘one-off projects’:
Section 2 – support given from April 2020 regarding the effects of Covid-19:
Food Kits have been prepared and distributed by volunteers. The recipients either rely on some ‘begging’ each week for food or the ‘worker’ in the home seeking (daily-wage) labouring work for the family. During the strict ‘lock down’ put in place in Kerala in this period no ‘begging’ is possible and all manual ‘coolie’ work is ended. K.P. has given the following aid so far:
N.I.D.S. (Pension Schemes):
Through these special schemes it has so far been possible to give some support to about 500/520 individuals.
Thank you all so much and we are open for any donations as it feels that more aid will be needed.
David and Jane.
Late September 2020
I spent seven weeks in Kerala and Jane made two trips during that time, spending five weeks in total. The plan had been for Jane and I, and our daughter Bethan, visit the projects in the first three weeks and then the two of them would return home, leaving me to teach in Venganoor Secondary School for another month or so and finish any work concerning the projects. It didn’t quite work out as I fell ill within days of Jane and Bethan returning home and that lead Jane to come back to Kerala ‘urgently’ to get me back on my feet. I fell foul of the high
temperatures and suffered dehydration and the effects of strong sun. I was ill for a week, and there was a second bout a week after Jane came back to Kerala but in a milder form. I managed to attend School over the seven week period however and delivered over 30 lessons; less than planned but worthwhile nevertheless.
Enough of these personal dramas, and let’s now describe how your generous donations continue to help individuals and families in truly dramatic ways; ways that significantly improve their lives. This description will reflect a view that Jane and I had concerning the need for ‘balances’ to be reached in how the existing projects were to be reviewed and financed; and how to balance the support given to regular schemes and new projects.
D.M.T. – Old Age Home (Kattakada).
Peter and the small number of staff continue to give love and care, and the 26 residents help each other and help with the running of the home if they are able. We visited four times and sadly one lady died (as a result of a severe chest infection) in late January. Jane and Bethan and I had offered some months ago that we would paint the two main dormitories! Peter had asked for ‘special funds’ of about £130 to get the work done by painters but we said we would do it to save (your donated) money. We did it over two half days for the cost of the materials – about £45.
Some of you may have seen photos of us in action that , unknown to me, were posted on the FaceBook page for K.P. (Kerala Partnership). You can also see this FaceBook page on the K.P. website (www.keralapartnership.com). Please try to take a look as this is where Jane posts ‘latest news’ items, and there are some revealing shots of me wielding a paint roller, rather scantily dressed!
We enjoyed doing something practical and useful but it did reveal some issues that concerned us and which we had to take up with Peter. We saw as we painted how grubby the dormitories had become due to the sand and dust that is ever present in the air, and the inevitable food spillages that happen at most meal times around the beds. We also experienced how congested the main dormitories are. We had difficulties in cleaning, washing, then painting the walls as the beds and chairs could not readily be pushed aside. We felt the walls and floors should not have been left for so long without repainting and polishing but could see why that had been so.
We felt the congestion was not good as it prevented regular and thorough cleaning and it was not really acceptable for the comfort of the residents.
As a result of our discussions with Peter the following actions were agreed:
Left: two of the elderly residents. The lower photo shows the repainted walls!…and a shot of two members of the painting team.
Right: one of the men boiling water so he can take a hot shower outside!
We know that Peter will regularly be pressured by police and local authority officials to take new
individuals at short notice, often because they cannot be bothered to place the person in the proper home / institution; they can have an easier time if they can persuade Peter to accept the person. There are no funds that are provided for any admissions even though the government departments should provide this. We said that these action points were being made on the grounds of cleanliness,
hygiene and the personal comfort of the residents. It also will ‘protect’ Peter to some extent as it restores the balance between helping those in dire need and the quality and standards that are provided.
In our talks about the general running of the Home and the K.P. Funding, Peter asked for an increase in the annual sum as he wanted to raise the salaries of the staff. We knew the salaries were not high but they are similar to those of staff carrying out ‘domestic’ duties elsewhere. Peter wanted an extra £750 per year and we said , with regret, we would not fund this as such a sum would allow considerable new work to be started in other villages where there are people in need. This matter of balancing benefits again perhaps.
Peter is managing to raise a significant sum each month from local donors/ sponsors that goes towards the running costs, and there are no debts relating to the running costs. He works so hard to try to be ‘self funding’ but he still needs your help and financial support.
Therefore K.P will fund the Home with monthly grants of Rs 27,000/- (about £300 per month = £3600 for the 12 months)
We visited three of the six schemes and all who came were pleased to see us, and keen to hear our news.
Everyone told us, through Rajan acting as interpreter, how grateful they are to receive each month the Rs 200 (£2.25) and none made any request about an increase. The volunteers overseeing the pension schemes advised that the Rs 200 should remain as, if there were any extra funds available, then starting another scheme in another village would be a better option. We learned that the cost of food for a person living alone (typically the pensioners are widows or single ladies) is a minimum of Rs30 per day for rice and vegetables. Fish or meat might be afforded once a week. Most rely on getting some free rations from the government schemes in place for BPL card-holders (below poverty line), but it is not a reliable arrangement and often there are no rations available. Most will beg for food or will be given food items by neighbours and relatives if these exist and live nearby. This will happen for some days in the month only. So the Rs200 provides a real help for them as it just might buy 6 days worth of food.
We made two visits to the pensioners at Pandymanpara. You may remember we reported last year about two house renovation projects funded there for two widows. Later in this newsletter there will be more reports about Pandymanpara as K.P. Has funded three more house renovations for three of the pensioners.(Photo on the right: pensioners at Pandymanpara, with a grandchild too!)
At the end of our discussions with all the volunteers about all the projects we have initiated a 7th pension scheme for 10 ‘pensioners’ at Rs 200 per month. This is great news as another village will now be part of the Kerala ‘partnership’. It is not fully decided but it seems likely the new place will an area called Bonacaud.
For the year ahead (April 2018 to end-march 2019) the pension schemes will be granted: 7 schemes x 10 pensioners x Rs200 x 12 months = Rs 1,68,000/- = £1900.
Pakal Veedu (Day Centre) at Mulu Vila.
We made two visits to see this lovely and lively group of almost 30 mostly elderly ladies. They each have a place to live and generally get by with food, but they are lonely. Some live alone while others live with a son or daughter and family. But they are mainly alone during the day. It is clear that all now gear their week around the two days (Wednesday and Friday) when the day centre is open (10.00am to 4.00pm).
In the last 12 months the numbers attending on each of the two days has increased. The original plan had been for 15 to attend once in a week—so 30 people over the two days. But generally 25+ of the 30 come on both days due to their pleasure in meeting, talking and having companionship.
A sign of success—but at a cost! They are such an animated and energetic group; genuinely pleased to hear our news and interact—and anxious to learn if funds could be provided for another year!
We have increased the funding for 2018 for three reasons. First—and you will have guessed this—as more are attending then more refreshments are required. Second, the cost of food items and general supplies has increased everywhere. For example fuel prices have increased significantly and so goods that have been transported into the area are affected; fish prices have soared as the bulk of the catch relies on motorised boats. But it seemed to us that perhaps the third and main reason for price increases was the Introduction of GST (general service tax) – rather like our VAT. Introduced nationally to try to raise government income that might then be used on ‘public service’ welfare plans and so on, it has simply led to price increases.
We agreed to increase the daily sum by Rs5 for each of the 30—about £175 extra for the 12 months. We also gave a one-off sum of Rs 8,500/- (£95) to buy new equipment. With more attending each day there needs to be extra plastic stacking chairs and tables and also another floor standing electric fan to try to cool the room a little.
Total sum allocated to Pakal Veedu for the coming 12 months: Rs 1,80,000/- (c£2000).
FOR THE ‘REGULAR SCHEMES’ THE 2018 TOTAL IS; Rs 6,72,000/- which is £7600.
We like to see if projects have worked and are still operating, or if they have given short term benefits but then faded and finished.
FLAME (Womens Self-Employment Co-Operative)
Located right on the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala we re-visited the women who are stitching / tailoring and baking items for local sale.
You may remember that KP provided capital that enabled the group to start about two years ago. We reported on this last year and the project continues to be a success and indeed the number of young women now coming for training in dress-making has increased. The organising group asked us for a new funding package as they want to expand. We asked them to set out their plans in a simple ‘business plan’ (as we requested at the start of the project) and that we could think about it . It is good to report that the initial sum has led to a successful enterprise as a result of the commitment and expertise of the women.(Photo on the right shows Jane trying one of the treddle machines)
The unexpected death of the elderly lady in Pandymanpara for whom we had sent money last year so that her house could be repaired , meant that we has around £300 in-hand last autumn. We agreed to fund £90 for the purchase of 50 quail birds plus a pen and a supply of corn. This ‘quail project’ to be given to a family who were struggling financially due to the young husband (bread-winner) falling seriously ill with stomach cancer.Jane has posted on the Facebook section more info and photos of our visit to see the family and the birds! It is a success with the birds laying eggs that are being sold locally so that the income can be used to buy vegetables and food items.
Above: Here is the family; the husband had only been discharged home from hospital the day before our visit having had most of his stomach removed. Left: here is Jane….eating the profits! Quail eggs are delicious.
(Note—the balance of the £300 has been carried-over and used to fund some of the 2018 projects).
‘Petty Business schemes’ (vegetable selling)
Four and five years ago KP funded a number of ‘petty business’ projects and we reported in
particular on three ladies who were working collaboratively to sell vegetables. They are still
working successfully in this way! Great news and all as a result of your donations that gave the investment of about £40—50 to each of the ladies.
A second Pakal Veedu (in the district of Vattavila, in the Neyyattinkara district). Success breeds success and we understand that a group in Vattavila heard about the Mulu Vila project and so enquired if they too might receive some help from KP. We met about 25 of the 45-50 ladies who get together on a Saturday
afternoon between 4.00pm and 6.00pm. Vattavila is a busy place and many of the ladies know each other in passing but have not previously had a way of ‘getting to know each other’. They meet in a schoolroom to chat and
socialise. Domestic issues are shared and discussed it seems and this mutual support away from the home setting is much valued. They are keen to have more time together and to plan and carry out some ‘social works’ as a group—such as visiting the sick and housebound. If they started their meeting earlier in the day (say early afternoon) then some refreshments should be given. They are a positive group; they find the energy and drive to come together and they want to help others in need. We sensed this may be an even poorer area than Mulu Vila.
We agreed to offer a small sum to the volunteers who are overseeing the ladies, and indeed were a little ashamed at first: Rs 500 (£5.50) per week. We know we will receive news reports and we have said all of us can jointly review the project in a year’s time.(Photo on previous pageshows how tall Jane is compared to these lovely ‘social action pensioners’)
In talking with Peter (Kattakada ) and those partner-volunteers in Neyyattinkara district, we learned that many individuals and families continue to live in poor housing which in turn leads to heath problems and feelings of danger and uncertainly. This last feature is especially the case among the elderly ladies where their home is so dilapidated that there is no protection from Intruders—animals are most feared). After quite a lot of discussion and making discrete trips to see homes in the two districts, we agreed five repair / partial rebuild schemes. On the website in the ‘gallery’ section there is a folder titled ‘2018’; here you can see some photos of the five.
Here are brief descriptions of the houses and the grants that have been given to the relevant volunteer who will hold the funds and pay for the work : first, three places in Neyyattinkara
For these three projects the local volunteers will indeed collect local donations as the KP funds were a little under pressure and we knew could not meet the full cost of all five. But the volunteers were very concerned to tackle these repairs and so between all of us we committed to finance the works. Partnership in action. All three will be repaired before June (2018) when the first and main monsoon will start. We all agreed this deadline was a ‘must’.
In Kattakada there are two homes for which we have pledged KP grants:
woven into panels. It is an earth floor. I was bitten by flies when I was invited to go inside—it is impossible to keep the place clean. KP grant of £225.
Previous page : the current house—plastic sheets now cover most of the useless leaf matting.
Left: Flash setting used to take the inside photo. See the large holes
Floor tiles were delivered within two days of KP agreeing the grant. They were to be laid three days or so later.
Three photos below and on the right: the fifth home. Two photos showing the unsafe corner that has crumbled and collapsed. Third shot shows the new place.
The total for all KP grants therefore for the 2018—2019 projects (’regular’ plus the new initiatives plus the housing works, including the two pledges) is £9475.The number of people who will receive benefit from these grants is 210—220.
We hope we have achieved a ‘balance, and as ever we sincerely thank you for the continuing support. There remains much to do in our the two main areas where we provide support and whatever is achieved is due to the partners we have in Kerala and your generosity.
Chairman D.Clarke 36 Greenbush Drive, West Midlands,B 63 3TL Phone: (0044) (0) 7939 037339 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian Co-ordinator D.A.RAJAN Mob:+91-94008 92266