including the opening of the Girls' Hostel and reflections from two volunteers
Report from the Treasurer
I made a brief visit to TRUST in November, to keep in touch with Thirumaran and to discover at first hand about the progress of the World for 18+ project, the seemingly endless water problems and other on-going needs of the TRUST Children's Homes.
I'm thrilled to report that the World for 18+ Girls' Hostel is complete (although it still needed water & electricity connections when I was there!). I was able to open it for them with all the girls and boys present and to make small presentations to the builder and his team.
The World for 18+ Boys' Hostel building is a little behind and still requires further funding. The next stage here is to add its roof.
Both buildings will be wonderful and enormous thanks are due to the many generous donors who have made this project possible. (The reasons for it and the early stages are reported here)
Click on any image to enlarge them all
I have not been the only visitor from the UK this year!
Two GAP year girls visited in January, two post university girls in February to March and another GAP year girl in March - as well as a previous visitor returning for a couple of days and another trustee of our Support Group.
The reflections below, from two of them, give a picture of what a visit can mean.
Daisy's memories of TRUST children
- Daisy spent time in a local hospital as well as at the Children's Home
I absolutely loved my time in Vengadampatty and look back on the weeks I was there with nothing but joy.
My time in the hospital with Dr Gunasekaran were some of my favourite days in the whole trip. I was instantly welcomed by all the nurses and the doctor himself, getting to see multiple surgeries. On one day they let me work with them on the ECG unit taking reading for the pregnant women coming in for check ups. My Tamil had to improve quickly during that time and I learnt some useful words to interact with patients! It definitely intensified my desire to go into the medical direction and I am going to do an access course to medicine in September.
The house in the village was beautiful to stay in and I got to know the neighbours well and felt part of the community there.
Rosie and Lily (other visitors) were absolutely lovely, and great companions. I still keep in contact with them both.
It is a beautiful thing to be a part of and I am in constant awe of Thiru's audacity in the face of crisis and absolute drive to give these children the best start in life they could possibly have. Here's a short video I made: https://vimeo.com/379303033 - pleas click on the link and enjoy!
From playing cricket with the boys, teaching in the primary school, cycling to Pavoorchatram to the hospital, and singing with the girls... It was beautiful, emotional and very different from my life in England and taught me so much.
I know I will return one day!
Lily's letter of thanks to Thirumaran (extracts)
Where to begin?
My first time at TRUST will never be forgotten! I honestly had no idea that it would affect me in the way it has done. I do not doubt that my experience with you, your family and the children will continue to influence my thoughts and actions everyday for the rest of my life.
TRUST gave me different experiences, made me feel emotions I didn’t know I had and ultimately highlighted two very important points to me:
Firstly, that friendship, connection and your ability to empathise with others is boundless. No matter where you are the world and who you are with, you can make bonds that will affect you forever.
Secondly, and probably the most significant for me, my experience at TRUST showed me that if you give something you believe in everything you have got, then your experience is 1000 times better and more rewarding.
You just have to grab life and go, and not be held back by anything. That is what TRUST has taught me.
Thirumaran, you have created something amazing! Each and every child at both homes was kind, welcoming and extremely loveable. They have been brought up so well by you and the wardens... giving them constant guidance, advice and biscuits when needed. You make them laugh which is the most important quality I think any person in charge of small children needs.
I felt so at home. Shanti’s food was incredible, please thank her for it. As well, her endless cups of tea and lime juice! Your children were so nice to us, and it was very special for us get to know them. Strangely, up there with the top three things I am missing is our stops for tea and coffee along the way to events!
But ultimately, Mr Thiru, what I am trying to say is that you gave me the best experience I have ever had. You taught me things I won’t forget and things that I will implement back here in England. “Visit us once and feel the difference”. The children are all amazing and I cannot wait to see them again. Please send them my love and tell them I miss them all hugely.