Thirumaran at work at homeTRUST (Thirumaran Rural Upliftment Stable Trust) is much more than just the Children's Homes - although they are a very significant part of Thirumaran's work in the rural community.

Visiting the TRUST Children Home and the TRUST Boys' Home, as a guest at Banu Priya's wedding representing the TRUSTchildren UK Support Group, gave me an ideal opportunity to see more of the TRUST project. I came away even more impressed than before with Thirumaran's TRUST projects and delighted to be able to make a small difference through my involvement with our Support Group.

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Local involvement: • There are very many ordinary local families who have supported the children. This is often by providing, cooking and serving a meal to the children as a celebration of a family event (birthday, anniversary etc). This is referred to as 'one time food', and families have contributed one time food well over 100 times in the past year.
Dental checkup• Both a doctor and a dentist have given their time to examine the children and provide advice and reports. Where there were dental problems, the dentist gave his time to repair the teeth.
• The grocery and greengrocery stores sell to the Children's Homes at a discounted rate and provide credit when there are cash flow problems.
• I met a number of business men who are part of Thirumaran's network and who actively support him in his work in support of the rural poor and underprivileged.
• Thirumaran and a network of friends give blood when needed (this initiative began after his mother died for lack of a blood donation) and TRUST also runs an ambulance to take anyone in need to hospital.
• Thirumaran works tirelessly to promote social responsibility, honesty and provides support within the local community. He leads by example, campaigning against bribery and corruption and against discrimination, particularly as a result of caste.

Sustainability: I was delighted to see and to learn of projects that aim to make the children's homes more self supporting, including:
Cow with calf• a cow, to provide milk for the children
• a recent planting of maize to provide fodder for the cow and its calf
• the growing of vegetables, although that has not been possible during the recent drought
• the purchase of five goats which were fattened and then sold at a good profit in time for the festival of Divali
• newly planted coconut trees at the Boys' Home, where each boy has an allocated tree on which he pours the water he has washed in each day.
• teak trees, which should provide a crop in several decades' time!

Accounts: I was able to examine the accounts kept by TRUST which show the way in which UK Support Group funds have been spent. The detailed book keeping is impressive. I was also able to meet the accountant who had audited the books and who gave me a copy of the summary account of the  Support Group funds for their last financial year. On my visit a year ago I met their bank manager, so now both he and the accountant have a face to attach to the funds from the UK.

Boys at the entrance to the Boys' HomeBoys' Home: The Boys' Home is complete and 20 boys are living there. The campus is surrounded by a wall which encloses a good secure area, planted with trees and shrubs, supplied with concrete benches and with plenty of space to play. There is space for significantly more boys in due course.

Water shortage: There has been a serious drought this year and there were about two months during which the Children's Home well and the bore holes were dry - so that the only water available had to be purchased. With the help of a bank loan and support from generous donors through the Support Group, the well at the Children's Home was dug deeper and side bores were drilled. It has now rained and there is water, but the rain was not great and the water supply may not last until the next rains.

The hole that might become a well at the Boys' HomeWater Project: Outside the Boys' Home campus, but on land owned by TRUST, there is already a large hole. If tests suggest that there might be water there, and if financial support comes forward, this could be made deeper to provide a well for the Boys' Home. At the moment they have two bore holes, but neither give much water.
PS A substantial donation from a UK Charitable Trust has enabled digging to start. You can read about progress by clicking here.

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