Sponsorship of 75 women to complete their university and vocational studies, with Gramodhaya
OUR 2017 PROJECT
Location : Southern most parts of Tamil Nadu in Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu , India.
Overview: Gramodhaya is a non governmental organisation which renders services to the economically and socially disadvantaged and marginalized bottom line communities in southern part of India. The project area is characterised with a typical slum settlements in Tirunelveli Municipal Corporation and nearby villages where the Rag Pickers, Scavengers and other Dalit communities live.
In August 2017 Francis Amalraj of Gromodhaya contacted Lara’s Foundation with the following request:
…….We are hoping that we may be allowed to submit a funding application for higher education of rural girls who are against the odds, has completed the 10th grade, and has dreams of higher education, becoming teacher, nurse, doctor and entrepreneurs and a career. Higher education leads to formal sector employment and a higher standard of living for herself and her family. But, poverty made continuing an education and establishing a career impossible due to unable to afford college tuition, weighed down by family responsibilities and early marriages. They are the most disadvantaged girls who come from different difficult backgrounds; such as orphans and children from extreme poverty stricken families, those living with HIV infected poor parents, children of widows, rag pickers, scavengers and long term convicted prisoners
The Gramodhaya Social Service Society respectfully requests a grant of £8,498.15 for our “Enhancingyoung girls through Education” project.Scavengers and Rag Pickers belong to the bottom most rungs of the caste ladder in India. They havebeen oppressed and ostracised by all the other caste communities for more than ten hundred years. Theirstatus has not changed much even today.
This project prime focuses on young girls from Scavengers and Rag Pickers communities the mostbackward section of the society. The ultimate aim of the project is especially to cover the young girls tocomplete their education with the english knowledge and to get suitable job.Our Board members are enthusiastic and deeply appreciated about the work that you are doing atTanzania and we also eager to implement the proposed project for the most underprivileged young girls.Thank you for your consideration of our request. I will follow up with you to answer any questions youmight have. If you have any clarification, we are pleased to provide at any time.
We ensure that the project will fulfil Lara’s Foundation’s goal. The great personality of Lara’s soulremains in all our hearts especially the young girls and their families of this project in Indian soil.
With the magnanimous assistance received from Lara’s Foundation, we have been able to help the girls from the socio economically discriminated and bottom line community to take some valuable steps via education to improve their lives. The girls are so happy and filled with new hope. They are now more confident of enhancing themselves and uplift their community in due course. Surely they have been able to find a new direction and purpose in their lives thanks to Lara’s Foundation. Lara will shine in the new found hope and joy of the 75 girls helped in her lovely great name.
August 2018 Update from Gramodhaya
Present status of the girls supported
- 29 girls were supported for continuing the final year of their higher secondary school education. 27 girls have passed in the school final exams. Sadly, two of them could not get the required pass marks. They have been motivated to appear again for the exams later when the exams are conducted.
- 18 girls were supported to join in the under graduation course in the colleges. They have passed in their first year exams. They are now continuing their studies. They have been given the financial assistance for the second year expenses.
- 4 girls were supported to join in the polytechnic college. A meeting was organized at the Government IRT Polytechnic College – Tirunelveli on 20.08.2018. The Principal of the College, Mr. S. Francis Amalraj – Secretary Gramodhaya, four girls who are pursuing second year Polytechnic Course, the parents of the girls and office staff were also present. The fees and other relevant expenses have been paid for the second year course. The College Principal, Staff and the parents have expressed their deepest and heartfelt thanks to Lara’s Foundation for the valuable assistance in helping the girls to continue their studies. They have passed in their first year exams. They are now continuing their studies.
- 3 girls were supported for pursuing B.Sc Nursing Course. As these girls are staying at college hostel they were unable to attend the meeting. The parents of these girls attended the meeting. The Lara’s gift for continuation of education for second year nursing course was given to the parents of these girls. The parents conveyed their sincere heartfelt thanks to Lara’s Foundation. They were visibly moved very much. They felt this wonderful concern and generous help truly made a difference in their daughter’s lives. The girls have passed in their first year exams. They are now continuing their studies.
- 21 girls were supported to undergo professional coaching to appear for the job guaranteed competitive exams. They have attended a full course of preparations for competitive exams. They have written one competitive exam. They are awaiting the results. They are also planning to write many more exams as exams are conducted for various jobs. As they are allowed to attend classes at the coaching centre until they pass any one of the exams, most of them are attending the classes so that they could prepare themselves better to take up the exams.
- One girl among them named S. Saranya had got placement and appointed as Secretary Assistant in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited. Four girls named M.Archana Devi, S.Karpagam, R.Soniya and K.Devi have successfully passed written exams conducted by Department of Police but could not qualify in the physical fitness test; and hence were not selected. However, they have not lost their hopes. They are still continuing their efforts. Another girl K.Veerakali was appointed as Teacher in Government Municipal School. All these have been possible; thanks to the timely and generous support of Lara’s Foundation. These girls and their parents thank you profoundly.
Conclusion These girls are very happy that they have been able to reach this stage in their journey towards a better tomorrow though there is still quite some distance to go. But they are now confident and eager to go the distance. Obviously, their parents are also very happy about the new purpose and direction of their girls. They feel that left to themselves, this opportunity would not have come true for them. They feel that it has been possible only because of Lara’s Foundation.
January 2019 Update from Gramodhaya
We are happy to inform you that all the 25 girls who are being helped in the first phase to pursue post school education have passed in their semester exams successfully. The 28 girls supported in the second phase also passed in their first semester exams successfully. It is really important that they pass in their first semester exams as it gives them the confidence that they can complete their post school education successfully. Among the 21 girls who wrote their first competitive exams, only two got the job placements. Unfortunately the others could not succeed. The competitive exams are rather tough. It needs good IQ and very hard work. We have encouraged the girls not to lose heart and prepare well for the next set of competitive exams which would be held in March, April and May this year. They are preparing well. We wish and hope that they succeed.
While interacting with them, we could see how eager they are to continue their studies. They are now highly motivated to complete their studies successfully and get well employed. They are more confident now. We also encourage them and motivate them. We have also met their parents and helped them to understand well the importance of their girls’ education. One of the dangers is early marriage of girls in the scavenger communities. We have also made them think more deeply about it and helped them to get convinced that their girls’ education will ensure a better future and a better family. So far so good. Nobody has dropped from their studies and is found with great resolve to aim higher in life.
Thanks to Lara’s Foundation and particularly because of your concern and love for these girls, the girls have got this rare opportunity to pursue post school education. The transformation in their lives is quite visible which will surely make you happy as it is also to us all here in Gramodhaya. The girls and their parents thank you so much with grateful hearts. We also thank you for the opportunity given to us by Lara’s Foundation to help these girls.
20 April 2020. We received the following request from Gramodhaya…
Mitigating the fall out effects of COVID – 19
and the lock down for the poor
AN APPEAL TO LARA’S FOUNDATION
The worldwide spread of COVID – 19 pandemic is subjugating people to untold
misery and hardships. Valuable human lives are lost. Everything seems to have come to a grinding
halt. Our target area of community interventions in India, particularly Tirunelveli District is no
exemption. In India, 17,615 people have been infected with COVID – 19 and 519 people have
died. In our State of Tamil Nadu, 1477 people have been infected with COVID – 19 and 32 people
have died. In the town of Tirunelveli, where Lara’s Foundation is supporting girls for their
education, 62 people have been infected with COVID – 19 and 3 people have died. The plight is
Tirunelveli has been marked as red zone. Nearly half of the town is in total
containment. Lock down has been imposed from 24 th March to 3 rd May in the entire town of
Tirunelveli as elsewhere in India in a short notice of just one day. If no fresh case is reported for 28
days, it will come under green (safe) zone. Then the lock down will be lifted. But the situation is
grim. Every day, new cases are reported. The rapid test kits have arrived here just today. With
more tests, there would be more positive cases. This will prolong the lock down period beyond 3rd
The lock down has affected the poor drastically. They have lost their livelihood.
They live on frugal meals and dole outs. Most of them have borrowed money from private
money lenders to manage their daily survival. The people in the unorganised sector suffer most as
their income has suddenly come to a grinding halt. The girls being supported by Lara’s Foundation
and their families are also suffering much without any income and food. In fact, all the other
families living in their community are also in a very grim situation. Being from the bottom most
line in the caste system and relying mostly on cleaning works in the hotels and houses of the rich
and on any casual labor when available, they are now deprived of their livelihood. They need
emergency support for immediate sustenance. A package of rice, groceries, cooking oil, toiletries,
masks and menstrual pads is urgently needed for them. We request you to kindly help us to provide
those items to the families of the 104 girls being supported by Lara’s Foundation as well as to the
other 214 unfortunate families living in their community. A package of these items would cost Rs.
2300(£24.2). For 318 families, we need Rs. 731,400 (£7697).
We appeal to Lara’s Foundation to help us to provide these 318 families the
emergency relief items.
Thanking you and with kind regards,
As a result of this appeal, we authorised Gramodhaya to utilise the funds we had previously sent for educational expenses to be reallocated to the appeal and to provide food and toiletries.
As the situation in Tamil Nadu continued to deteriorate, we provided £15,000 in funding to enable Gramodhaya to continue to support the needs of the local community.