Sustainable farming, an effective poverty reduction strategy

Today is Giving Tuesday. As you spend money on gifts for others, please consider donating some money to bless those who are much less fortunate than we are.

Today we are particularly seeking donations for our sustainable farming project that you can read more about on page 10 of the newsletter. This project seeks to reduce poverty amongst small and marginal farmers by promoting sustainable farming methods which improve crop productivity and increase farmers’ living standards.

In India, irregular rainfall, poor soil fertility, low income and debt make agriculture an unsustainable livelihood for farmers. The use of chemical fertilizers and lack of innovative water management have also increased expenses and affected productivity. Small and marginal farmers are often forced to work as daily labourers in order to make a living.

Groups of marginal farmers are given interest free loans provided through the project which enable them to purchase high milk yielding cows. The farmers benefit from the sale of milk and pay back the loan through easy instalments without interest.

Mr Manogaran from B N Palyam Farmers Club

The project will promote organic farming by educating farmers on cost-effective organic farming methods. Simple methods of converting locally available organic ingredients into effective fertilizers and pesticides are demonstrated so they can be implemented and replicated.

Organic farming methods training at Latteri

We need to raise £4000 in order to fund this project. If you would like to contribute, details of how to donate are here.

Autumn 2019 Newsletter

We have just published our Autumn 2019 newsletter.  View it here:

Friends of Vellore Autumn Newsletter 2019

If you are not on our mailing list and would like your details to be added to this, to receive this newsletter and future issues by post, please complete this form here.

Give the gift of sight on World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day. India is set to emerge as the diabetic capital of the world – by 2030 it is estimated there will be 79.4 million diabetics in India, the largest number in any nation. Diabetic retinopathy is a blinding complication of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. However, blindness due to diabetic retinopathy can be prevented by regular screening and timely intervention.

CMC’s department of Ophthalmology is dedicated to the screening, prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Their outreach team travels to rural areas surrounding Vellore, screening all diabetics presenting for eye care either using a fundus camera and tele-screening or by fundus examination.

An optometrist examines a patient using a fundus camera

However, the numbers they are able to screen by this method are low and confined to those presenting themselves. Moreover, patients requiring treatment need to travel to CMC’s hospital in Vellore, sometimes for several visits which means those on minimal wages who cannot afford the time off work or the cost of travel, do not receive treatment.

Friends of Vellore UK are raising funds to help CMC buy a mobile ophthalmic unit. This unit will address both issues of poor access and follow up. It will make screening accessible to much larger numbers and enable laser treatment on the spot for those requiring it. Apart from diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment the mobile unit will be used for screening for all eye disease in children and adults in areas with poor access. You can donate to this project here.

CMC’s ophthalmology team view a mobile eye unit

People live when others give!

In 1964, James, a young tribal boy from a forest village in Jharkhand, travelled to Vellore, Tamil Nadu. He joined the x-ray technician’s course and learned how to run an x-ray machine. He then spent his life working in a small hospital near his home in Hiranpur. For many years, he was the only x-ray technician in the entire district!

Last month, James found out that he needed a prostate operation. But there was no specialist surgeon in Hiranpur. Fifty five years later, James started his second journey to Vellore. His endoscopic surgery was successfully done in CMC. CMC’s Person-to-Person fund covered all the costs. Before setting out for home, James and his family sang a song of thanksgiving –“We have seen the love of God in the healing work at CMC!”

Friends like you make it possible to help patients like James. Donate to Friends of Vellore today and help us bridge the gap!

Thank you for your support.

You can read more about the Person to Person scheme here.

Abraham George is running the London Marathon for FOV

Friends of Vellore UK are delighted that Abraham George, an Alumnus of CMC, will run the 2020 London Marathon in aid of our project at CMC’s Low Cost Effective Care Unit. For more information and to sponsor him, see his fundraising page here.

The Low Cost Effective Care Unit (LCECU) aims to provide quality but low cost care to the poorest inhabitants of Vellore. Patients pay a nominal amount for registration, and then are only charged for drugs and investigations – even those charges are according to the individual’s ability to pay. Weekly clinics in the main slum area of Vellore get medical support to the very poorest. Typically those living in slum areas will not seek medical help, thinking it is unavailable or too expensive.

Community Health Worker, Alfred with a patient

We are currently funding a £30,000 project over five years to strengthen the outreach services of LCECU through community health workers. The community health workers work in the slum areas of Vellore town, educating the community to improve health and prevent illness, acting as the interface between the community and the unit, and enabling referrals to the hospital where necessary.

If you would like to support Abraham and this very worthwhile project, you can make a donation on his fundraising page here.

Annual Supporters’ Meeting

We invite all supporters of Friends of Vellore to attend our Annual Supporters’ Meeting on Sunday 29th September at the Holiday Inn, Coventry, CV2 2HP (just off Junction 2 of the M6). This is on the final day of the CMC Alumni Weekend, enabling Alumni to stay on and others to join us on the day.  The purpose of the meeting is to update the Friends of Vellore about CMC and Friends of Vellore UK as well as providing an opportunity for fellowship. We are delighted that CMC’s Director, Dr J V Peter, will be joining us this year and will be speaking to us.

The timetable for the morning is as follows:

  • 9:30am Sunday Chapel Service
  • 11:00am Tea/Coffee
  • 11:30am Annual Supporters’ Meeting
  • 1:00pm Indian Lunch (paid for by the charity but donations welcome)

Those attending on the day are welcome to join us in time for the service or to arrive in the coffee break in time for the meeting itself.  If you are able to attend, please let Ruth know so we have an idea of numbers.

Send a birthday gift that makes a difference

What do you buy as a birthday gift for a friend who already has all they need? You might like to consider making a donation to pay for treatment for a patient at CMC in honour of your friend’s birthday. Recently one of our supporters did just this, choosing to give the donation to pay for a patient requiring hand therapy, given this was a particular interest of the friend who will soon be celebrating her 50th birthday.

We created the card below for the donor to give her friend, giving some explanation of her birthday gift. In time, we will send her details of the patient who received treatment as a result of her birthday gift, showing just what a difference it made.

50th Card Front

50th Card Back

If you would like to give a similar gift, you can send you donation in the usual way, but marking it as ‘birthday gift’ and letting us know the name of the person who is celebrating their birthday and their age if it is a special birthday. We will deduct £2 from the gift aid if eligible, or if not the donation, to cover the cost of printing the card.

For more information on how to make a donation, click here.

Spring 2019 Newsletter

We have just published our Spring 2019 newsletter.  View it here:

Spring 2019 Newsletter

If you are not on our mailing list and would like your details to be added to this, to receive this newsletter and future issues by post, please contact us.

Maitri 2019

Please join with us in praying for the work of CMC.

The latest edition of Maitri for 2019 is now available to download.  Maitri is produced by the chaplaincy team at CMC.  It has Bible reflections and suggested areas for prayer for each week of the year.  If you would like to be added to an email list to receive this on a weekly basis, please contact the FOV UK office.

Maitri 2019