80,000 people live in this rugged terrain in Tamil Nadu, 37 miles from Vellore and their history, extreme poverty and poor road access mean that their health, literacy and development indicators are tragically low. Most people are small-scale subsistence farmers or land labourers. Due to poor conditions, many migrate to find seasonal farming work in nearby districts, taking the children with them who then miss school for extended periods. CMC’s Community Health and Development team (CHAD) are working in this area to improve health and provide development opportunities. However, they desperately need funds to make their vision for these people to live a healthy and productive life, in harmony with nature, a reality.
Chronic malnutrition, TB, malaria, diabetes, high blood pressure, leprosy, HIV and thalassaemia are big problems along with infections, orthopaedic issues and alcoholism. CMC is currently working in the area providing mobile clinics to the most accessible villages. They have chosen four villages that are relatively accessible and they want to provide toilets, clean water, and start community programmes. They are also running evening study centres and summer camps for the children as well as setting up a mushroom cultivation area. However, they want to do more and are asking for our help. They have already started training young people from the villages in health care.
Friends of Vellore UK would like to fund a particular project that will make a real difference to the lives of the villagers. We hope to raise £20,000 in the first phase of our project and would like our contribution to the work to be vital to the way forward. We are exploring funding development opportunities for young people, in particular work to regenerate the community workshop and provide vocational courses (eg carpentry) for young people that would provide them work in the hills rather than needing to go elsewhere.
CMC are unable to use their clinic in the Jawadhi Hills effectively because overnight facilities for staff are not available and the journey time from CMC is three hours each way. Having somewhere for people to live at the health centre would seem to be the key to further development, however, the land needs to be purchased first. Please pray that it would be possible to buy the land and also that funds would be raised for the purchase of the land and for building staff accommodation.
Raising £20,000 seems an enormous challenge but please do consider whether it’s something you’d like to be part of. You can donate here.
In November Dr Koppada RajaRatnam, one of our Trustees who is leading on Jawadhi Hills for Friends of Vellore UK, visited the area to see how the money we raise might be best used. You can read his report here.