Apply to Join
Jun 29, 2020

Planting the seeds of a strong recovery

It has been six months since the Gaja Cyclone slammed into Tamil Nadu with winds that blew down more than 100,000 banana and coconut trees that had farmers depended on for their livelihoods.  Although we were able to provide immediate emergency relief after the storm hit, we were not able to receive the funds you had generously donated until recently, due to GlobalGiving’s temporary inability to disburse funds to Indian Banks.  But, as we reported in April, we were finally able to partner with a fiscal sponsor in the US who could receive the funds and transfer them to us.

But by then the COVID crisis had changed everything.  For a while, we could focus on nothing but getting food to people who were starving because of the lockdown.  

Once we were finally able to begin work on tree planting, we realized that our plan to conduct workshops on the permaculture concept of magic circles was no longer viable, because of the distance the farmers would have to travel to attend them and the close proximity in which they have to be seated.  So instead, we purchased 1000 coconut tree saplings, which could be distributed individually.  

We purchased a hybrid Tall and Dwarf (T&D) variety that will also fruit more rapidly and more abundantly than the Tall variety, to provide a quicker road to economic recovery, while having a stronger resistance to environmental stresses, such as drought and diseases, than the Dwarf varieties.

The saplings were distributed to 600 families in the Pudukottai District, 100 families in the Thanjavur District, 200 Families in the Nagappatinam District and 100 Families in the Trichy District, based on the recommendations of local leaders.  

Village leaders also helped to distribute the saplings and to explain simple sustainable practices that would help the trees thrive, such as recycling wastewater to keep the soil moist, and recycling vegetable and other biodegradable wastes for manure and mulch.

The families we have been able to help are a small fraction of those still struggling to recover.  If you are able to afford another small donation, just $10 buy a sapling that will provide comfort and hope as well as support for one of the devastated villagers who feel that they have been forgotten in the wake of the COVID crisis.  If you prefer not to donate online, there are many other ways you can give.

But whether you are able to give anything additional or note, please feel proud of having helped the beneficiaries in these photos and many more like them.

Gratefully, 

Janet Preethy

Jun 11, 2020

Good news, bad news

These rations will feed their families for a month
These rations will feed their families for a month

Well, we all know the bad news:  the lockdowns to stem the spread of COVID-19 have had a devastating effect on marginalized people worldwide.  We have not been able to continue work on most of our projects, and the women we had hoped to help now find themselves in desperate straits, since they can no longer sell their produce roadside or at temples. 

But the good news is:  we can provide them with emergency rations to tide them over till they can back on their feet.  We received generous grants from both GlobalGiving and Boise Tamil Sangram, and Friends of the Third World has agreed to act as our fiscal sponsor to transfer both these funds, and your donations, to our bank in India.

So we have been very busy, providing midday meals to those with no other food source and offering longer-term rations for those with the ability to cook.  We are happy to have been able to tide women farmers over until they can begin recovery and are looking forward to being part of that effort as restrictions ease.

Although I realize that some of you have yourselves been coping with a drastic loss of income, if you are able to make an additional donation to help make sure that we can continue to help women feed their families during this time, you can donate to provide food, funds & support for India's COVID-19 victims.  But even if all you can do is share this project with friends and family, we remain deeply grateful for your past support.

Wishing you strength and safety during this difficult time --

Janet Preethi

   

our volunteers helped assemble relief packets
our volunteers helped assemble relief packets
We were careful to ensure safety
We were careful to ensure safety
We distributed bags of rice and dahl
We distributed bags of rice and dahl
May 29, 2020

Thanks to the heroic efforts of our staff & volunteers

Beneficiaries collect rations
Beneficiaries collect rations

As the lockdown enters its third month, and the number of infections continue to rise, we have been relentless in our efforts to make sure that no one is left hungry and that rations reach far and wide. 

Boise Tamil Sangam and VOICE Trust decided to work together on plans to assist 300 marginal and tribal families in 15 villages of Manachanallur Block of Trichy. BOISE Tamil Sangam is an alliance of Tamilians who have settled in the USA. We were blessed to receive a generous grant from them and we immediately mobilized our volunteers to organize the distribution.

Our field volunteers put together a package containing 5 kilos of rice, 1 kilo wheat, 1 kilo red gram, 100 grams each of condiments, 1 litre oil, soap, sanitary napkin, salt, 1 kilo sugar, and 100 grams of tea powder, which they distributed to each family of what ended up being 352 families.  

Earlier this month, we distributed biscuits donated by a local bakery to many homeless individuals and hot lunches to manual workers, day wage earners, and street vendors, all of whom otherwise would have little to eat that day.  We have plans to keep repeating the distribution cycle to all the beneficiaries as often as we are able.

All through the distribution activity, police protection was arranged to avoid overcrowding and ensure the safety of beneficiaries as well as our volunteers. Social distancing was strictly followed by issuing tokens to beneficiaries. Only 10 people were called at a time to queue up for rations. The volunteers donned masks and gloves and used disinfectants to protect themselves and everyone around them. 

I think you can proud of the work you helped fund, and of our selfless volunteers.

As always, thanks for your past support and for any future help you can offer.

Stay well -- stay safe -- stay home!

Janet Preethi

Rations assembled for distribution
Rations assembled for distribution
No one is left without food
No one is left without food
A safe social distance keeps everyone safe
A safe social distance keeps everyone safe
This may be their only meal all day
This may be their only meal all day

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.