Jul 7, 2020

Much accomplished, much still to be done

We were thrilled last month to receive a generous grant from GlobalGiving's Disaster Relief fund to support our emergency relief activities.  We were able to purchase and distribute a month’s worth of rice and groceries to 506 families in Trichy and to send funds to our partners to purchase and distribute rations for 494 families further afield.

The residents of VOICE Trust’s Friendship Home for parentless and at-risk children received, assembled and packed the relief rations in cloth bags printed with the names of supporting organizations, for distribution as follows:

* Groceries for 75 families of to tribals and the landless labourers were distributed by Shine TREEchy 
* Groceries for 100 refugee families and household afflicted by HIV/AIDS were distributed by Manitham Organization 
* VOICE Trust staff and volunteers distributed rations to:

  • 25 families of sex workers who had assembled in Siruganur Police Station for counseling (dispensed through the Inspector on duty) 
  • 73  families daily-wage workers in Gandhi Nagar in Konalai Village 
  • 208 differently abled individuals in Siruganur, C.R. Palayam & Tirupattur
  • barbers, sweepers and cleaners around the VOICE Trust offices
  •  25 families in Kondaimpattai 

We also transferred fund to our partners to distribute relief goods as follows:

  • To Kalai Pattarai for 144 families of Ekkatuthangal in Chennai
  • to the WEEDS NGO for 130 widows in Tuticorn District and 120 daily-wage families in the Kannyakumari District. 

Distribution activities were accompanied by an explanation of safety measures needed to control the COVID virus, and all beneficiaries promised to wear masks, use hand sanitizers and keep their home surroundings clean.


The need continues to be great, since the COVID Lockdown, though loosening, continues to deprive thousands of their regular income.    

While we continue to need support for emergency rations, we are also in need of funding for long-term economic recovery to help us provide:

  • Seeds for sowing when the new agricultural season starts in August 2020 
  • Organic manure and biological pest repellents 
  • Goats for widows
  • Tailoring jobs for women 
  • Cash grants to trade enterprises in afflicted sectors

We are deeply grateful for GlobalGiving’s support, without which starvation or suicide would likely have claimed many lives and many more would have been anguished by hunger and despair.   With their help, we provided 900 families with confidence and hope, freed from fear as to where their next meal would come from.

But this is just the start of a long and difficult struggle to provide for the resource poor of Tamil Nadu and to help them start earning an income again.

With your help, we will get through this!

With gratitude for your past support, 

Janet Preethi

waiting to receive rations
waiting to receive rations


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.


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
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