Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum

by Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum
Help Build Homes and Eco-Toilets in Santhom Slum

Dear Supporters,

Cochin is one of the world's fastest growing economic centres. In 2014 we identified a small section of the Santhom neighbourhood on Kochi island, which is part of Cochin as one of the areas most in need of support and development. Since then a lot has changed.

With your support, we managed to construct 14 houses. Small enough to fit the tiny allocated plots but large enough for a family with children to call a home, and strong enough to withstand the monsoons. You enabled us to build a playground, organise vocational training and renovate and strengthen local schools and their capacity to deliver education in one of the most disadvantaged areas.

The work isn’t done yet, there are more houses to be built, more infrastructure to develop and more vocational training to be done. But, with a strong basis for development laid, we decided to refocus and move efforts to other areas.

Further support for the section will come from the organisation Freedom From Poverty, fundraising right now for further efforts.

When we started the project our aim was to work towards improving the lives of the people in the area, specifically families with children. We have succeeded in doing so, thanks to your support.

Since we started raising money for this project we have been able to achieve the following:

  • Constructed 14 brand new, monsoon proof house for families with young children in Section A of Santhom Colony.
  • Built a playground with slides, swings and merry-go-rounds for all of the children in Santhom Colony to enjoy.
  • Completely rebuilt a toilet block at the local school, St Louis, which serves 100 students and teachers on a daily basis.

The houses

The homes that we built in Santhom are waterproof, flood-proof, comfortable and secure. This means that the families don’t have to worry about spending money on repairs or worry about monsoon rains flooding their homes, rather using their incomes for food, education and medical care.

The playground

The community playground, open to all members of Santhom, has been busy non-stop since we opened it and we are really pleased to report that it has been a great central point for the community. Not only is it a great area for the kids to play in, but it has also meant that people who otherwise wouldn’t have interacted get a chance to meet, which strengthens the sense of community.

The toilet block

The new toilet block means that for the students washing hands has become a fun experience, numbers of ill students have decreased and the school grounds surrounding the sanitary facilities can safely be used for a vegetable garden and even a playground. The old block was completely unsafe and unfit for use. The long-term effect is that the school can now accept more students and with a wheelchair friendly ramp and doorway it will also be able to accept disabled students.

Thank you for all of your support and donations which have made all of these amazing achievements possible.

If you would still like to find out what we are doing in India, please have a look at our Community Project focused on education, women’s empowerment and support for people in Kerala.

With Gratitude,

GVI India

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Hard at work building the sensory garden
Hard at work building the sensory garden

Dear Supporters, 

We are busy working on a number of different construction projects all aimed at improving the surroundings for the local residents. One of the biggest tasks that we are busy with at the moment is building a sensory garden at one of the local schools in the Santhom Area that we work with. 

What is a sensory garden? 

A sensory garden is an area that provides a special place where young children can be immersed in the scents, textures and colors of plants and other sensory elements. Sensory gardens usually have plants that are selected for their fragrance and/or texture, but they can also include other elements like wind chimes, interesting rocks, art works and other garden charms. 

A sensory garden can be an incredibly therapeutic area for people with special needs. It is also a wonderful calming area where anyone can go to gather their thoughts and spend some quite time stimulating their senses.  

In an area such as Santhom, where there isn't too much quiet, calm space, a place like this is invaluable and we are hoping that it will come to be an area where people love going to enjoy some quiet reflection.

Thank you for your continued support of this project and we can't wiat to bring you news of how the garden is being used and enjoyed in the coming months. 

With Gratitude, 

GVI India

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The new toilet block being used
The new toilet block being used

Dear Supporters, 

In our last report, we told you the reasons why St Louis School was in desperate need of a new block of toilets. Today we are happy to bring you news that the toilet block has been completed, inaugurated and being used on a daily basis!

The toilet block serves 100 students and several teachers and it has made a huge difference in all of their lives, it will also positively impact the future of the school. 

The new structure has been built to an extremely high standard and in such a way that the previous issues of flooding during monsoon and subsistence are extremely unlikely. The whole structure has been built at a high level above ground on substantial foundations and the cess tanks are incorporated into the solid foundations also above ground to avoid flooding or collapse. The previous structures have been demolished and broken up to be used to raise the ground level of the pathway to the toilets.

The toilets allow for a greater intake of pupils over the coming years, as well as for admission of disabled pupils as a ramp has been built to access part of the toilet block.

The health and safety of the staff and pupils at St. Louis School has been tremendously improved due to the building of the toilets, and all involved are immensely grateful.

Thank you so much to each and every donor to this project for helping to make this possible. A huge thank you to our main donor, The Anna Crossman Trust- this would not have been possible without you. 

With Gratitude, 

GVI India

Construction in progress
Construction in progress
Final touches before the grand opening!
Final touches before the grand opening!

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The old toilet block
The old toilet block

Dear Supporter, 

Towards the end of 2015, we finally began construction on a brand new block of toilets at St Louis school.

Here is the background:

The boys and girls toilet blocks at the school are in an unsuitable state, both structurally and hygienically, and are not fit for use. The sisters at the school have stopped the children from using them due to concern for the children’s health and safety. This has caused the children to go to the toilet in the open, and in the last week, it has been reported that the girls are suffering from urinary tract infections.

The current condition of the toilets is largely due to poor construction in the first instance. The ground they are built on is prone to flooding during monsoon season, and adequate foundations were not built on a suitable sub-base. The flat roof is also prone to water build up and this along with the weight of the structure has caused subsidence. The ceiling slab does not seem to have adequate reinforcing and has, over time, sagged. The weight of the water tanks at one end has caused uplift of the slab and the subsidence has contributed to substantial cracking at one end of the structure.

This cracking throughout the structure means that the clay waste pipes are also likely to be cracking, so waste is not going to he cesspit. The cesspit is also likely to be subsiding all of which means waste is soaking into the ground below the structure contributing even more to the subsidence.

New toilet blocks for the boys and, especially, more facilities for the girls, need to be built as soon as possible. 

Staff and volunteers here in Cochin are all extremely concerned about this situation and the children’s health and safety.    

GVI met up with a local contractor on site recently to get an indication of budget and initial design proposal from him based on his local experience of building in these conditions.  We will also get alternative quotes and weigh up our options once we have all of the facts.

The new structure(s) would ideally include pile foundations with an adequately reinforced concrete slab base finishing higher above ground level than the last structure. The cess tank would also require better reinforcment. Plastic rather than clay waste pipes would also be advised.

Ideally, the boys toilet will incorporate a stainless steel urinal and be tiled throughout allowing for better cleaning, hygiene and maintenance and to avoid waste going on walls and floors. This is presently evident in both the boys and girls toilet blocks. The girl’s new toilet block should also have more than the present two facilities.

In order to try and keep costs low we are hoping that the contractors will be able to use leftover materials from previous projects, at a reduced rate. We will also be actively approaching local companies who manufacture and supply sanitary ware, plumbing, tiles and water and cess tanks to potentially acquire ex-stock, returns or with slight faults free of charge or reduced prices.

GVI will be managing the project, undertaking works and involving construction volunteers in all aspects of the build from start to finish reducing labour costs wherever possible.

Time is clearly of the essence and the sooner we can achieve completion the better it will be for the children of St. Louis School.

We look forward to bringing you news of our progress! 

With Gratitude, 

GVI India

Girls toilets with sagging roof
Girls toilets with sagging roof
Cracking roof
Cracking roof
Boy's urinal
Boy's urinal
Cracked and sinking floor
Cracked and sinking floor

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Dear Supporter, 

2015 has been a whirlwind of construction and fix-up projects here in Kerala in Santhom Slum and it has been incredible to see how this project has really improved the quality of people's lives and helped to create a real sense of community in the slum. 

We were able, through your funds as well as funds from the Anna Crossman Trust, to build 14 brand new houses in section A of the slum. All of the families with children were given a new home. Having a new house is so much more than just the materials that make it up. It provides a sturdy and safe environment. It means that less energy and resources have to go into keeping dry and fixing temporary walls and rooves. It means that children get sick less often and can go to school. It is an incredible gift. 

Another massive community improvement project that we have been able to achieve this year is the construction of a playground. It has been built in the 'crossroads' of all four sections of the slum, which has had a wonderful. It has meant that people that have never previously interacted and have had historical feuds for unknown reasons, now have a communal place that everyone enjoys. Mothers chat and children play together. It is wonderful!  

And, we have some wonderful news to share with you and we hope that you'll be just as excited as we are! This year, we are going to be starting construction on a brand new block of toilets for St Louis School. This is set to be a major improvement for the area and will go a long way to improving the standard of hygiene at the school. We can't wait to share updates with you as this project progresses!

Thank you for an incredible 2015!

With Gratitude, 

GVI India

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Organization Information

Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Kate Robey
London, London United Kingdom

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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