Volunteer's Neem Tree Trust grows
When Kathy Miller decided to travel to Southern India with Projects Abroad in 1999, little did she realise how much it would change her life. Five years on, Kathy's charity, The Neem Tree Trust has gone from strength to strength.
After spending a month teaching near Madurai, Kathy was given the opportunity to spend time at The Society for the Care of the Handicapped where she was touched by the boys and their mutual respect and love for each other despite their situation. Most of the boys have suffered from polio and all come from very poor family backgrounds so Kathy decided to set up The Neem Tree Trust to help with the boys' education and to generally help to relieve child poverty in the Tirunelveli area.
On her return, Kathy, her husband Ken and the two other trustees - John Hoskins and Patricia Kinzett worked hard to achieve charitable status for The Neem Tree Trust and were granted this in November 2003. In the last year alone they have raised £6,485 from starting a lottery club, £5,266 from sales of goods made by the boys themselves and over £800 from friend, Graham Dove who ran the Bath Half-Marathon in aid of the trust.
Kathy visits the boys' home at least once a year to meet up with the boys, to donate money and collect their crafts to sell back in the UK. This year she presented Dr Karuna Chelliah who runs the home with a cheque worth £8000 to pay for boys' corrective surgery, vocational training equipment, the creation of a sensory garden for the boys to play in and meet their families, a special oven to make body braces for the severely disabled boys and an educational trip to Kerala for the boys amongst other things.
The Neem Tree Trust has been so successful that Kathy and the trustees have decided to expand their support to St Luke's Leprosy Hospital at Peikulam, by selling the ladies' colourful woven baskets with all profits going back to the hospital.
If you'd like to find out more about The Neem Tree Trust, buy products made by the boys, greetings cards designed by them or donate to this good cause then please visit the web-site at www.neemtreetrust.org.uk.