Providing and improving educational facilities for children and young people in Kovalam, India

The Venkatraman Memorial Trust, known as the Venkat Trust or VMT, was set up in 2004 by Sylvia Holder in …

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The Venkatraman Memorial Trust, known as the Venkat Trust or VMT, was set up in 2004 by Sylvia Holder in memory of Venkat, a young boy she had met 15 years earlier on Kovalam beach, a poor fishing village near Chennai. She put him through school and university and he was forging a successful career when he was tragically killed in a road accident at the age of 27.

Her mission was to improve the village’s abysmal educational facilities, the only free school being a down-at-heel primary school. From its bottom of the pile rating it became an award-winning school.

In partnership with the Tamil Nadu Government, the Trust has built a 1000-pupil high school which enjoys an excellent reputation for its academic and sporting achievements and where the pupils thrive in a happy and stimulating atmosphere.

The Trust provides additional teachers, books, uniforms, a sports ground – and a school bus. Through its sponsorship scheme, 400 of the poorest children, 60% of them girls, are guaranteed improved welfare and the opportunity to realise their potential through further education.

Of the 65 now at university, 40 of them female, and a further 62, 36 of them female, have already graduated. However, there is still much to be done and more funding is needed to spread the net wider, thus ensuring that all girls in the village have the same chance, through education, to have a bright future and see an end to the poverty that has blighted their families for generations.

The Good News

INTO Giving are sponsoring 6 girls from Kovalam through their university education. The money will pay the university fees for three-year degree courses for the six selected sponsored girls, all of them from very poor homes.

Ensuring that girls are given a fairer chance at further education means a chance of changing the inherent gender bias in India's schooling system for the better. 

 

 

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