Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The other night we went to a Halloween party, yes it was November 12 and the boys went trick or treating. What can I say, they take their time over here ;) We had a great time meeting people who are originally from the US but live in Valencia and their partners, who come from around the world.

In the middle of good food and great conversations I learned about an amazing cause. There is small organization called R.A.I.D (Rural Association for Integrated Development) in southern India who's goal is to aid rural communities in the area of self sufficiency. One component of the program currently provides housing, meals and education for 30 children. These children either come from homes where there was domestic violence or where the family couldn't afford to provide for them. The organization pays for a caretaker, and a cook who make less than 100 euros a month combined. Right now the children are sleeping on straw mats on the concrete floor. One of the fundraising goal this winter is to buy the kids bunk beds and mattress before cooler weather arrives. The total cost for bedding for all 30 kids is a little under $3000. What really struck me about this org is that it's large enough to make a big difference in the lives of the children, but small enough to keep the money going where it needs to. There are no over head fees other than the cook and care takers salaries. They have no admin fees or advertising budgets. Every dollar raised for this project will go directly to providing bedding for the children.
The season of Thanksgiving is upon us and as we think of all that we have to be grateful for let's also give these children something to celebrate. Please make a donation and more than that spread the word to others. My hope is that the children will be sleeping in their new beds before Christmas.

I have personally met the representative for this organization and will collect the money via paypal and pass it directly to him. So please look on the side of this post find the Beds4Kids button and donate anything you can.

If you have any questions about the program please feel free to email him with questions, his name is Andy: macleod.pigtraining@gmail.com (he's a pig farmer :)

Here are the history and details I got from Andy:

RURAL ASSOCIATION FOR INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT (RAID) is a charitable organisation that was established in 1986 in Hosur, a region near Bangalore, which is part of the State of Tamil Nadu in South India.

In 2001 Mr Leonard Ramsamuj a British National who lived in Crouch End, North London, bequeathed a sum of money to be used for the development of marginalised sections of society in India, particularly for development work among women and children. His bequest was donated to RAID who managed the projects listed below.

Between 2001 and 2007 RAID managed two projects, Ramsamuj Centre for Development of Children (RCDC) and Ramsamuj Women’s Empowerment Programme (RWEP).

Under RCDC a children’s home for 20 was established and under RWEP a project for 17 women who were chosen from the local community. These women were assisted in securing a loan from the bank to purchase land and were supported in building a small house for their families.

It is pertinent that all of these families came from two particular castes of people – the Kuravars (nomads who earned their living doing body tattoos) and Erulars (snake charmers). Both these caste of people had over the years lost their livelihood due to changes in the way society was developing and also changes in law relating to snakes becoming protected species under Indian law.

RWEP was a successful project and achieved the aim of establishing 17 houses for the women over the years, some of whom have now built an extension to their original one roomed house. An outreach worker employed by RAID continues to provide support to these women in establishing self-help groups, literacy programmes and health programmes.

Up until 2006 both these projects were solely funded by the interest from the bequest of 102.000€ (£88,000) made by the late Mr Ramasmuj. However, in 2006 the original house where the children were living became unfit for habitation and new land was bought and a home built for 20 children, with the support of money raised from several private donors and a small bequest from the late Mrs Ramasamuj. In 2008 the new building was opened. In 2009 a second floor was added creating space for 10 more children. This was done with the support of one private donor who undertook to support these 10 extra children for a period of 10 years.
Prasanth Siruvar Illam (translated as Prasanth Home for Children) was established in 2009 as a home for 30 children between the ages 5-18.Almost all the children are from one parent families where they were exposed to domestic violence, alcohol abuse or too poor to be able to afford to send them to school.
The Children’s Home is managed by a committee made up of unpaid voluntary workers, whose president Mr Yesupadam lives on the premises. He is supported by a live in warden and a cook and also by two outreach workers. Children attend the local primary and secondary schools. Parents and Guardians are invited to the home to visit their children regularly.

Total annual cost of maintaining each child is around 300€ (£265). There are no extra administrative or other costs, so all money donated goes directly to the project. Annual accounts are audited and freely available as RAID works on a policy of total transparency.

So far no extra funding has been needed, other than when the land was purchased and the building extended to include 10 extra children. However, recently it has become apparent that further funding is necessary in order to continue to support these children and offer them a reasonable standard of living and to help them through further education.

A number of specific requirements are now urgently needed:

At present children sleep on rush mats on the tiled floor. Over the last few years the climate has become successively wetter and some of the children are now suffering health problems for this reason. It is hoped to provide bunk beds and mattresses as soon as possible. Each bed will cost 92€ (£80) and each mattress 30€ (£27). The total cost for all children will be 2440€ (£2130).
At present each child has a small box or suitcase in which to keep their clothes and personal belongings, which are housed on shelves in the bedrooms. Many of these are broken and need urgent replacement. It is hoped to purchase a small tin trunk for each child, which can be stored underneath the bunk beds. Each trunk will cost 8€ (£6.50), the total cost being 245€ (£213).

Raid was previously owner of a car which became unroadworthy and had to be scrapped. At present Mr. Yesupadam uses his own private and very small car in cases of emergency. He is, however, by law, unable to claim any expenses for its use, a considerable problem since he is also unpaid. A new vehicle is urgently needed to transport the children when necessary and it is hoped to purchase an eight seater “people mover”: A suitable petrol driven car will cost 6850€ (£6000) and a diesel driven car 11450€ (£10,000). In India diesel fuel is roughly half the cost of petrol, so clearly a diesel car would be more cost efficient.
In 2013 two children are hoping to start university which will cost 535€ (£465) each per year. By law the children must leave the home when they reach 18 and it is hoped to establish a fund to ensure continued support in their future life, be it further education, marriage, employment or housing.

In summary, apart from the normal running costs of the home, a further 14.000€ (£12,500) will be urgently needed over the next two years. If you feel you can help, at whatever level, be it a one off donation or a commitment to regular giving, your donation will be very gratefully received. Please be assured that 100% of donations will be used directly for the project – none will be deducted for administration, advertising or any other extra cost. For corporate donations photographs of the project can be provided, including company logos if required. If you would prefer to assign your donation towards a particular purpose this can be arranged or if you would like to support a specific child in their further education and maintain contact with them, this too will be possible. All donors who provide names and contact information will be regularly updated on the progress of the project and the use of their money.

Donations can be made by transfer to the following accounts:
Spain: Andrew Stewart Macleod (RAID) 00303105980000557271

UK: S.C.Jacob (RAID) Sort code:55-50-21 A/c 69499624

If you would like to talk to us we can be contacted on:

Valencia (Andrew) 615307813-macleod.pigtraining@gmail.com

London (Shanti) 07939093459-shanti@pobox.com

Please do be sure to let us know your contact details so that we can keep you up to date with the project.

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