Buildings

The Trust has built five buildings and set up two sports grounds. The Kovalam High School, opened in summer 2013 and the second phase to extend it to a Higher Secondary School is now underway. The Janakiraman Community Hall is used by our sponsored children and for village events.

Kovalam Higher Secondary School

The splendid Kovalam Government High School, opened in 2013, was built and equipped by the Venkat Trust in association with the Tamil Nadu Government. Until recently it taught pupils up to Standard 10, after which they had to move to a fee paying Higher Secondary School to complete Standards 11 and 12, the equivalent to the UK’s two-year Sixth Form.

The Trust has been lobbying the Tamil Nadu Government since the school opened for it to be given Higher Secondary School status and for pupils to be able to complete their full secondary education there.

Permission was at last granted in 2021 and work to complete the second phase of the VMT Higher Secondary School is now underway.

This involves building a 12-classroom extension to the existing building. The Tamil Nadu Government is helping with the building costs but the Trust has to come up with the important extras.

So far, we have provided specialist teachers, extra computers, uniforms, English audio-visual lab, sports equipment (and the land for the sports ground at the Primary School), school bus, well equipped science lab and 5500 book library. Maintenance is also our responsibility – otherwise there wouldn’t be any.

Sport is important at the school – the Trust believes that physical exercise is an important or essential part of mental and psychological well-being. The Trust introduced snooker when the school opened thanks to a beautiful snooker table, donated by a generous supporter and transported to Chennai by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). Already massively popular in India (the game of snooker was invented in Bangalore in 1875), the WPBSA is keen to develop snooker in schools where it is considered to have many recreational as well as educational benefits– particularly in the field of numeracy skills. Children – boys and girls – have weekly lessons from Chennai’s No 1 snooker player and one pupil used his snooker skills to find a a plum job as a coach at the prestigious Madras Cricket Club.

Founder Sylvia’s passion is cricket, which she shares with most of India. No surprise then that the school has a splendid cricket pitch and nets with a bowling machine donated by another generous supporter – also a major cricket fan. There’s even a girls’ cricket team, a first for a Government school in Tamil Nadu.

Find out more about how to help build the Higher Secondary School extension here

Sun News made this short film about the Trust, (translation from Tamil here).

Panchayat Primary School

Kovalam’s village school (left) was very run down, ill equipped and overcrowded when the Venkat Trust was set up in 2004. As well as providing furniture and equipment the Trust, with the help of our supporters, has built a new classroom block, the Ganesh Building, and a covered dining/outdoor classroom area.

The Ganesh Building (above right) replaced one of the original classrooms which had to be demolished after repeated flooding. A handsome two storey building, donated by CIM Investment Management, now provides a huge downstairs area and two first floor classrooms.

The open sided dining hall (right) is a really versatile building. As well as being used for lunch, it’s an assembly and performance space out of the sun and a handy extra classroom.

Janakiraman Community Hall

Built on land bought by the Trust in the middle of the village, The Janakiraman Community Hall is the focus of sponsored children’s activities and where they get together every Sunday. Alongside is a playground, used by Panchayat Primary children as well as for the hugely popular annual VMT Sports Day.