The Trust pays teachers’ salaries, school fees, university scholarships and even fees for exceptional post graduate students.
As well as providing school buildings and the land to build them on, the Venkat Trust gives support to children through their primary education by funding a number of teaching posts at Panchayat and also pays the fees for 200 pupils at St Joseph’s, Kovalam’s fee-paying Catholic primary and secondary school, which has almost 2,500 pupils. It provides an excellent education and places are oversubscribed.
The Trust pays the salaries of four teachers.
- English teacher for the Panchayat children.
- PE teacher
- Sewing teacher
- Tamil teacher
The Trust funds four university scholarships each year. These cover all the winners’ fees and incidental costs for their three years of study. Successful students are chosen by a committee chaired by the head of St Joseph’s and scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic ability, good character and economic need.
The picture below shows the first intake of scholarship students who have now all graduated. Two, Rubini (far left) and Abdul (second right), have been offered places on post-graduate MBA courses, for which the Trust provides support.
Mercy Valarmathi, (below), already had a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Madras but was hampered from continuing her research by the lack of opportunities in India in her specialist field.
The Trust stepped in to fund her post doctorate research at Reading University where she worked on Indian herbal remedies for the prevention and cure of dental cavities and a snake venom antidote. She is now doing further study.
Mercy will return to India when she has gained work experience in an international pharmaceutical company.
As well as doctors, lawyers and teachers, Kovalam needs skilled craftsmen and women. The Trust has agreed with the Tata Centre in the village, which provides training in catering, air conditioning and refrigeration, electrical engineering and desk top publishing, to pay the fees of any students wishing to go on to vocational training when they leave school.
For some time sewing classes have been held at the Venkat Tuition Centre which have been enthusiastically attended by girls from the village.