Chennai (formerly Madras) in south east India is India’s fifth most populous city of over 5 million people. It is an industrial city better known for its T20 cricket team and the manufacture of cement and cars.
However for all its success it hides the fact that there are many people living in poverty and young orphaned children are often left to roam the slums looking for food and somewhere to sleep.
It was here in 2006 that Muriel Thomson from Portlethen Golf Club came and having seen the plight of these children decided she wanted to do something and became involved with the St Joseph Social Service Centre which had been founded by Sister Bakkiam in 1984. The Centre looks after children from the streets giving them nutritious food, an education and attending to their medical care.
Muriel has sponsored 27 children to attend the English speaking Montfort school and also supports the Hostel Care needs of another 25 Children living at the St. Joseph Centre. The Rotary Club of Stonehaven has sponsored two such children over the last few years. Pradeep, initially as a twelve year old was supported for four years until he finished school and has now secured a job in Chennai . The Rotary Club now supports Arasu, a youngster of thirteen by providing all his Hostel Care needs and his uniform and education at the local Tamil school. As well as their education, medical care is also provided for the children which is very important as viruses are easily picked up and infections can spread to the other children.
It is not just schooling that Muriel supports but also some fun which comes in the form of the annual day out either to the seaside or a water park. There is always some presents at Christmas as well.
Being a golf professional Muriel was also keen to introduce golf which she did by taking a Tri-golf kit to Montfort School. With the help of the R & A in supplying junior golf sets, over 300 hundred children are now getting golf at Montfort school.
Muriel continues to raise funds for 27 children’s education at the English speaking Montfort School which costs £260 per year and for the ongoing Hostel Care for 25 children at the St Joseph Centre who go to the local Tamil school, which costs approx £175 per year. School uniforms are provided for them and 80 children in the crèche.
Muriel raises money by giving talks to interested organisations and these include many of the local Rotary clubs.
She is an honorary member of Portlethen Rotary Club and she epitomises all that is good in Rotary by her tireless devotion to her project, which means giving up her holidays every year so that she can visit India.
Stonehaven Rotary Club is proud to be involved with Muriel and hope that her work goes on from strength to strength.
If you wish to donate to the “Little Drops Charity Trust” St. Joseph Centre project , please contact Muriel direct at Portlethen Golf Club.
The vote of thanks was given by Bill Allan.
For a photo of Muriel and some of the children she works with see page 21.