Village Ways Charitable Trust - Supporting our partner Communities

Posted in Charitable Trust on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

The Village Ways Charitable Trust was established to enable a wider spread of benefits to communities beyond those directly gained from the operations of Village Ways. Since its foundation in January 2008, the Trust has assisted villagers in training, in facilitating income-generating projects and assisting in social improvement projects. Projects have included tailoring, soap making, handicrafts, health projects, used cooking oil reprocessed for making fuel, revived traditional method of weaving palm, as well as facilitating contracts and marketing links for the sale of ‘Village made’ products. The Trust's most ambitious project has been in the Himalayan valleys of Saryu and Pindar, where it joined BSR’s (Business for Social Responsibility) HERnetwork program in 2014, to conduct a pilot health project at Supi village with the focus to empower women through health knowledge and link the village with adequate health amenities.

Village Ways Director Keith Virgo recently visited the region to catch up on the project and see its local impacts.

"As a patron, I was honoured to be invited by the Village Ways Charitable Trust to join meetings in the health clinic at the Supi Centre and at Budiyakot in the Pindar Valley during November, accompanied by trustee Dinesh Pande.
At Supi there was a packed and enthusiastic audience, including five Pradhans (community leaders) and a representative of the Block Development Office. Credit was due to Mahesh and Deepa for arranging the event and it illustrated the local confidence in the work of the Trust. Ratnamala Kapur (Managing Trustee) explained proposals for the next stage of the Trust’s activities in curative care, seeking suggestions and support from all the villagers. She also introduced Dr Vandana Lal, Trustee, who runs a pathological lab in Haldwani and a charitable eye clinic in Ranikhet. Vandana explained ideas for curative care through possible health clinics, tele-medicine and links to hospitals. The Talla Supi Pradhan offered a building and site for a clinic.

Above image: Keith, Keith, Deepa, Ratnamala & Saruli Devi (a Peer Health Educator from Phase 1 of the Health Awareness Programme)
Later, at the Village Ways guesthouse in Supi, Vandana demonstrated to Deepa a digital blood pressure measuring device, which she had donated to the Supi Clinic. Deepa quickly learnt the procedure, assisted by a Village Ways guest who happened to be an anaesthetist! Next day we visited a proposed site for a clinic. We had received such a warm welcome and enthusiasm for the Trust in Supi.
This was repeated later in the very remote village of Budiyakot, on the far side of the Pindar Valley), where we were joined by a large number of enthusiastic Peer Health Educators (PHEs), who were engaged on the Goodearth-HerNetwork Phase 3 of the Health Awareness Programme.

Above image: Peer Health Educators and Trust Members, Budiyakot, Pindar Valley
There was unanimity that the preventative healthcare trainings had been immensely useful in their daily lives. It was very gratifying to see how the dedication and hard work by Ratnamala and her team had generated such interest in these remote hamlets and villages.
Now the Trust is reviewing plans for a possible curative health programme in these isolated hill villages."

Keith Virgo
December 2018


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