Latest from Kerala

Edmund Plummer

Rejoice with us and with Pastor Sam and his ladies!
On April 10th he and his very extended family finally moved in to Thanal (hope) House their new purpose-built home at Kattakada.
This is the culmination of three years’ work and generosity – first we embarked on our biggest ever fund-raising project in 2005 and you raised £13,000 to buy a splendid plot of land in the country near Trivandrum.
Then two ladies in a high caste charismatic church in India raised even more money – much of it from Anglican churches in the Muslim Gulf states – to build the house.
All so that an Indian Pentecostal pastor could have a suitable place for over forty destitute and abandoned women, of all religions and none, to live.
They are no longer abandoned or destitute; instead they are now loved and cared for in congenial surroundings, where they will now even have the dignity of being able to grow some of their own food and earning some money.  Truly we are all one in Christ.

Last issue we reported on some of the things that we had done when we were in India in January.  It was a very busy time – we were out from first thing in the morning until late at night most days – and there is much more to tell you about.


One of the highlights was to visit Agash and his parents.  Those of you who were at the supporters’ evening last autumn may remember that we prayed briefly for this lad: he had one operation for three holes in the heart when he was younger, which used up all his parents’ money, but he needed another, very risky, operation for a variety of incomprehensible medical conditions (PA interruption, pulmonary atresia, tricuspid atresia and confluent PA anatomy) which HHI paid for.
Thanks to your prayers and gifts, the operation was a success, and we were greeted by a bouncy, mischievous five-year-old who proudly showed us the scar from his operation.  We left him with a book of Bible stories, which he was delighted with.

We spent a very different morning at Kollengavu, a Christian settlement where many of the people are reed-workers.
This was set up by the Church about thirty years ago, but lack of maintenance and the passage of time has meant that it has fallen into disrepair: wells have fallen in, roofs leak, houses are on the point of collapse, toilets no longer function, and so on.
The living conditions of many people are pitiable, and, for the first time in India, I saw people who were dirty and unkempt – a sure sign that they have lost hope.

village house

The Indian government has said that they will help, but only if the inhabitants sign the Hindu certificate, declaring themselves to be Hindus and taking Hindu names.  Most are standing true to their faith, although some have given in to the pressure.  We have had the village surveyed professionally, and it would cost about £40,000 to provide wells and toilets and carry out basic renovations to the houses.
We are doing what we can, providing a few toilets each month, but it would be wonderful if we could get the £40,000 somehow.

Where possible, we work with Indian nationals who are committed to a project, but are limited in what they can do because their funds are limited or even non-existent.  One example that we visited is Shanti Bavan (House of Peace), a home for destitute people in Trivandrum.
When we visited, Johnny and Rani were looking after 36 people (29 men and 7 women), most of whom are severely mentally subnormal or suffering from psychiatric problems.  They get no government support for this, only some gifts from a prayer group.  Despite the very basic living conditions, everyone seemed to be very happy; the inmates help around the house with designated chores that match what they can do. 

Shanti Bavan

We have agreed to support this to the tune of 2,000 Rupees (£25-30) a month – this will be enough to buy two 70kg sacks of rice, a useful contribution which will come from our Alternative Gift Catalogue money.

Often the help that HHI gives is quite small-scale.
Another person that we visited was Lali.  Lali was involved in a serious motor accident (these are very common in India) which had meant a number of operations.  As the family’s money has run out, HHI has helped to pay for the last two operations, and will help with others in the future if funds permit.  When we visited we found a young man who was extraordinarily cheerful  despite his immense suffering.  One cause of this was some awful bed-sores; we bought him a water-bed so as to relieve these and make his convalescence more bearable.

Another person that we have helped is Santosh.  He was involved in a motor-cycle accident, and was dumped outside the central hospital with serious leg injuries. 

injured leg

However, as he had no-one to act as his “bystander” (someone who would feed him, get his medicines, and care for him), he was not allowed in, and instead he just sat outside the hospital for several weeks, begging, with ants eating his wounds.  Eventually we found out about him, and we were able to arrange for a bystander and for him to be admitted to the hospital.  After nine operations, which HHI has paid for, he can now stand and also walk with crutches; he will have at least one more operation.  The hospital is giving him physiotherapy for free; we are continuing to pay for the rent on a room near the hospital, transport, and food for him.

In our last newsletter we reported on progress towards buying a plot of land for an orphanage for Pastor Anthony, which Newport Scouts are funding. 


As is often the case in India, progress has been slow.  Anthony has now found another plot of land on the edge of his village, which is a lot cheaper than the plot that he identified originally, and the purchase of this plot is going through as I type this.  As a result, there will be more money to spend on the house, which will be a great improvement.

Since we came back from India, we have been busy.  Often Tom or Matthew email us with details of some need or other, and one of the joys of my role is when we can respond by sending out some of the money that you give us to meet these needs.
These have included many medical cases where major operations have been needed – Sheeja who was vomiting blood, and needed a major operation to seal the blood vessels in her lungs (£250); or a heart operation for Vijeesh, a 3-year-old boy (£400).  Others are smaller: a wheelchair (£50) and a pair of crutches (£10); or a cow for an invalid, Krishnankutti, so that he can support his family (£120).
We were able to meet all these requests from the alternative catalogue or from general funds, although sometimes we have to say “no” if we don’t have enough money.

Another request arose out of an  Indian government initiative to help reduce debt.  Debt is a major problem in India, where people will often take out a loan to pay for medical treatment, or to buy food.  This then increases at 12% a year or more due to the interest charges, and, if it is secured against the person’s home, will soon increase to a level that the bank is able to take the home in payment.
The government initiative is that the government will pay half the accrued interest if the debtor can pay off the rest of the debt.  We are sending out about £500 for this, which will prevent four families being evicted from their homes.
We also send out a regular amount - £200 a month to each of Matthew and Tom – for small-scale medical bills.
A recent report from Matthew shows how one £200 was spent: treatment for Mohan, a blind and diabetic person; treatment for Murali, who fell and was paralysed, but against all the odds is improving and is now 80% recovered; a hysterectomy for Mrs Ramla; medication for two accident victims; and medication for Akhil, a seven-year-old boy suffering from pneumonia.
A little goes a long way in India – which is just as well, as the needs are so vast.
As a result of your generosity, many people are being empowered to live a better and healthier life than they could possibly do without your help.

Thank you!