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January 2024

Christmas at Rangammal


A merry Christmas at Rangammal


Shopping at the Christmas fair.

Christmas was celebrated at Rangammal in traditional style.
The children performed a nativity play, enjoyed a celebration meal and exchanged gifts. There was a great deal of lively dancing too. Our children from day centre are pictured in full swing.

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DECEMBER 2023

Trustees Visit

Pupils from our school for hearing impaired children enjoyed a visit to a theme park. (In India it is often said that being cleansed by a waterfall brings many blessings.)

Trustees have just returned from a visit to the three projects to review progress and developments. Trust Chairman Tony Allinson was accompanied by Anthony and Joanna Gilpin.

All three were delighted to see that the school, the day centre and the college are all running very well and that the staff are stepping up, led very ably by CEO, John Rajkumar with considerable input from his wife Priya. Both clearly demonstrate the qualities of faith, determination and hard work which Sylvia showed for so many years.

Every department gave trustees impressive, clear presentations of their objectives, current activities and future prospects.

Numbers in the nursing college are increasing as planned and have now reached over 100 students. In fact, temporarily, numbers are 136, when the year group delayed by Covid (who will take their finals in March 2024) are included. We were privileged to attend the lamp lighting ceremony for the new intake, alongside their delighted parents. The college is very well run and is already self financing.

In the school, computer education is being refocused, very much with employment in mind: 12 smart boards have been installed.

In the day centre, the long-planned vocational workshop is underway. This will give training and gainful employment as the children get older. John Rajkumar and Priya have considerable experience in this field through their six centres in Chennai which produce a range of attractive, saleable products. It is remarkable and humbling to see what those with severe disabilities achieve with appropriate support, both in producing tangible goods and in their raised self-worth.

John has also been working on strengthening the board and three new members are in the pipeline. All three have been carefully chosen to add new skills and additional contacts outside the local area.

Here in the UK, the Trust is in good shape. We are blessed with some very hard working, unpaid volunteers dealing with finance, sponsorship, talks, publicity and selling Christmas cards, plus a number of others who step in as required.

Our aims, as ever, are to secure the projects for as long as they are required whilst working methodically towards Indian leadership and Indian fund raising.

With very best wishes to all our supporters for Christmas and New Year.

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November 2023

A Visit to The Projects


Pupils share their work with visitors Nigel and Catriona Christie

Over the years, many visitors have been welcomed to the Indian projects, including trustees, supporters, volunteers, gap year students and even government officials.
Nigel Christie and his wife Catriona are the latest such visitors. They were welcomed recently by the staff and students at the school and the centre for children with disabilities.
Nigel and Catriona have been long-standing, generous supporters of the projects. They first became aware of Sylvia’s work on meeting our former Chairman, Michael Lydon.


A warm welcome to Nigel and Catriona

Following the recent visit, Nigel wrote: "Catriona and I first got involved with SWT back in 1999. I was in India doing a charity bike ride when I me
 Michael Lydon and his wife. They had just been visiting Rangammal. I heard about SWT and thought it was, and still is, just the type of thing we like to support.

“Rangammal has developed enormously since our last visit in 2014. The centre for disabled children has come onto the main campus, with that wonderful swimming pool. The introduction of the smartboards in seven classrooms is really game-changing. All the children now have customised hearing aids which they didn't have back in 2014. The difference in their learning as a result is quite extraordinary and clearly visible.

“Initially, we simply wrote cheques with no direct connection to any child or children. After a few years, we were approached with the inspired suggestion that we, and others, might consider sponsoring a child.

“Many years later, we are sponsoring two children, Kilharasi and Madhesh.  It was wonderful to meet them again. How Kilharasi has grown and matured!  Madhesh is such an energetic and fun chap; in time, he will realise his dream and become an excellent policeman.  Both are absolutely charming, intelligent and joyful kids.

“Catriona and I both remain very committed to this very worthwhile cause."
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October 2023

Fire Safety Training

Fire safety is taken very seriously at our school, day centre and nursing college. Pupil, students and staff learn about the dangers of fires, how to prevent them and what to do in an emergency, including evacuation procedures.
Our photos show local fire safety officers leading a recent fire education session.

Group Photos

Just before her return to England, Sylvia joined this year’s group photos at the nursing college, day centre and school.
She is pictured with the students and staff of the nursing college, the pupils and staff of the day centre for children with disabilities and the pupils and staff of the residential school for children who have hearing impairments.

All three projects are thriving under the leadership of new CEO John Rajkumar. John is seated on Sylvia’s right in the school photo.

Pupils, nursing students and staff thanked Sylvia for her inspirational work in setting up the projects. She came home to England and began retirement with their best wishes ringing in her ears.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- August 2023

Retirement

After more than 40 years service to the people of Tiruvannamalai, Sylvia Wright retired in July 2023 at the age of 85 and has returned to Leeds.

Ministers of the Tamil Nadu government and many local dignitaries visited the projects to mark this auspicious occasion. Our photo shows Minister. E V Velu presenting Sylvia with an honorary shawl.

Minister presents a shawl to mark Sylvia s retirement

Many other farewell events were arranged in the weeks leading up to Sylvia s departure, with huge numbers of staff and students, past and present, gathering to say thank you and to wish her well. Sylvia’s many achievements are recognised and admired in India, the UK and elsewhere.

The governors presented Sylvia with a beautiful painting titled Tribute to a Legend .

Tribute to a Legend

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July 2023

Reunion


Our photo shoes Sonia and Karpagan, first and second on the left, then Sonia’s two daughters, with Karpagan’s two daughters to the right of Sylvia.

A happy reunion took place at Rangammal in June. Many years ago, Sylvia Wright adopted three abandoned children, two girls and a boy, and brought them up. All have thrived and are now married with their own children.

Improving Learning

Smart boards have been installed in classrooms at Rangammal School to enrich our children’s learning experience.

The new boards give access to a wide range of learning resources including websites, diagrams, charts and videos.
Students may use their fingers to write directly on the boards. This interactivity provides students the ability to write, draw, or take notes via a tablet as well.


Blessing the new Smart Boards

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June 2023

Return to School

New School Year Begins

The pupils of Rangammal School for the Hearing Impaired are returning to school after the long summer holiday, during which the temperature was consistently over 40 degrees celsius. Humidity too was very high.

Daily temperatures are high all the year round in Tiruvannamalai and especially in April and June during the long Indian school vacation.

The children were brought by their parents from as far as 50 miles away.

Pupils’ enthusiasm is impressive as they look forward eagerly to starting their new school year.

May 2023

New Arrangements for Sponsorship and Presents


Improving children’s lives

The children and the staff of Rangammal School are very grateful for the standing orders received regularly from supporters.

It has been suggested that sponsors might prefer to support a general fund instead, to ensure that all children, sponsored or not, receive a birthday present and a Christmas gift.

Local well wishers in India already support this fund. 

Currently some 160 children are individually sponsored from the UK. The cost of feeding, housing, clothing and educating a child is around £50 a month. Sponsors donate as much as they can towards this by a one-off payment or standing order, gift aided where possible.


An easy way of helping
Sponsoring is an easy, direct way of helping to improve children’s lives.
If you would like to be involved, please contact Mrs Bernadette Barnes on 01765 601785     bernadettebarnes@yahoo.co.uk

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MARCH 2023

Tony Hartigan


Tony Hartigan

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Anthony John Hartigan, a former Trustee and Communications Officer of the Sylvia Wright Trust. Tony was a very active and enthusiastic supporter of Sylvia and the Indian projects. He edited the SWT website and newsletter for many years, produced an excellent fundraising DVD and promoted our work to local schools, parishes and community groups with great success. Following his retirement as a Leeds Headteacher he visited the projects in India. He was a powerful voice for our work. We are deeply indebted to him. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Fundraising in India

Rocking at Rangammal

A fundraising day at Rangammal organised by John Rajkumar, the CEO of our three projects, has been a resounding success. The event received support from many representatives of Indian businesses, commerce, industry and government. More than 5,000 people attended.

Professional musicians, performers and dancers generously gave their time for free. They were joined on stage enthusiastically by pupils at Rangammal School.

Loud Music and Lively Dancing

Proceeds from the event are still coming in. These funds will be spent in support of the nursing college, school for young people with hearing loss and the day centre for children with special needs and disabilities.

Staff at the three projects and Rangammal board members worked with enthusiasm and zeal to deliver this event.

The Sylvia Wright Trust here in England has sent a message of congratulations to John Rajkumar and his colleagues. The success of this impressive inaugural event bodes well for future fundraising in India.

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February 2023

Sylvia Celebrates 85th Birthday

It’s time for cake!

The birthdays of Sylvia Wright and staff member Mr Vijayan
were marked at Rangammal with a special Mass and cultural celebrations. Sylvia is now 85 years old. RMRS Board Members presented garlands and gifts. Many former students of the school and nursing college returned for the occasion.

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January 2023

Award for Sylvia Wright

Another award for Sylvia

As part of the celebrations for World Disabled Day 2022, Sylvia Wright received an award in recognition of her decades of service to children with special needs. The shield, pictured, was presented by Mr. K. Pichandi, Deputy Speaker of the local Legislative Assembly, and other officials.
World Disabled Day was instigated by the United Nations to promote inclusion in life and the workplace. The initiative encourages government and business leaders across the globe to value the unique contributions of disabled people.
Congratulations to Sylvia on this richly deserved recognition.

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December 2022.

Christmas 2022

Placing Baby Jesus in the crib

The dancing Santas of Rangammal School

The end of term at Rangammal School was marked with a Christmas celebration. Children placed the baby Jesus in the crib as part of a religious service.  Musical entertainments followed, including much lively dancing.

The Sylvia Wright Trust wishes all supporters and friends a joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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November 2022.

The festival of Krishna Jayanthi

Children at Rangammal School celebrate the festival of Krishna Jayanthi with drama and dance

We have just received this beautiful photograph of children at Rangammal School taking part in the festival of Krishna Jayanthi. This important Hindu festival is marked widely in Tamil Nadu. The birth of Krishna is celebrated in drama and dance. The picture was taken in August 2022.

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