The Amala Trust incorporates the Children’ Home and St Agnes High School and our primary School. We also have some fields about five acres which we purchased before land became so expensive. Raja grows crops, such as groundnuts, which can be consumed in the home and some crops such as sugar cane, which are a cash crop that can we used to cover any expenses incurred farming the land, including paying labour after which there is a small profit.
St Agnes High School has an excellent educational record, most years achieving a hundred per cent exam pass rate which means that Amala Home children can go on to sixth form. Amala does not teach at sixth form level, which means our children must leave Amala to be taught, and also to board at sixth form colleges. Unless they choose to leave the Amala family, all our children go on to sixth form. Sending students away to sixth form often puts a strain on our finances as a entrance fee must be found and board and lodge is paid for monthly. This year (2011) twenty six pupils were ready to move on to sixth form. They would have come to Amala round about the same time and have lived at Amala as brother and sisters. Now like all siblings will disperse to further education, this a big step in their lives and they often find the change very difficult as to some extent led sheltered lives, eating well and have always had the support of an extended family around them.
Jesudass Raja leads Amala in India and Kim Pollit in the UK, it is their vision and hard work that has driven Amala forward from two small huts to the thriving home and educationally sound schools that we have today. Amala Trust also educates about three hundred and fifty local children, many of these children live in remote villages and the roads to these villages are dreadfully potholed and rutted, some are almost nonexistent. Amala has two small buses and hires a larger bus to bring children in to school. The appalling state of the roads takes a heavy toll on our buses and that means that they are always in need of repair. Next year at least one bus will have exceeded its shelf life as the government rules is that no bus can exceed eight years if it is to carry children.
AMALA'S LATEST PROJECT:
The Amala Trust’s latest project in India is Seri culture, which was originally set up with a government grant. Seri culture is production of silk from the silkworm to the spun raw silk. The mulberry bushes are grown on Amala land and the immature silk worms are bought in and are fed on the mulberry leaves until they mature. They are then taken to the spinning shed where the silk around the cocoon is spun and eventually sold in hanks of raw silk. The whole time scale for the production is about thirty-five days and at the moment we have only one shed for keeping the silkworms, which means the spinning shed remains idle for almost one whole cycle. Our aim is to build large shed so that we can raise silkworms on the opposite cycle so that the spinners always have work and the spinning shed is utilised to its full capacity. Capital is always hard to find but luckily we have one very generous supporter who has given Amala the money to build this shed. The Seri culture production is good in two ways, it gives much needed work to local people and a profit to be used for Amala’s children.