Our "GK Tripura HoPE Town" in Manila, Philippines was completed in June 2010. We thank our partners Gawad Kalinga, a massive charity movement that has built 2000 holistic and integrated communities in the Philippines, for their dedicated work in building this community and guiding the people with love and care.
Our beneficiaries are enjoying the benefits of community organization, participation in "sweat equity" programs where they build homes for each other, and values formation classes to guide them to be more responsible, productive members of society.
"GK Tripura HoPE Town" is comprised of 30 homes and is located in the largest slum in Manila, Bagong Silang- offering HoPE to those living in the worst conditions.
HoPE on Wheels is our innovative response to the staggering need of destitute people living on the roadsides of India, as well as poor elderly people left alone in homes without food or care. The destitute on the streets could be mentally ill, could be migrants who left rural villages due to poor agricultural conditions, or could be abandoned elderly people left with no support. Some of the abandoned elderly are unseen in homes where family members were forced to travel away from home for daily work, with insufficient funds to care for their elders.
The living conditions of the roadside destitute are unimaginable. They exist usually with minimal clothes in ragged conditions, never knowing where the next meal will come from, sleeping on pieces of scrap cardboard, outside unprotected from the elements, no opportunity to bathe, truly rest or feel satiated from hunger. Without money for simple medicines, illness and disease are realities from which there is no relief.
HoPE on Wheels is our latest initiative to bring HoPE to those who suffer the most with the simple and profound comfort of a hot meal, new change of clothes, a mat for a better night's sleep, blankets for the chilly nights, and medicines that can give relief from the common sicknesses that especially plague the destitute.
HoPE on Wheels was launched in Goa, India in February, 2011. Our van and caring workers covering daily routes to provide for the food needs of 100 destitute and abandoned elderly everyday. Along the way, we will soon be distributing clothes, mats, blankets and medicines to those in need.
We launched HoPE on Wheels in Chennai, India in April of 2011. Our kitchen prepares the meals that are then distributed by our volunteer support staff to 85 people on a weekly basis. We HoPE to increase that to 100 meals twice per week and eventually daily.
Dr Pillai, the founder of Tripura Foundation, has always emphasized the need to feed the poor as a basic step in the alleviation of poverty.
When He was in Goa, India, recently, Dr Pillai started a revolutionary "Briyani for the Hungry" Food Project to feed the poorest families of Goa. Briyani is regarded as a rich-man's food – it is a rice dish that has been marinated for long hours with spices and nutrient-rich protein supplements then served with a variety of tasty accompaniments such curries and chutneys.
The initial "Briyani for the Hungry" Project started in January 2011 and will serve 100 poor families with food packets of fresh Protein Rich Briyani.
Dr Pillai's project is revolutionary because He wants to give the very best for the very least. These poor families have never experienced such good food. On a daily basis, their diet usually consists of watery rice and a few vegetables. Giving the poor families Briyani will give them an opportunity to eat food that they would never imagine being able to afford.
Tripura Foundation focuses on children from broken homes living at or below the extreme poverty level. For many, the cycle of poverty begins at birth with daunting social and psychological barriers that give little chance for a child to mature into a productive adult. Uneducated and often malnourished, families put their children into the labor force to ensure a subsistence living. As the children grow older, opportunities to go beyond their social and environmental limitations become slim, leaving them destitute and destined to repeat the cycle with children of their own. It is critical that children be removed from these social and environmental restrictions if they are to begin to take the physical and mental journey out of their current conditioning.
This is where Tripura Foundation comes in. By elevating the child out of the environment and social structure that entraps them, we allow them to focus exclusively on school and personal growth. We invite these children to join residential facilities called "Boystown" and "Girlstown" where we send them to school and provide supplementary educational programs during the evenings and weekends.
Built on land donated by the government of Tamil Nadu, and funded by a grant from "Save the Children", Boystown at Chennai was constructed by the Rotary Club of Madras. 60 boys, jointly sponsored by Tripura Foundation and Rotary Club of Madras, joined the facility in the school year 2000-2001. Tripura Foundation sponsored an additional 20 boys from Tsunami-affected families in the school year 2005-2006.
We selected boys who were truly needy with little means to come up in life. Most came from small villages surrounding Chennai, living in poverty-ridden conditions with average family income of Rs.1500 ($30 USD) per month to support 5-8 family members. Most of the boys were malnourished, and dealing with extreme family conditions such as alcoholism and violence.
Boystown provides the children with healthy food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care, as well as a loving and supportive environment for the kids to flourish in school and create a new destiny full of opportunity.
The parents of the children, their school teachers and headmaster, and members of Rotary have highly praised our boys on their all-around development, their leadership abilities, their academic success and eagerness to develop and demonstrate their talents. Most importantly, the boys are happy and healthy, and are developing ideas for a brighter future.
The objective of the Girlstown project was to further develop and explore the most important variables in creating a new destiny for a child from the poorest and most chaotic circumstances. Girls in India face a staggering array of cultural and socio-economic obstacles to their development and opportunities in life.
In 2005, Tripura Foundation selected 50 girls from broken families who were truly in need. The girls came from fishing villages along the coast, such as Nagapattinum, and were living in poverty-ridden conditions even before the tragic destruction of the Tsunami. Upon arriving at Girlstown, most girls were underweight from poor nutrition and looked years younger than their actual age. They also had emotional trauma as a result of living with abusive and/or alcohol/drug addicted adults.
We moved the girls to an attractive house in Selaiyur, Chennai where Tripura Foundation provides their food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care, as well as a loving and supportive environment for the kids to flourish in school and create a new destiny full of opportunity. With regular, consistent care the girls have flourished. They have hope, higher self esteem and ideas to achieve higher future goals that never would have occurred to them before.
Over the years, Tripura has conceived and delivered innumerable feeding programs throughout the state of Tamil Nadu, India. From feeding programs serving polio-disabled children, to programs targeting destitute slum neighborhoods in Chennai, to feeding thousands of pilgrims in Thiruvanamalai during full moon festivals, Tripura Foundation is committed to eradicating hunger in any way possible. According to our founder Dr. Baskaran Pillai, "The easiest way to access God's grace is to feed a famished human being starving for food."
In 2005, Tripura Foundation focused on offering relief to those affected by the Tsunami. Our primary goals were to:
With the help of The Sevabharathi Organization, 75-year-old volunteer organization in India, we found answers regarding the worst-affected area in Tamil Nadu - the district of Nagapattinam. This area experienced the greatest death toll and destruction, with at least a 1,000 houses destroyed and countless fishing boats damaged or completely ruined. The devastation to this fishermen community was dramatic, especially for people who were already living below the poverty level before the Tsunami.
Along with Sevabharathi, we carried out the first phase of a Tsunami Rehabilitation Plan. Candidates for aid (food, clothing, shelter) were individually selected through an extensive selection process involving multiple home visits by our staff. In this way, we were able to assist those with the highest need who were not receiving government aid in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Launched in 2000 and concluded in 2006, Tripura's after-school feeding program was targeted at alleviating hunger and enhancing the daily nutritional intake of poor school children. In developing this project, we focused on boosting the academic success of poor children who were already attending school but, due to lack of food and poor nutrition, were still in a disadvantaged learning situation. By providing nourishment, Tripura Foundation helped kids develop strong bodies and minds to support their ability to learn.