Ponn is a Tamil word for gold while Vandu means something like bug or beetle. The words cover most beetles including the ladybirds, of which a yellow variety (‘golden’) can be seen here in India.
Ours is a small trust founded in 2003 in the town of Coimbatore in South India. There are presently two trustees. Our purpose for PonnVandu was to serve our society and world with our gifts and abilities.
We are very interested in helping children with learning and mental difficulties, so right in 2003 itself we started a very small therapy centre that can handle just a dozen kids, and staffed and equipped it. Beginning with just 3 children, today we have provided therapy for over 260 children many of whom have moved into regular educational streams or been otherwise measurably helped by our efforts.
We also have an evaluation programme for children to assess not just mental ability but physical development, personality, and areas of strengths and weaknesses.
Being nature lovers our second area of focus is preserving what’s left of India’s biodiversity. We train volunteers to assist the Forest department and we actively involve in taking censuses, rescuing wildlife (particularly snakes in the city) and in spreading information and enthusiasm for preserving our precious forests, oceans, both for biodiversity and habitat. To help fund our activities we organise very limited and exclusive ecotours of South India.
Our third area of concern is AIDS prevention and providing treatment, counseling and support for AIDS patients. Primarily we have focussed on helping married positive women as these are mainly silent sufferers often with positive children too.
Last but not least is our concern for providing micro financial assistance to needy entrepreneurs. Mostly we work with groups of housewives to provide additional/alternate sources of livelihood.
For details on what you can do and how you can help, navigate to the Participate page.
The serious planning for PonnVandu started in April of 2003 and the trust was officially registered as a Public Trust with the registrar in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in October 2003. Sam L. Carr is the current managing trustee (find out more about Sam at his personal blog CHALLENGE. or HERE for almost the same content but in wrordpress. Don’t be surprised to find a number of the PONNVANDU posts at Challenge too as Sam is the major contributor of articles to all three of these blogs and shamelessly plagiarises his own work in both directions!