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Victoria Armstrong Memorial School (VAMS), Nilgris, India


Although the government of India does provide some schools for tribal children in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, they are mostly of poor quality, the education they give is insufficient to enable the children to proceed to the mainstream schools in the area. As a result very few tribal move on to secondary schools or beyond.

Victoria Armstrong Memorial School (VAMS) project established in 2003 by Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association in Nilgiris, India, in order to provide a good educational background for the tribal children of Nilgiris Hill in Tamil Nadu, South India.

In recent years the children have become more confident, communicative and began to evolve creatively. As non tribal children have also been accepted the effort to integrate tribal and non tribal children has worked well and serve as a preparation for tribal children to enter into the mainstream of education when they leave the VAMS.

The school started with standard I, Lower and Upper Kindergartens. A new standard was added every year in order to provide continuing education for the children already in the school. The running cost is covered by charging modest fees. Most tribal children seem able to meet these, but if they cannot NAWA gives them a bursary. There were 62 tribal and 53 non tribal children. The standard I-IV were housed in VAMS and Kindergartens were in rooms in the NAWA administrative building. Accommodation was extremely tight and in some cases there were two classes in one room. To improve the situation, and accommodate children up to standard VII, 9 additional classrooms and a staff room required.

ASHRAM international agreed to support this new school on the basis that it would take both tribal and non-tribal children to provide an integrated education to give them an equal opportunity for the future. We participated in the construction of a new two storey eight classroom building providing a school environment for the children superior to state schools in the area. The school has now almost over two hundred pupils in five grades and this year will see the very first literate tribal children go on to secondary school

Construction work of the school

the school completed building

Children in their class room excited to learn about computer.


Self-help housing programme for economically week slum families usig low cost technological alternatives in Chennai, India


This project began in 1999, where we partnered with Murugappa Shelter Trust (MST). We sponsored a low cost housing project using various alternative construction techniques. We built 15 houses for 15 families, who originally lived in leaky mud thatched houses, without toilets.

They are now housed in build-up two rooms houses with toilets and running water.

The houses consist of one living hall 120 sq ft, kitchen 80 sq ft and bath/toilet of 20 sq ft. Each plot has an 80 sq ft front garden space and a 60 sq ft rear garden space, and a septic tank of 3' diameter.

Completion of the first houses

After five years , the revolving fund scheme has enabled an additional 10 families to build their houses.

This encouraged us to continue partnering MST, and we built another 14 houses which have now been completed, and named them, the "George Joseph Housing Colony", after ASHRAM's founder. The beneficiaries are proud for the first time to live in their own newly built concrete houses.

The second batch of houses

ASHRAM visited the housing project in Chennia


Women's empowerment by employment generation in Chennai, India

Women Cottage Unit production of eco-friendly paper cups

We established a Women’s Cottage Unit in partnership with MST in Thirumullaivoyal Village.
The aim of the project was to train and employ 25 women in bio-degradable eco-friendly disposable paper cups production. We supplied machineries for the production of eco-friendly paper cups. The women were able to produce about 10,000 cups every day
and have contruct to supply all that manufacture to Indian Railways


To learn about other ASHRAM's projects in India click here