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Salt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth is a British registered charity founded in 1988 to raise money to help the rural poor in India through its partner organisation Social Change and Development (SCAD). A wide range of activities are funded including education, health care, community projects, water and income generation schemes. The aim is to increase the quality of life of families whose income can be as low as £250 per year.

SCAD works with the poorest of the poor amongst the low caste Harijans, snake catchers, gypsies and salt pan workers. It is from this last group that the charity gets its name and it is these people that get the benefit of most of the money the charity raises. The saltpan workers suffer enormously from the saline environment in which they live and work in on the coastal strip around the port of Tuticorin on the south east coast of Tamil Nadu. Many of the villages have no fresh water due to salt contamination of the local water table. They get occupational illnesses and disabilities such as sight impairment and blindness caused by the reflected glare of the sun off the salt crystals. They develop skin ulcers which are very painful and do not heal up and they also suffer stomach problems. Their wages are low and the saltpans are only open for eight months of the year so to make ends meet they fall into the hands of the local money lenders who charge 10% interest per month. Their life expectancy is low and infant mortality is high.

It is the policy of the charity that every penny received goes direct to SCAD without any deductions. All of the expenses of the charity are met from the proceeds of stalls which sell goods made at SCAD and elsewhere in India. Murray Frankland, the Honorary Secretary and Janet Elisita, Managing Trustee, visit SCAD once a year to see how the money is spent.

Through its team of over 350 full and part time staff SCAD works to help and empower the poor in 300 villages with a total population in excess of 200,000 people. A local person in each village is recruited and trained to work part time for SCAD and these representatives are supported by full time professional field and administration staff.

The administrative centre of SCAD is in the town of Tirunelvelli while the main centre of activity is based just outside the nearby village of Cheranmahdevi which is only 40 miles (65 kms) from the southernmost tip of India. This 75 acre (30 ha) campus has been developed with the help of Salt of the Earth. There is an irrigated model farm, fruit orchards, a training and accommodation centre and an establishment for training and educating 30 young polio affected children. A small manufacturing unit has been established for job and income generation purposes which is currently making hand made cards, silk and cotton tassels and jute soft furnishings.


Contact Information

Salt of the Earth, 101 Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 2FE, England

Web Site: http://www.salt-of-the-earth.org.uk/

Charity Commission Number: 328328. GAYE: 000183012

SCAD Gramodhaya Institute, 2 Salai Street, Vannarpettai, Tirunelvelli 620 003, Tamil Nadu, India

Web Site: http://www.scad.org.in/

Also see:
Article for Salt of the Earth's Saltseller newsletter
3rd World Development/Appropriate Technology Projects Index
AidCamps International  (India pages)


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