India Project students made their first visit to the tribal village of Thamaraikulam in 2002 and it was the beginning of a new chapter for both communities. At that time, the village was so isolated that there was not even a road to it. The first team made the long walk through the forest, carrying fruit trees to plant for the exceptionally poor village families. Fruit trees have been planted there by Ecolint students every year since and today they produce fruit for the 47 families in the village.
Every year, the India Project team raises funds to support a pre-school, run by a local, non-profit charitable organisation, HELPS (Health Environment, Education and Legal Protection Society). Annual project work in the village has included the maintenance of the school building, construction of a toilet and kitchen, school activities, digging of the village well, and community health visits by Ecolint’s school nurse. Each family receives rice and new mothers accept donations of clothes for their babies. In 2018, students planted the latest batch of butter fruit, or avocado, saplings. A smokeless stove, the first in the village, was installed in the school kitchen by the students with Ann Peck and the Kids Health India team.
Education has been essential in improving health, hygiene and literacy over the past 16 years.