Today we had a very informative update from Tony Allinson, Chair of the Sylvia Wright Trust. This Trust supports the work of Sylvia Wright in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Sylvia, a nurse from Leeds in the UK, sold her home and possessions in 1982.
Sylvia moved to this largely agricultural area of India to set up a free hospital for the community. It’s a tough area, even now, but gradually more support is being given from the Government. She ran the hospital for 34 years and eventually handed it over in 2016 to the Indian authorities.
Alongside the hospital Sylvia set up a boarding school for deaf children and this is when Headingley Rotary became involved as they were needing hearing aids for deaf children. Headingley managed to secure a match funded International grant for £1000 to help this project.
The school cater for children up to the age of 18 and they are thrilled to say that all children learn English and IT skills and some even go on to University.
Sylvia’s efforts didn’t stop there. Next came a school for children with disabilities. Not only was health and hygiene on the menu but education. Again Rotary became involved in raising funds to build a therapy pool. This pool is used widely, not only for physiotherapy treatment but for fun as well!
Finally in 2009 Sylvia set up a Nursing College for 120 people.
The Trust are now dealing with succession (Sylvia is 85!) and were pleased to employ John Rajkumar as the new CEO in January 2022. John has great experience in this field and is working with the trustees to forward the governance, management and ability to locally fund raise these amazing projects.
The Trust see these changes to take 3-5 years to accomplish.