Dear Friends
We start this newsletter with some wonderful news. The Vine Charitable Trust and the People of the Way Church have both successfully gained government permission to continue to receive funds from abroad for another five years. We are thankful to God for this provision which will enable the work to carry on unabated. We hope you will enjoy reading about what your gifts and prayers have achieved in the last few months.

Education

Blossom florishes with AIC supporting her educationBlossom* is a happy, intelligent young woman who got a distinction for her 12th Standard (A Level equivalent) exams and is now doing a degree course funded by VCT. However this outcome was by no means a forgone conclusion. Blossom’s father, having struggled to put his two children through school, died just as his son, Calvin, was about to join an IT company. He was so proud of Calvin, who VCT supported through college, and believed that the family’s financial troubles would finally be over.

However with the death of their father, Calvin lost his job and the family fell apart. Calvin has now found a back room job at a bank and takes responsibility for his family. They live in a small one bedroom house and Blossom’s mother is taking a tailoring class, so that she can top up Calvin’s salary. In this way they hope to ensure that Blossom will continue to flourish. They are grateful for VCT’s support without which Blossom would not have been able to go to university.

Education too expensive for family

Colin Matthew John & JeanColin, John and Matthew are the grandchildren of Jean, one of the older women VCT has supported for many years. They live with their parents in a one room hut in which they cook live and sleep. They have a small shelter, they use as a bathroom and no toilet.
Both parents are illiterate and although their father earns money from odd jobs, he drinks most of it, leaving nothing for his family. He refuses to let his wife work leaving her totally reliant on outside help. The boys had already got places at a local boarding school when VCT first heard of them through their grandmother, so they had a good start to their studies.

When the boarding fees went up and the family could no longer cover the costs, Jean approached VCT and it was agreed that their school fees would be paid to keep the boys at school.

This year Colin, the eldest, has moved back full time to live with his parents in the hut, as he has now finished school. He is a district level football player and wants to become PE teacher. To this end, VCT is paying for him to study a BSc in Physical Education. This is a wonderful opportunity for him to progress and develop his skills.
This family is typical of many supported by VCT. For students who live in huts it is not always easy to study but VCT has policies in place to ensure that families they support do not become financially dependent in the long term and so they do not often pay for rent. However they are mindful of the need of stable weather proof accommodation and some privacy as an aid to study, and so they provide support to help caregivers find work and increase their income so that they will be able to afford a better place to live. Occasionally VCT will
also help with advance rent to enable a family to move.

Finances

The team at VCT are currently looking at ways in which they can increase local giving. They hope that more graduating students will commit to support the work which they have benefitted from. However as you can tell by the stories above, often the first salaries in the family are taken up with family responsibilities, so there is little income to spare for a number of years.
Donations to Anglo-Indian Concern have slightly decreased, and with the inflation of school fees in India and the fall in the exchange rate, we run at a deficit which has meant drawing on our investments. These were made possible by two generous legacies, for which we are very grateful. If any of you are considering writing or rewriting your will in the next year then please consider leaving a legacy to AIC, so that the work you have so faithfully supported in the past can continue into the future.

AIC Trustees

After many years Stuart Harwood–Clarke and Steve Baker have decided to stand down as trustees for AIC, although they both remain supporters of the work. We are sure you will join us in thanking them for their faithful service. Steve was our treasurer and his place will be taken by Roz Brench who is an accountant and so is well placed to guide us. We also welcome Kirsten Masson as a trustee; she has visited the work in Chennai in the past and has been a loyal supporter for many years as well as having experience in both the business and charity sector.

The People of the Way Church (PotW)

The building work in Erunkancherri is underway, the foundations have been laid and the pillars to hold up the first floor are built. They are now awaiting funds to continue building. Meanwhile church life at the rented site in Periyar Nagar continues and in addition to regular activities, the second year of the Bible School has begun.
Lettie Kearney will be visiting Chennai again in February for a month, if her health allows. Please uphold her in prayer as she struggles with her asthma. Rachel Thurley who continues to be the main contact person for VCT in the UK, is looking for a local volunteer who can support her with computer based work. If any of you know of someone who might be interested in doing this please contact her direct.
Yours with love
Rachel Thurley and Lettie Kearney

*Please note all names of beneficiaries have been changed