The East Sheen Chengannur Trust

Registered Charity No 293567


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House Building Project


What has become one of the Trusts major activities started in a small way when in the early 1980's Geoff Thorsby on visiting Chengannur, Southern India, as a voluntary worker for the Trust, set about establishing a tile making facility. Many houses are just roofed with coconut leaves, are not watertight and literally get washed away during the Monsoons and have to be reconstructed when the rains cease Tiles were made locally to Geoff's specification out of sand, cement and coconut fibre and this also provided employment in the town.


House Number 9 is completed. Most of our houses are of similar simple yet sturdy construction.

It was found that before a house could be tiled, its walls of platted leaves, mud bricks or mats needed to be strengthened before tiling could take place In spite of this one house collapsed in the monsoons despite the stronger roof.

In early 1992 Sunil Kumar and his family were living in a single room with no furniture, water, electricity or sanitation. They already had sponsors through the charity , Martha and Michael Pearce from East Sheen, who were assisting with education funding, and who decided to try to alleviate the family's plight by building them a house through the Trust. The new single storey house built of brick and tile transformed the lives of the family and the immense benefits of this could be clearly seen.

In 1993 the Trust, in conjunction with our project manager in Chengannur, Jacob Punnen, decided to start the house building project to provide low cost homes for poor families. A separate fund was started for this purpose.

The houses are very basic by Western standards but are a significant improvement for the families themselves. They generally have two rooms including a cooking area and toilet facility .They are set on a concrete base and are constructed of brick with a tiled roof. Glass is not generally used in the windows because of the additional cost and the need for air circulation in such a humid climate.

A typical house in use by poor families, constructed of matting. This is the type of home that we are endeavouring to replace.

By mid 1995 seven houses had been completed and the aim of the Trust was to complete four per year.  On completion each house is officially handed over in a ceremony in the presence of a local dignatory, Jacob, and as often as possible, a sponsor or volunteer from the U.K. on behalf of the Trust.

A house under construction.

We are especially keen to continue with this work which provides a lasting benefit to families who cannot even imagine Western standards of living. To own such a house seems beyond their wildest dreams The cost of a house at present is £1,000.  Details of the recipient family are provided to donors if requested.

We have completed over 40 houses, some of which are named after the donor or In memory of a loved one.

If you would like to help with this project in any way or to know more about the Trust and its many other activities we would be delighted to hear from you - please contact us.

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Last modified: 29 November 2016