2000 Wheel of Hope started as Millennium Star Cricket Club to encourage poor children to go to school. This evolved into a children’s Tuition Centre at Chowara near Kovalam and under the auspices of the Mahatma Gandhi Trust.
In order to maintain the Trust on a sound financial footing a cow project was started to provide a small income to the poor families who kept the cows and also the Trust which provided them. The Trust became a registered charity in India number … 31/04; created a Sewing Project to teach poor ladies sewing skills to enable them to earn a living and again provide an income for the Trust through the sale of articles they made.
Concurrent with the Tuition Centre, Cow and Sewing Projects was a programme of outreach through which the Trust helped needy families at a personal level by providing such things as medical care, contributions towards food, school uniform and equipment as well as repairs to homes. This became an ever increasingly important feature of the Trust as funds became more available.
2006 A second Tuition Centre at Chowara was created and initially over 60 children took advantage of this. However as funds became available a new building was constructed for the original tuition centre and the two were consolidated but sadly the numbers decreased and it was closed in 2007.
2007 Subsequently the decision was made to form independent Tuition Centre at the desperately poor fishing village of Vizhinjam where we now have 50 children. We acquired 4 adjacent lock up shop premises which we rented and these provided a Tuition Centre, Medical Help Centre community Centre with TV and DVD player and a Trust Office The Trust also made the decision to sponsor a children’s dance group that literally dances to provide an income for the families to enable them to go to school.
2008 In February we decided that we should rent a bungalow and transfer there from the lock up premises. This became Happy Home Tuition and Day Care Centre for 25 children which in 2009 increased to 50. It was opened by Fr. Dee Sircar of Doncaster Minster and we were then adopted as the official Charity of the Minster with the Bishop of Doncaster becoming our Patron and in June we became a registered Charity in the U.K. We continue with our outreach policy giving medical and social aid to the desperately poor details can be seen in our Archived News Letters.
Chairman and Founding Sponsor
David Calvert-Orange has been an educationalist all his working life, first as a House Tutor and House Master at a boarding School and then as Head of history and Religious Education at a boys’ Preparatory School. He ended his full time teaching career as Public Relations Officer at a special needs school before he semi-retired to pursue both his passion for Ancient Egypt and his desire to help the destitute in India through forming Wheel of Hope Charitable Trust.
The second of these two concerns has occupies virtually all his spare time in promoting and fundraising for Wheel of Hope in the UK and also he spends a large part of each year in India with Pamela where they supervise new developments and show foreign guests round Happy home.
He has overseen the founding and development of the projects which have brought the Trust to the state in which it is today and passionately believes that each child of whatever ability should be educated according to his or her full potential.
He has been greatly concerned with the plight of those in the fishing village of Vizhingham where many young boys have had to forsake their education in order to earn money to maintain the family.
To countermand this end he has developed a scheme whereby poor families can keep their children at school and bright children can participate in some form of vocational training that will end the continuous chain of fishermen breeding fishermen.
It is his ultimate aim to create a system of Tuition Homes through which the cost of maintaining and educating the child is taken from the family.
Treasurer/Secretary and Founding Sponsor
Pamela Nolan has worked in the field of commerce and travel and gained much practical experience in the way of running organizations as a P.A at the London Palladium for many years.
In her later life she has also had experience as a Tour Leader and was Co-Director of Sapphire Tours in Folkestone.
She became interested in Ancient Egypt after joining one of David Calvert-Orange’s tours of Egypt and after several years of helping him organise tours, they decided to sell their houses in the south and jointly open an Egyptology Centre in South Yorkshire. This in reality has become a means to fundraising for the charity.
They formed the Charity in the year 2000 which has evolved into Wheel of Hope and their trips to India for the charity give them the drive and determination to do whatever was necessary to improve the lot of the children.
Ancient Egypt has become a ‘side line’ to raise funds for the Trust and now Pamela presides over ‘cow evenings’ creating memorable meals for up to 15 guests for the same purpose. She is also responsible for the accounts which was an aspect of the Palladium life she fortunately greatly enjoyed
Millennium Star Cricket Club
We started back in 2000 as the Millennium Star Cricket Club which was formed to encourage children to attend school. In return for membership the children promised to go to school. Though education in India is free, children have to wear school uniform and provide their own books and writing equipment so for the poor it’s not possible. But we provided the school uniform and equipment.
Wheel of Hope is born
Within a year we had our first Tuition Centre at Krishnan’s house in Chowara. This was such a success and the inspiration for all our work and expansion programmes. It operated as a Tuition Centre, educating children for a few hours in the morning and then again in the early evening giving approximately 4 – 5 hours a day of schooling.
We catered for two types of pupil, the destitute who cannot afford proper schooling and those pupils whose parents are anxious for their children to advance who go to ordinary schools as well. They normally have topay for their child attending extra tuition and the poorer children have to work during normal school times. The majority of our pupils are from very poor homes where one parent is missing or very much incapacitated. Due to dwindling numbers we have now closed our Centre at Chowara and have concentrated all our efforts on the fishing village of Vishinjam.
The Cricket Club is very special to us because Wheel of Hope started through it and also the game itself is one that India loves so much.
With the incredible development of Wheel of Hope into the organisation that it is today we still maintain our club and hope cricketing organisations who might like to form links of friendship and not only learn about Wheel of Hope but possibly even visiting our projects and adding to their funding.
Many children cannot play organised cricket or football unless some organisation or other is able to fund them. Wheel of Hope does this, whatever their creed or background. These pictures show the terrible conditions under which the boys have to play. The boys cannot afford to join a local cricket club or even hire a ground for a morning.
Wheel of Hope wants to foster links with Cricket Clubs in order to provide funding so that the poor can enjoy the game under conditions that has made India the great cricketing nation that it is. However the tragedy of the situation is that there are countless numbers for whom the game is a dream. They can fantasise on a coconut grove but with help their incredible skills could achieve their full potential.
Wheel of Hope has provided cricket bats, stumps and balls but we hope to be able to do much more.
The Alex Cole Memorial Football Club
Is another aspect of Wheel of Hope’s outreach policy. It has been created in love and sympathy for Alex Cole a young boy in England who was killed in a tragic incident. This boy, who had just entered his first year of Secondary School, is remembered through the formation of a football club in England. He loved this game so much and Wheel of Hope wanted to forge links of sympathy and understanding with the family of Alex knowing that in his name so much good is being done in India through providing pleasure and sporting activity to those who would otherwise be unable to experience this.
Sure boys can kick something round and call it football, but it is not quite the same thing as being part of an organisation.
Today both the cricket and football matches are being played in the coconut grove where the original club was formed six years ago. This is not only to honour what is in reality a very special place but to show people the lack of facilities experienced by the vast majority of Indian children.
Again we appeal for help by any organisation who would like to sponsor.
Here is a photograph of the inaugural match of the Wheel of Hope Alex Cole Memorial Football Club played on 26th November 2006.
(Top-left) | Man of the match for tackling a much older boy proudly holds the cup.