Trustee Marion’s Chennai visit

This January trustee Marion Mills made her first visit to Satkaarya.

I was very reassured by the atmosphere in the hostel, the duty of care of the girls and their general demeanour and attitude towards each other. The girls were very well aware of their responsibilities, both towards the running of the hostel and their self-organisation.

 “They (the girls) were smart and had a range of clothes to wear as well as their school uniforms. The oldest girls seemed to play quite a responsible role in the helping of preparation of the evening meal but also were responsible about homework and revision for exams. 

“Raghland, Michael, Monica, Deepika, Nagomi and myself visited the site of the school we are planning to build at Sendrambakham. It’s a quiet, peaceful plot. The shelter feels a bit remote but there was evidence that developments were happening nearby.

“We also looked at the adjacent land and then toured around the village. Michael (Satkaarya’s driver) was able to call out names as we passed houses and engage in conversation, which shows how our team is building good relationships. The potential is great; the local people are keen for the school to be built as soon as possible.”

Some excellent news from Chennai is that our outreach programme is back underway after a change of staff.

Batemans’ founding trustee Alex Jacob and architect and trustee Paul Crosby are visiting Chennai this spring to push forward as far as possible on the planning applications and the actual building work planning.

Financially, Batemans-Satkaarya are ready to start on phase one of the building project, but clearing the red tape minefield is taking far longer and proving even more challenging than anticipated, despite our trustees’ long experience and knowledge of working in India.

To the mountains and valleys

Trustee Paul Crosby hosted a talk and slide show by his friend Paul Gallagher (pictured above) and fellow cyclist Dave, about their month-long unsupported cycling trip from Leh to Shimla through the amazing scenery of the Himalayas.

Paul Gallagher, a former volunteer for Batemans, was keen to support us and the talk, held in Paul Crosby’s offices in Kendal, Cumbria, attracted a full house. As well as a fascinating show, guests were also treated to nibbles of poppadoms and chutney plus the classic Indian drink, sweet chai. It proved a very successful evening – raising more than £630.

More books please!

Books, for learning and pleasure, have always gone hand in hand for Batemans-Satkaarya. So it was no surprise to receive a request for more group books for the hostel.

However, it was  a complete surprise to learn that one of the young women we support, Jestina, has been awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Shri Krishnaswamy College for Women for her role in a workshop called ‘Read, Learn and Thrive’. It was a delight, too, to learn that fellow alumnus Yuvasree is about to complete her BA in English Literature.

Jestina also uses her skills to help junior girls in the hostel and has always emphasised that all the years of learning at Batemans‑Satkaarya and the wonderful reading experiences from the collection of books that she had over the years has helped her to become what she is today.

Meanwhile, Yuvasree has also motivated and encouraged many of her peers at her College to read books. She has always considered herself very privileged to have had access to a variety of books in the hostel library which helped widen her horizons and enhance her creative abilities.

Watch Yuvasree talking about her experiences here.

High tea is latest fundraising success

Fundraising can be fun and we welcome new or tried-and-tested ideas to share.

The Batemans support team in Essex stepped in to entertain local residents on what proved to be yet another grey and rainy February Sunday afternoon. A high-tea of donated home-made sandwiches, scones, cakes and plenty of cups of tea, plus table top quizzes, cheered everyone up. It also proved an absolute winner, raising more than £700.

It was so well received that another one will be held on Sunday 6 October.

Sponsored runs and walks are classic fundraisers. One simple option is to offer to lead a local walk or cycle ride for a small charge. Simply reconnoitre it first and ask a friend to be a back-marker to make sure all come home!

If you can, liaise with a local pub or café to book space for after-walk refreshments and perhaps finish off with a mini-raffle. Aim for fun and the donations will follow. Or provide self-guided route maps in return for a donation.

Want to hold a fundraising quiz night for friends? We can provide the questions and answers. Simply email

Read our 2023 newsletter

Reflections from our chair, perspectives from a trustee’s visit to Chennai, children’s excitement at space exploration and latest fundraising news. Read all this in our latest newsletter.

Win one of these beautiful prizes!

Buy tickets now for the Batemans Raffle – and give yourself the chance to win one of these three beautiful prizes.  

All prizes come from Kalpa Druma, the renowned heritage arts, crafts and fabric store in Chennai, and will look wonderful in any home.

Prize 1: A beautiful cotton double-sided double bedspread known as a dohar.
The origins of these incredibly comfortable bed covers are rooted in the thought of a warm hug; one that makes you feel grounded and at peace.

Prize 2: A traditional peacock print in rich gold and turquoise.
The national bird of India, the peacock is a symbol of strength, power and prosperity.

Prize 3: A limited edition print of Ganesh.
This print is a modern interpretation of the much-loved Hindu god, Ganesh.


Raffle tickets cost £5 each, or you can increase your chances of winning by taking advantage of our five tickets for £20 offer. Click here to buy tickets.

Entries close on 30 June 2023.

Fundraising update

It was off to the races for supporters in Steventon, Oxfordshire, in April.

Trustees Alex and Marion organised a fun Race Night with betting on the horses raising a fantastic £1,300 for Batemans/Satkaarya.

A night at the races is a great fundraising idea and involves using films from past horse races. Attendees place their bets after picking a horse from the list of runners in the programme, whether it’s a particular horse’s name they like or just their favourite number. It’s all good fun and there’s normally one lucky winner from each race during the evening!

Meanwhile, there was another successful morning in Essex when the fourth charity plant and cake sale since Covid lockdown ended was held in the foregrounds of St John’s Church, Chelmsford. The sun shone, the cakes were rapidly snapped up, as were nearly 90 per cent of the plants, and donations to Batemans/Satkaarya raised a total of £675.

More plants and seedlings are coming along well and it is hoped to hold another sale in late August/early September.

Warmth, dedication and generosity of staff “outstanding”

Trustees Amanda Morris-Drake and Becky Sewell have just returned from a very successful visit to Chennai, the first by trustees from the UK since Covid-19.

Amanda, pictured above, reports: “I was very impressed by the care and support provided at both the girls and boys hostels. The warmth, dedication and generosity of the staff is outstanding. They are a wonderful team and it is clear to see that vulnerable children thrive under their care.

“I was impressed by the self esteem the girls had and their wish to do well and lead independent lives. It was clear that ‘Girl Power’ is promoted and very well received. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet everyone who works for the Satkaarya Trust (our sister charity in Chennai) and  the happy smiling faces of the children are a testament to the wonderful work done.”


Outreach going from strength to strength

Trustees Amanda and Becky visited the Outreach Programme (based on the land awaiting the construction of our new school). Our new social worker, Logesh, has settled into his job well and has made good contacts with local families who now send their children to the Outreach Programme.

The programme, which initially started with five children, now has up to 25 attending on a regular basis. The children obviously loved the rhymes and craft activities delivered by the staff and are being offered learning experiences which will be highly beneficial to their development.