August 23, 2008

Vicky is Salt of the Earth

By Barbara Goulden

RETIRED teacher Vicky Halliday is hoping more people in Coventry will support a little-known organisation which has already had a dramatic affect on climate change in southern India.

For the past ten years Vicky, aged 63, has been a major fundraiser for Salt of the Earth, the UK charity which works with people living in 450 villages in Tamil Nadu, an arid region south of the Bay of Bengal.

She says: "After 15 years of promoting the planting of trees, there is now significantly more rainfall in the region and the temperature has been reduced by five to six celsius.

"It seems little short of a miracle what has happened in this desperately poor area of India where traditionally children were sent out to work on the salt pans."

The only other source of income came from small farming communities where the monsoon rains often failed leaving families in abject poverty.

Ms Halliday first joined the Salt charity after visiting the region and being so impressed by the pioneering work done by an Indian group called SCAD.

She said: "The founder of the organisation, Cletus Babu, came up a range of organic and environmental practices aimed at promoting social change and development.

"But in recent years the growing and planting of trees has become a key factor in trying to improve the prospects of some 300,000 people.

"It started when local farmers were offered a well and perhaps a cow or a goat if they set aside two acres of their land for tree planting. After that they began giving college students packed lunches to go out into the hills and plant trees and shrubs.

"These are such simple ideas but the affect on the climate has been dramatic. More children now go to school and SCAD have even been able to help villagers in a leprosy settlement to win back some selfesteem by helping with the growing."

Ms Halliday, who now does some work as a massage therapist, last visited Tamil Nadu in January but does not want to increase her own carbon footprint by flying out to India too often.

She said: "Instead I just want to tell all existing and potential future supporters in Coventry and Warwickshire about the amazing changes that have already come about thanks to local fundraising efforts."

ANYONE wanting to find out more about Salt of the Earth can log on to [email protected] or ring Vicky on 024 7667 5059.


THE simple act of planting trees offers a natural defence against drought and floods, enriching the soil, safeguarding natural habitats and providing a safer future.

Trees provide the greatest air filter on the planet, purifying the air we breathe through replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen.

In the UK we each produce around 9.5 tonnes of the harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. In India the average is 1 tonne per person per year.

The sustainable level for the earth is estimated to be around three tonnes per person per year.

The Salt of the Earth charity says their Social Change and Development (SCAD) partners in India can plant one new sapling for every 50p donation.

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