A new colony was born at Pudur Palapatti village near Salem in 2000 when Rotary built 32 houses under a low-cost housing project. This is a tribal hamlet and the people were engaged in gathering firewood and honey from the nearby hills.
The houses were sponsored by RC Attur, District 2982, in partnership with four clubs of Japan — RCs Sendaikamuri, D 2810, Sappora West Hokkaiko and Masao Marimoto, D 2510 and Naozo Matsuda, D 2690 — under a matching grant. Later, in 2009, another house was added to the colony when a four-member Australian team led by Jenney Horton visited the village for a Polio immunisation programme.
More recently, PDG P V Purushothaman visited the village, along with few Rotarians, and was happy to see that the houses were maintained well and “more importantly, the colony was clean. In these 17 years, their lives have changed for the better. The men now earn their livelihood through contract jobs and children are going to school regularly,” he said.
But the residents wanted a Ganesh temple for daily worship and the Rotarians obliged, and the temple was constructed at a cost of Rs 7 lakh. Contributions poured in from several past governors and Rotarians from across the country, including PRID Y P Das, DG Dharmesh Patel, DGE Nirmal Prakash and DGN A K Natesan. Each household and members of RC Attur also pitched in with funds. Over 500 people from in and around the village took part in a grand consecration of the temple in September.
A vocational centre is being set up at the colony to train women and youth in tailoring, computers, candle-
making, agriculture and other profitable activities. “We are also in touch with the Agriculture Department to orient villagers in modern farming techniques,” said Purushothaman.