John and Marie Almeida Educational Trust (JMA TRUST)
John and Marie Almeida Educational Trust, was founded in the year 1992 to work with the downtrodden and marginalized communities in rural parts of Tamil Nadu state. Its main focus was on livelihood development through skill building and educational assistance programs for youth and children in rural areas. It specialized in vocational skill development training programs and became a resource agency for developing model vocational training centres across India. In the years 1992-97, the Trust received support from USAID, to strengthen vocational and technical education in India.
Education to poor children in rural areas
Besides livelihood development through providing Vocational skills and Entrepreneurial development programmes, JMA Trust, in the year 2004, built John Marie Memorial Matriculation School in Shoolagiri village, Krishnagiri district, Tamil Nadu. The School, approved by Government of Tamil Nadu, has a elementary, junior and middle block with a strength of over 800 students. The main purpose of the school was to give free and quality education to poor children in rural areas. Presently, the school has around 500 students, who are mostly from poor background and their parents are landless labourers and daily wage earners. As envisaged, JMA Trust is able to provide education to these poor children entirely free of cost. There are also several scholarship programmes initiated to deserving children in various other schools in Tamil Nadu.
Sustainable livelihood programmes
The Trust works closely with the small and marginal farmers in the villages in Krishnagiri district, Tamil Nadu, mainly to educate them on the sustainable farming techniques and crops. For this purpose, the Trust has developed organic model farm in 5 acres of land in Schoolagiri village, where sustainable farming techniques are being tested and demonstrated for purpose of educating farmers in Tamil Nadu.