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Welcome to Karunai Illam

The Karunai Illam Trust is a New Zealand incorporated charitable trust. It was set up to support the work of Jean Watson, a Wellington writer, who in 1987  established a children’s home in Nilakottai, Tamil Nadu, south India.

2012 Greetings! Karunai-DHAN school expansion news.

2012 Greetings! Karunai-DHAN school expansion news.

Happy New Year! Our nursery and primary school started in 2008 has grown over six-fold in enrolment numbers since then. The success of the school has generated a strong demand from the Nilakottai community for quality affordable education for more students and to include higher classes. To meet this need, we along with DHAN are seeking to build additional classrooms and amenities in the existing school site. This could be the first phase of the school's future expansion.

Danny Pemberton a young New Zealander was recently at the Illam and has created this incredible video to help raise funds for the school expansion project. It would be fantastic if all of our supporters could circulate this as widely as possible among friends and family to help make this dream school come true!



Wellington Diwali festival

Diwali - also known as the 'Festival of Lights' - is Wellington's local Indian and South East Asian communities' most vibrant cultural celebration. The lighting of lamps at Diwali expresses happiness and welcomes light and prosperity. This will be celebrated on Sunday 16 October at the TSB arena - 1:30 to 10:00 p.m. 

Karunai Illam Trust will be there in the midst of this celebration once again this year holding an information stall for visitors. 

Jean's recent trip to Nilakottai

Jean's recent trip to Nilakottai

“I have just returned from an interesting, lively 3 month’s stay at the Illam. I found the children happy, healthy and motivated in their studies.

A volunteer from Australia was there helping at the school. A few days later nine young Indian students from the DHAN Academy came to stay, then two Englishmen, (also students) arrived. They enjoyed interacting with the Indian students and the children.

It was good to have Angela over for a fortnight. She taught the girls embroidery; they were eager learners and little purses were embroidered by them and sewn up in the Community Center.

Five days before my departure, a modest but joyous celebration for the Illam’s 24th birthday was held. We started with prayers, followed by lunch and then free time for the children to enjoy themselves."

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Our children's home is called DHAN Karunai Illam. The DHAN Foundation is our Partner organisation and the word DHAN stands for Development for Humane Action. Karunai means Grace, and Illam is Home.

Tamil Nadu, India

Nilakottai, Tamil Nadu

(Click to view maps)