A week ago, I was able to get in contact with Vellore CMC to arrange a visit to Oikocredit’s first partner, Vellore Christian Medical College. It was around 7 am when I left for an almost 3 hour drive to connect with our partners at Vellore.
The story goes like this: In 1978, Oikocredit gave the Vellore Christian Medical College (CMC) Board Inc. a long term loan of US$ 200,000 to enable it to provide housing loans to the hospital’s lowest earning employees in Tamil Nadu. With these funds, 311 houses were completed.
I can’t believe my eyes
The Vellore colony is not far away from the hospital. It is warm and we are surrounded by traffic, so the trip seems endless to me. When we finally arrive, it is at a colourful street and I am greeted by some somewhat shy, but friendly people.
I heard that this is the street in an old Oikocredit picture, as I turned the corner I took it out to compare. They pointed out the two houses and the palm tree that still stands behind them, just as in the picture. They have built other houses, although they are not one-storied anymore, but two to three-storied houses to accommodate the children and grandchildren of the original owners and their families. I met Joseph, his sons Peter and Jacob, and Peter’s son Praveen. I showed them the photos and they started to recognize the people and children. Some of them have moved away from the colony, others are somewhere else at the moment. The sphere has transformed into a party with other neighbours asking to be photographed and invitations to visit the houses.