Salt of the Earth was formed in 1988 and has since raised over £4 million for the rural poor of Tamil Nadu, India.

Salt of the Earth was founded after Murray Frankland visited India and witnessed the levels of poverty that rural communities endured. Since then, Salt of the Earth (SOTE) has helped to improve the lives of over a million disadvantaged people living in poverty in Tamil Nadu, regardless of their religious beliefs. Most of these people are low caste and many of them are Dalits (untouchables).

SOTE’s work is to improve the lives of those living in rural poverty by delivering a variety of projects including those focusing on women’s empowerment, health initiatives, education programmes, creating water access and environmental preservation. Community development underpins our work so that projects have a lasting impact. We believe that effective, efficient and sustainable development can only be achieved by working directly with our local partners in India. Every aspect of our project work relies on their local knowledge, expertise and actions.

We are a volunteer lead charity that works hard to keep expenses to an absolute minimum. Trustees give up their own time every year to visit our partner organisations, to review progress and agree future plans.

Why Help India?

Despite India’s economic growth, 216 million people still live in rural poverty with as many only just above it. The richest 1% of India own 53% of India’s wealth. This inequality means that most of the population do not have their most basic needs met.

26% of India’s population are illiterate with little to no education. Without an education, people are unaware of their rights, opportunities and are excluded from formal sectors of employment.

Employment is a major challenge for rural communities due to the lack of connectivity to towns and cities. People in rural areas are forced to work in low paid informal jobs that are often seasonal relating to agriculture.

Millions of people living in rural India do not have good access to medicines or facilities. The majority of deaths in rural villages are due to preventable and curable diseases such as diarrhoea, measles and typhoid.

Minority groups struggle to register for documents. Without proof of address, bank details and a passport, forms of identification cannot be issued making it difficult to join banks and register for things such as food banks. This continued exclusion from Indian society means that people living in rural areas are being left behind and the cycle of poverty continues.

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