The Venkat Trust, which was founded in 2004 by Sylvia Holder, is a UK registered charity (No 1104363) with seven UK trustees and two based in Kovalam.
Sylvia lived and worked in a number of countries before setting up Holder Swan Public Relations in London with fellow trustee Lindsay Swan. It was while in India on a business trip for a travel client that she met Venkat on the beach which 15 years later was to change her life dramatically and the lives of many others. She won The Times Sternberg Active Life Award in 2012 and was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2018 New Year’s Honours for “services to education in Kovalam, India”.
Lindsay is a London based PR consultant and editor. She met Sylvia Holder in South Africa when they worked for a Johannesburg consultancy and they then went on to run Holder Swan Public Relations in London for more than 20 years.
Sarah da Silva
Sarah has visited Kovalam many times. She comes from a background in catering and since retiring has done voluntary work for many organisations including Meals on Wheels and Hove’s Martlets Hospice.
Nick was formerly Director of Staffing for Europe, Middle East and Africa with Deloitte Consulting. Apart from the Venkat Trust, he gives much of his time to a charity for the over 50s in a poor area of Hove.
John visited Kovalam initially as a volunteer to paint the Panchayat School, loved the village and its people, and has been back many times since.
Julie visited Kovalam as a sponsor initially and has also taken part in events, including the Brighton Half Marathon, to help raise money and awareness for the Trust. She hails originally from north east England and now lives in Hove. Julie has extensive experience as an executive assistant and in project support, training and recruitment roles within large organisations.
Natalie works in education and was a Trust supporter for a number of years before visiting Kovalam in 2023, where she fell in love with the village, its people but most importantly, its children. She’s taken part in a number of fundraisers for VMT, including the London to Brighton bike ride and running 250kms in a single month.
We have no paid staff in the UK as all money raised goes straight to Kovalam with no deductions. Volunteers are a great help to us and we’re particularly grateful to:
Sylvia’s niece Emma is our UK administrator. She knows Kovalam well and looks after the UK end of sponsorships, liaising closely with Aarthi in the Trust’s office in Kovalam.
Trustee John’s partner Alex is our Chief Fundraiser. Each year members of her Ubermummies fitness community run in the Brighton Half Marathon and raise thousands of pounds for the Trust.
Sandra checks and reconciles our monthly bank statements and submits the annual Gift Aid application.