A HYDE-BASED charity that has helped about ten thousand people living in the poorest and remote areas of India is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The Lotus Flower Trust was founded by John Hunt, who is the charity’s CEO, in 1998 and works in remote areas of India, helping the poorest communities.

“It is very gratifying that all the hard work has shown such a good return. When we started the charity we had no idea we could reach this number of people, children, and as many projects as we have done. We have only done that through very generous donors of course, and a lot of hard work.”

The charity funds schools, homes and skill centres for destitute children, women and those with special needs in remote areas of India.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the work we have achieved and continue to do to help so many in India,” said John.

Over the past 10 years, it has raised more than £1.75 million and funded 60 projects including schools, homes and skills centres, changing the lives of an estimated 10,000 people.

John said: “Education is the the only way people living in poverty can get out of poverty that is very obvious. The other thing, particularly with the ladies we have been working with and the special needs children it is all about dignity and giving them some dignity in their lives. For the people who have got disabilities the opportunity to learn skills so when they reach 18 or 19 they can get a job and look after themselves. It is all very rewarding.

“I don’t get paid for this for the work I do but I get repaid in the smiles and the laughter and the success of the children.”

John says he has seen the children grow and even go on to study teaching at college.

Last year, the charity completed 11 projects in areas including Ladakh.

“I could never have imagined we could have done that when we started this in 2008,” said John.

Fundraising is underway for more projects, including an extension to Khalatse school with girls accommodation and bathroom facilities which it needs for 65 people, and more kindergartens in Ladakh, as well as setting up an artificial glacier in a remote village.

Go to lotusflowertrust.org