The Banyan Tree Charity

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The Banyan Tree Charitable Society


The Banyan Tree Charitable Society is a social work trust registered with the Kerala State, South India (T703 2000). It is based at Kulapadda some 8 kms east of Nedumangad, but works to support several villages within a 30 km radius.


Tom Sutherland Founder of The Banyan Tree Charity

Tom Sutherland

Tom Sutherland, Founder

The Banyan Tree is essentially the creation of one remarkable, charismatic and visionary man, an Australian, Tom Sutherland who responded to a Christian call and went to work with Mother Theresa in 1975. Initially at Diamond Harbour she sent him to Kerala a year later and, using his considerable artistic ability, he became pivotal in developing craft work which provided employment for extremely poor and disadvantaged women.

His experience of dealing with the social problems and needs of these women and their families, a high proportion of whom are Dalit (the oppressed) formerly considered as outcastes, many are illiterate, all have few rights and little access to government services, led Tom to found The Banyan Tree in 2000. The Friends of The Banyan Tree was founded the same year in the UK to provide financial support and has remained a principal funder of the work of The Banyan Tree.

Philip Matthew, Director

Philip Matthew

Philip Matthew, Director

The Banyan Tree project has a number of Indian workers; of these Philip Matthew has been with Tom the longest and is now the director of the project. Philip is younger and is a family man; like many Keralan men he has to work away from his family and home which is a day's journey north. Philip is a capable, practical man with a wide range of skills, from building to accountancy, man management and teaching. He oversees the finances and administration of The Banyan Tree.

The Friends of The Banyan Tree as an autonomous sub committee of Health Help International (HHI) (Reg No 1078353), our parent charity, administered and monitored the work of the Banyan Tree from its inception in 2000. In 2012 HHI assumed full monitoring and UK administration for the work of Tom and Philip and the project, and also the responsibility for the transfer and distribution of the supporting funds raised by The Friends and HHI. The Friends maintain a close interest and contact with the project.

The Banyan Tree Logo

We are a small charity, we believe that is a strength, as is our commitment and the close contacts we maintain with the work in Kerala…