Dr. Soundaram Trust
Publication, research and more…
The idea of Dr. Soundram Trust came about in 2009 with the aim of providing relief to the economically and socially weaker sections of the society. The Trust comes under the larger umbrella of activities of the Gandhigram Trust and steers clear of any commercial motives or profit-making. The Gandhigram Press and the publication activities undertaken by it also form an integral part of the Dr. Soundram Trust.
Long before Dr. Soundram Trust was established, Dr. Soundram realised the need for a printing press and applied to the then Madurai District Administration for permission to start one in Gandhigram. She obtained permission for Gandhigram Press in 1950 and started its operations with Rs.5000, which was given to her by her mother for jewels. The press was merged with the Lakshmi Seva Sangham in 1977 and with the Dr. Soundram Trust in 2009 for administrative reasons.
The main objectives of the Trust include:
- To provide relief to disadvantaged women and children, orphans, disabled, small and marginal farmers, indigent artisans and senior citizens by undertaking income generation and other economic activities.
- To conduct research, develop and propagate natural dyes.
- Managing the Gandhigram printing press and through it, provide employment to rural women. The press is involved in the publishing of materials and books relevant to the Gandhigram ideology and that of its sister institutions.
- To form and maintain self-help groups and federations and undertake micro-credit enterprises including departmental study training centres.
- To assist the production of Khadi and development of village industries by promoting research in the techniques in its production of Khadi and identify the problems that might arise in the sector.
- To cooperate with other organizations having similar objectives, especially the Gandhigram Trust, Gandhigram, and extend financial support to the orphanage maintained by Gandhigram Trust.
There are two primary units under the Dr. Soundaram Trust:
- Publication Division: This encapsulates the activities undertaken by the Gandhigram Press. Gandhigram Trust, Kasturba Hospital, Lakshmi Seva Sangham, Khadi and Village Industrial Public Charitable Trust, Gandhigram Rural Institute – Deemed University and Gandhigram Institute of Rural Health & Family Welfare Trust are some of the major patrons of the press. TVS Educational Institutions is a recent addition to the list of patrons.
- Natural Dyes Research and Training Centre: The natural dyes unit is supported by the Khadi and Village Industries Public Charitable Trust and also gets orders from private entities in Thiruvannamalai, Chennai, Erode, Karur, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Salem and Bengaluru.