Association for Rural Development (ARD) is based in the most backward and drought-prone regions of southern Tamil Nadu. The NGO was started by a group of educated unemployed youth to help empower poor marginalised people and transform society.
ARD operates in the districts of Madurai, Ramanathapuram and Theni and covers 582 villages and a population of 2.5million. Literacy (particularly among women) in the region is low and people lack basic amenities (drinking water, toilets) and are susceptible to poor health, high debt levels and plagued with social evils (alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling). The rural population is primarily relies on rain fed agriculture and therefore dependent on the monsoon. There are few sources of alternative employment and the people are exploited by employers.
ARD took following initiatives in 2012:
Programmes for the eradication of female infanticide.
Model farm to promote sustainable agriculture development and animal husbandry.
Care and support to people with HIV/AIDS.
Establishment of home care, vocational training centre and dispensary for AIDS patients in Madurai (the Japanese Consulate has helped with the cost of the Building).
Pre-school Education: 18 schools; 467 children.
Supplementary evening tuition programmes: Has been run for the past 15 years with the sole aim of helping female children. It focusses on education, building moral values and social consciousness. The programme benefits more than 10,000 students.
Government programs –
Mahalir Thittam and micro credit management.
Pilot project on promotion of micro enterprises agencies among matured (three years or more) Self Help Groups (project sponsored by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development - NABARD; benefits 1,000).
Watershed development project: Is also supported by NABARD at Sindhupatty & Kallapanpatty. The project helps promote livelihood and helps support around 700 people.
Rural Mart scheme (to sell the products of the self-help groups).
Farmers club: to promote jasmine flower cultivators.
Integrated support for sanitary napkin production.
Formation and linkages of Self Help Groups (supported by NABARD)
Training on mushroom cultivation for rural women and youth towards their socio-economic development.
Entrepreneurship development training program on food processing.
Promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises.
Promotion of handicrafts in the coastal regions.
Adult education programmes.
Capacity building, leadership training and understanding gender development.
ARD has promoted a network of 30 NGOs to co-operate and highlight issues relating to: human rights and female infanticide.
Income Rs2 cr
Expense Rs1 cr
Source : Audit Report 2012
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