Women and children of rural poor families of Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu. Our main focus is on child laborers, widows, young girls, and disabled and old-aged people.
1. Crèche centers for children:
Starting in 1988, ISSI has promoted education, nutrition, and health development of young children in rural, poor areas through Crèche Centers. The ISSI Crèche Centers are the actualization of these values as they provide a safe, nurturing place for children, aged 6 months to 5 years, to learn and grow. Currently, ISSI has two Crèche Centers in operation, which care for an average of 40 children. ISSI provides pre-school education, a mid-day meal, periodical medical check-ups and treatment, and indoor and outdoor activities. There are direct benefits to the children for whom we care, but also for their families and communities. Mothers are enabled to work, elder siblings can attend school, and the village communities are supported. (Location: Pudukottai district).
2. Vocational training for adolescent girls and youth:
The socio-economic condition of rural women is being uplifted through ISSI’s ongoing vocational training project aimed at providing and improving vocational skills. The project empowers women by giving them the necessary skills and knowledge for both getting into the workforce and allowing them to generate income for their families. In addition to training on the vocational skill, marketing and entrepreneurial guidance and production unit startup assistance is provided. Participants in our programs have been able to secure wage-employment or become self-employed. The vocations trained through this program shift along with the changing demands of the local micro-economy. Past vocational skills trained in our program include sewing, vermi-composting, nursery raising, and artificial diamond polishing. Although the project is implemented with limited local resources, this project is held for 50-60 women per year. The project training includes both the practical and theoretical training for 3 to 6 months. (Location: Pudukottai and Nagapattinam district).
Training and production of coir rope
3. Water and sanitation:
Providing safe drinking and promoting sanitation for good health is central to ISSI’s water and sanitation project. Targeting economically weak sections, twenty low-cost houses in addition to 250 village community latrines have been constructed. Currently, the project continues through awareness programs that concern water and sanitation issues. Topics include safe drinking water, toilets, drainage, and information about local water sources. Along with collaborating partners in Thiruvaru, a nearby district, our resource team has helped prepare and conduct these awareness programs. The local Tamil Nadu government funds the rural housing and sanitation project. (LocationPudukottai district).
4. Environmental education for children:
The environmental education for school children project implements multiple activities to impart education about, awareness of, and concern for the environment among school children. Environmental issues brought up in this project include conservation, natural resources, erosion, proper management of wastes, and sanitation and toilets (to discourage open-air defecation). Our education techniques utilize discussion, puppet shows, and audio visual aids. Additionally, experiential learning takes place when the children participate in tree planting, school ground beautification, and vermi-composting and compost making activities. The project also motivates the continuation of environmental concern in their schools through motivating green-clubs and providing training to their teachers. The project takes place during an eco-camp in 20 schools where about 400 children participate. (Location: Pudukottai district).
Children learning vermicompost making Children in the eco-camp
5. Child labour awareness:
To promote awareness about child labor issues among both the parents of child laborers and the general public, ISSI started a child labor awareness project implemented through research, education, and action programs. In 2004, ISSI completed a detailed survey on district-wide child labor conditions. Nearly 5,200 child laborers, both male and female and in the age group of 5 to 14 years of age, were surveyed. Examples of the labor that they are involved in include artificial diamond polishing, stone crushing, brick making, agriculture harvesting and tending, livestock care, and in hotels as cleaners or servers in the restaurants. Once the survey was complete an awareness program was carried out. The awareness program was conducted in villages with high rates of child labor through mass media techniques including puppet shows and discussion. Thus far, 40 programs in 40 villages have been organized with the help of the local government. The project also aims at motivating parents and the public to take collective action to end child labor problems in the district. Although funding has not been secured to continue activities in other villages, we are still concerned for the issue. Currently, ISSI is working to fundraise to continue with further child labor awareness programs as well as a child labor elimination project. (Location: Pudukottai district).
6. Safe motherhood educational program:
To promote women’s health and prevent maternal mortality rate, ISSI has carried out a safe motherhood program that focuses on health care education. The awareness training includes such topics as health, nutrition, and safe delivery training to the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). The project also organizes immunization camps, provides guidance and counseling for family welfare, and refers expecting mothers to government hospitals if they face risks in delivery. There is also an emphasis on women’s reproductive rights. Thus far, 2000 women have participated in this annual program. (Location: Thiruvarangulam block, Pudukottai district).
7. Plant-based eating education (Meat Out):
The plant-based eating education project is rooted in ISSI’s concern with societal health conditions. Additionally, ISSI recognizes that plant based eating is a more efficient way for South Indians to get adequate nutrition in a growing population. Education is given on topics such as the health benefits of vegetables, the genetic engineering of animals, and the dangers of meat consumption. These programs are held several times a year, targeting rural communities within their villages. The programs educate through discussion, audio visual aids, vegetable cooking demonstrations, and recreation such as a drawing and coloring contest for children in which they draw and color animals and plants and include a vegetarian message. Programs are run with the collaboration of other organizations such as New Life India and SCORD. The Sabina Fund of FARM USA funds the project. (Location: Tamil Nadu).
World Farm Animals Day event - singing and dancing.Drawing competition on World Farm Animals Day
8. Evening schools for rural children:
ISSI promotes educational development of rural children through providing supplementary education. Six evenings a week, in three villages, children, aged 6 to 14, have the opportunity to expand their minds. A teacher prepares and teaches lessons on subjects such as Tamil, English, Science, and Math. The children can also receive help on their homework assignments. (Location: Pudukottai district).
9. Widows empowerment program:
We organized 40 widows groups were formed in the villages of tsunami affected area of Nagapattinam district. Each group consist of five members. They lost their husband by tsunami. So, no male income for their families.So,they They were unable to get financial assistance for the business. decided to start fish vending and dry fish vending for their family income \ The money lenders asked more than 10% of interest which is very high. They are already suffering due to tsunami.Hence,we have discussed and supported 60 widows financially to start their business.
The widows are socially neglected and discriminated from their society. So, we are organizing social- legal
awareness training for them to understand their problems and help them for collective action to chieve their
Socio-legal awareness for widows Micro business for widows
10. Educational support for urban children:80 orphans and 360 children of single parents of tsunami affected villages are getting educational support activity. Every year, we are distributing Educational material and cloth for the children and organizing sports/games and entertainment activites through evening education centers. Distribution of study materials
11. HIV/AIDS awareness program:
We are organizing mass awareness programmes on HIV/AIDS awareness through folk media. Periodically,
we are conducting Training program on HIV.AIDS and reproductive rights for our youthgroups.
Rally on awareness of HIV/AIDS Street play on HIV/AIDS
12. Relief and rehabilitation activities:
From the 27th of December, 2004 onward, ISSI carried out rescue and relief activities in the affected area with the help of local individuals and other NGOs. Immediate relief action taken included the burial or burning of bodies, assembly and distribution of aid supply packages (including kerosene stoves, blankets, clothing, cooking vessels, and educational materials, among other things), and a continual grassroots assessment of the needs of the affected people. Currently, ISSI opened a project office among the affected people to implement long-term, rehabilitation projects. (Location: Nagapattinam district).
Water and sanitation
Bio sand water filter making unit
BioSand Water Filters are point-of-use water treatment systems. They are an adaptation of traditional slow sand filters, which have been used for over 200 years. BioSand Filters stand 40 inches tall, and 12 inches wide on each side. The Filter container is made of concrete and filled with layers of specially selected and washed sand and gravel. BioSand Filters remove pathogens and suspended solids from contaminated water using biological and mechanical processes that take place on the surface of and in the sand column. Thus this is very eco-friendly, simple and widely affordable system. The major advantage of this filter is it doesn’t require electricity or any chemicals for purification Our team attended the workshop on bio sand filter making organised FWF- USA.We have started bio sand water filter unit in our campus. It is a social enterprise activity of ISSI. The purpose of the unit is to to make the filters to supply to schools, orphanages with free of cost and market the filters with nominal cost to low income families.
13. Past projects: