MAY 2001

A Sustainable Project

What is the project in brief? What is the rationale?
Motivation for the project comes from two aspects: Which is the target group? How many children will benefit?
The target group for the Project consists of about 3200 dalit children in 40 villages of Tiruchendur Taluk, Tuticorin District, Tamil Nadu. The main problems faced by the children are: The villages vary widely in size. The number of children benefiting from the program will range from 50 to 100 in a village.

What are the problems of the people?
The parents of the children are primarily landless dalit laborers living in a dry area. They face many problems such as: What will be done for children in each village covered by the Project?
An ASHA JUNIOR CENTER will be set up with regular activities like education, sports and games, art classes, vocational training, etc. The pre-school children will be taken care of during the day for about three hours. The other children will come to the Center in the evening from 5.00 to 9.00 p.m. After a round of games, the children will be helped with their schoolwork. The juniors will go home at 7.30 pm, while the seniors will stay on until 9.00 pm. Weekends will be used for other activities.

By the end of the second year, the expected achievements are: It is expected that every child enrolled in the Asha Junior Center will The children will set up and maintain a herbal garden and will be trained to provide local remedies for minor illnesses. Knowledge of local biodiversity and conservation will be encouraged.

The village will be asked to provide a place for the Center. The necessary improvements in infrastructure will be made (provision of solar lamp, painting of the room, etc.). Where absolutely necessary, an eco-friendly, low-maintenance building will be constructed following the ideas of Laurie Baker

What are the likely benefits to the children? What will be done for the women’s group in each village covered by the Project? What are the likely benefits to the women? How will the scheme work? What will the community contribute? How do we ensure the support of the mothers? Who will implement the project and what is the location?
The Anawim Trust will implement the Project with the support of Prof. R. Rajagopalan, Director, International Ocean Institute (IOI) at IIT Madras. Started in early 1994, the Anawim Trust has been working for the socio-economic development of dalit villages in Tiruchendur Taluk of the Tuticorin District in Tamil Nadu. IOI India and Anawim have been working together for three years in 40 such coastal villages under the IOI Eco-villages Project. Currently three Asha Projects are under way.

What has been done so far in the Eco-villages Project?
With funds from international donors What is being done currently for the children of the villages?
During the last two years, with funds from CRY and IOI India The proposed Asha project will be implemented in villages not covered by the CRY Program.

What are the current Asha projects in these villages? What do we expect from Asha? How will monitoring and reporting be done by Anawim? How does one reach the project site?
By train (Pearl City Express) from Madras Egmore to Tuticorin (about 14 hours overnight), then by road to Tiruchendur; stay at the TTDC Hotel Tamil Nadu. Anawim office is in Veerapandianpattinam, 15 minutes drive from Tiruchendur. The villages are within a radius of 15 km from Tiruchendur.

What about FCRA?
Anawim Trust has been securing, without any difficulty, prior permission to receive foreign funds for its projects. The Trust has now applied for permanent registration under FCRA. Since it has completed more than three years of activity, it expects to get the registration soon.

Where can one get more information on Anawim Trust and the Eco-villages Project?

Anawim Trust
1/497, Shanthi Nagar
Tirunelveli Road
Tiruchendur 628 215
Tel: 04639 45122

Prof. R. Rajagopalan
International Ocean Institute, Operational Center (India)
Foundation for Sustainable Development (India)
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Chennai 600 036, India
Tel: 91 44 2301338; 4458805
Fax: 91 44 2200559
Email :

Annex 1

Budget for 3 years for one village in US$

S. No. Item Budget
Contribution over
3 years
Asha Women’s

Fixed Costs

1 Capital for micro-credit 2200 2200
2 Basic infrastructure: Blackboard, table, educational aids, books, recreation and sports material, bicycles, etc. 1300 1300

Recurring Costs for 3 years

1 Full-time organizer’s salary 1650 1500 150
2 Providing spirulina as a nutritional supplement 1650 1200 150
3 Providing vocational skills (including computer training) 1250 1250
4 Training, field visits, competitions, herbal garden, etc. 1350 1250 100
5 Miscellaneous items (replenishment of basic items, magazines, newspapers, etc.) 400 300 100
Sub-total 9000
Contribution to Central Fund* 1000 1000
Total Asha Contribution (US$) 10000

Annex 2

Budget: Explanatory Notes
  1. Asha Contribution:
    The Asha contribution could be spread over the three years: in US$

    Year 1 6000
    Year 2 3000
    Year 3 1000

  2. Anawim / IOI Contribution:
  3. Central Fund*: 10% of budget will be put in a central fund to be used for

Annex 3

  1. Preparatory Meetings
  2. Start the center


  3. Extension of micro credit
  4. Build center where necessary
  5. Monitoring and evaluation

Annex 4


General Comments:

The children’s project is just one part of a larger Eco-villages project run by IOI India in 40 villages with funds from Japan and Switzerland raised by the International Ocean Institute. The main project is women-oriented and did not initially have a children’s component. Given Asha’s interest in child education, DP’s enthusiasm when we met at the AID Conference at IIT Madras on Jan 1, 1999 and our desire to start helping the children in these dalit villages, we began seeking funds from Asha Chapters.

The Project is backed by IIT Madras Foundation for Sustainable Development (India). IOI India provides information, technical expertise, etc., to Anawim Trust and also monitors the project continuously. Three years of work with the women in the villages has laid a solid foundation for our work with the children. We have a dream of taking true care of about 3200 children in these 40 villages over a period of 5 to 10 years with the active support of the mothers; in other words, see a whole batch of children through their school years. That should make a difference to these villages.

We are trying hard not to be seen as benefactors from outside. We should merely be facilitators, catalysts to enable the villagers to help themselves. That is the only way towards a sustainable program.

  1. Has Anawim / IOI tried getting funds from other sources for this project?

    No, because this is a novel project unlikely to be funded by normal donor agencies, which specialize either on child development or on women’s welfare..

  2. The proposal says that the men are unemployed (and alcoholic?). Has anything been done to address this root cause?

    This is a very complicated and difficult problem. The hope is that if the women and the children are empowered by higher income and overall education, the men can then be handled.

  3. Provide more information on the villages to be covered by the project.

    The specific villages for the Project will be chosen later, when we know the number of villages that will be funded. In general, the poorer among the 80 dalit villages in the area will be chosen.

  4. What are the government schools like in the area? Why don't the children go there?

    The children do go the schools. However, they do not get a good education there. Our project goes beyond school education, it is the all round development of the children.

  5. Any attempts to improve existing schools in the area?

    This is beyond our capacity. The ground realities are that the government system is inefficient and corrupt. If the dalit villagers gain self-confidence through our projects, they will be able to demand their rights in the school system. That is still in the future.

  6. Do you have any information on the organizers / teachers that will be running the Asha Junior Centers?

    We look for local women or men with some education. So far we have been able to locate organizers for the three Asha projects under way.

  7. What will the salary of the teachers be?

    Rs.2000 a month. During the first year this will come out of the Project funds. From the second year onwards, there will be a nominal contribution from the women. From the fourth year, the women’s group will bear this expense.

  8. The service charge of 2% per month works out to 24% per annum. Is this not a high rate of interest on the loan?

    It is a service charge and not interest. It is a contribution from the women towards making the Center sustainable in the long run. The women see the importance of educational and other forms of support to their children and do not see this charge as being excessive. This is our experience in the Asha-WAH project.

    The lending rate in the women’s own savings group is 3-5% per month. The local moneylenders charge a minimum of 10% per month.

  9. What will be the nutritional supplement?

    We propose to give a spoonful of spirulina, the wonder algae, which has a proven ability to improve children’s health and increase their immunity to diseases. Since raw spirulina powder is not very palatable, we propose to make special biscuits with sufficient spirulina content.

    The spirulina will be cultured in the Greenwork Resource Center, set up as a part of the Eco-villages Project. The Center will have lab facilities to test the spirulina for any contamination. Spirulina is also being cultured in two villages by local women.