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Our Projects

Give Them a Chance to Live

Massive poverty and inequality are the heavy price we pay for economic progress, making the rich richer, and the poor poorer. Such injustice is a terrible curse of our times - times in which the world boasts rapid advances in science, technology, industry and above all, wealth accumulation. An apt example of this rich-poor divide is Kerala. The much-hyped egalitarian nature of Kerala society is nothing but a myth. The state's lucky rich spend money wantonly on princely mansions, fast cars, five-star bars, foreign holidays and fancy weddings, while forgetting that there is a vast mass of humanity out there struggling for a roof over their heads and one square meal a day! You can find these unfortunate souls everywhere in cities, towns and villages, on the hills, in the plains and by the seaside. Men, women and children in their thousands. Their bodies wasted; their spirit broken; their hopes shattered; their morale destroyed. Some of them are able-bodied and willing to work, but nobody cares to give them jobs. There are others who are mentally or physically disabled, but the state's medical apparatus is beyond their reach.!

Financial and Material Support

HRDS provides assistance - financially and materially - to the old and ailing poor. The Society also donates school uniforms, study materials and umbrellas to students from poor families.

Let's Put an End to Poverty and Hunger

The Highrange Rural Development Society (HRDS) is a non-profit charitable and voluntary organisation working for the upliftment and welfare of the poor, marginalizsed, deprived and neglected sections of our society. Established in 1997 and registered under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Act 1955, HRDS has been striving to bring succour to thousands of poor men and women, destitute children and homeless senior citizens.

Our Objectives

The mission before HRDS is to alleviate poverty, promote health , ensure a clean environment, spread education, empower women, and create opportunities for employment and income generation for the poor. We strive to accomplish these objectives by designing and implementing several innovative and bold solutions that should bring about a long-term sustainable change in the lives of the poor. We believe in an integrated, holistic approach to solving most human problems. The combined goals of our projects are to create economic opportunity for all, especially the needy, through planned development , provide good rural health education and healthcare, ensure biodiversity conservation through sustainable use of natural resources anchored on the strengths, beliefs and practices of the local people and tribal communities, bring about social equality, fairness and dignity of life, especially for women, senior citizens....


Community Health & Clinical Services

Besides establishing health clinics, the Society conducts mobile medical camps for the poor. Free health services are offered at public primary health clinics and community healthcare centres in rural areas. Family health and sanitation figure prominently in the HRDS agenda. It organizes medical camps in the rural areas, including far-flung undeveloped regions, with the cooperation of local hospitals and doctors in and around the area. Efforts are on to extend this service to every other part of Kerala. HRDS conducts seminars and classes in the rural areas, especially for the benefit of women. Eminent medical professionals, including gynecologists, lead these programmes.

Tribal Development

Reports show that about 70 per cent of the country's population lives in rural areas where, for the first time since independence, the overall growth rate of population has sharply declined, as the latest Census points out. Of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crore live in rural areas while 37.7 crore stay in urban areas. For the first time since independence, the absolute increase in population is more in urban areas than in rural areas. The rural-urban distribution is reportedly approximated at 68.84 per cent and 31.16 per cent respectively. The decrease in overall growth rate of population is due to the sharp decline in the growth rate in rural areas, while the growth rate in urban areas remains almost the same. However, according to reports, the number of births in rural areas have increased by nine crore in the last decade.

Women's Empowerment:

Accepted government and private schemes for the betterment of women. They have not actively participated in their own emancipation due to rampant illiteracy and absence of economic independence. HRDS has, therefore, decided to address this important issue by empowering women and raising their status socially and economically. Several initiatives are currently underway to empower women through education, cooperative farming, vocational training, savings plans, and entrepreneurial guidance.

When a woman is empowered, a family is empowered

Formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs)

The concept of Self Help Groups is the brainchild of Dr Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh to empower the poor women of that country to earn independent livelihood through self-employment. The sunshine Dr Yunus brought to the dark and squalid alleys of Bangladesh now spreads its golden rays of hope into the lives of millions of poor and down-trodden people around the world. HRDS began formation of SHGs way back in 1999 on the 'Yunus model' of Bangladesh Grameen Bank. 750 SHGs formed by HRDS are now in operation in the Udumbanchola, Peermade and Devikulam taluks in the Idukki district of Kerala, besides 2000 such groups in the tsunami-affected areas of Nagarcoil and Kulachal in the Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu. SHGs are a key element in the rural development strategy of HRDS. Each SHG is a team of rural poor who have volunteered to organise themselves into a group for eradication of poverty of the members. They agree to save regularly and convert their savings into a common fund. Members of the group agree to use this fund and such other funds that they may receive as a group through a common management system.

Income Generation

The Society has launched a number of new projects to wipe out poverty and unemployment. It organises workshops on entrepreneurship and self-employment, and encourages the SHGs to participate actively in these programmes. Some of the projects identified and strongly advocated by the Society are: l Poultry farming l Dairy farming l Grocery and stationery stores l Fruit and vegetable shops l Readymade garments l Tailoring l Sweetmeat stalls l Soaps and detergents l Candle-making l Umbrella making l Assembling of electronic stabilizers and protectors l Solar lamps l Sericulture.

Tribal Housing Projects in Idukki, Palakkad and Wayanad

HRDS INDIA is introduced for the upliftment of the tribal people of Palakkad, Wayanad and Idukki districts as well as with an altruistic sentiments of saving these inhabitants from the deplorable conditions in which they live. Primarily the project envisages building houses for the poor deserving dwellers of the sited districts. This can be made feasible only to those who own at least 3 cents of plots in the area of the project. It has been assessed that by providing new houses they can escape from the hazardous climatic conditions and kindles a light of hope in their minds. For maintaining a reasonable standard of living, they would be given training in skilled labour, especially to the women of the tribe. Thus they can give unawareness of the importance of stable employment and the enjoyment of a meaningful life. The houses to be build with “ Fibre Cement Panels” a totally new building material were used in constructions. These Panels, manufactured with eco- friendly components, can stand the test of time and are ideally suitable for the extreme climatic conditions of the said districts. For strength and viability, these ‘ Fibre Cement Panelss” have been awarded wealth certificates of approval by “CII green products and Service Council” By the consummation of the whole project, it is expected to eradicate unemployment, illiteracy, unhealthy living conditions and disntution from these people of the districts, Attappadi and Vaythiri in the outskirts of Palakkad, Wayanad and Idukki districts. We have been receiving funds from Indian reputed companies as CSR, Ambedkar foundation ‘s fund from Delhi and our main source is Swami Admaji ‘s Anandha Mandir Ashram fund from Brazil.

Awareness Programmes

HRDS has designed a multimedia awareness programme - seminars, lectures, classes and workshops - to educate the rural poor on a variety of individually and collectively relevant subjects. This includes: l Income generation l Self-employment l Culture and literacy l Health and sanitation l Communal harmony l Social work l Community development l Personality development l Skill development l Thrift and savings l Agriculture, with special emphasis on eco-friendly farming l Social forestry l Environmental preservation l Sericulture.

Abhaya Kendra

Rehabilitation of HIV / AIDS victims is a major social issue. While seeking to prevent HIV / AIDS in the rural areas, Abhaya Kendra rehabilitates victims affected by the disease. Creation of awareness about HIV / AIDS is also a priority area of the project. Save-A-Child' Village The project involves the protection and rehabilitation of abandoned and destitute children, by offering them shelter, food, clothing, education and medical care until they attain maturity. The mission of the Village is to provide the best possible healthcare for children who have nowhere else to go. The Village provides residential therapeutic care for emotionally troubled children of 5 to 20 years, as well as counseling and professional mentoring programmes for youngsters and their families.

Navayug Village

The Village contains strong and comfortable houses for the homeless poor. The Village also houses a hospital offering free treatment and healthcare, rehabilitation programmes and holistic development.

Sraddha' Old Age Home

Traditionally, Indian families have placed great importance on caring for parents and elderly people. But that has changed in recent years with the breakdown of the extended family and emergence of nuclear families. Criminal neglect and abuse are not the only problems of India's old face. Loneliness and insecurity are even worse spillovers of old age. There are sons and daughters who have no time for their parents. Many old people have no children. In the case of others, the children have migrated to other parts of India or abroad. Then there are those children who are too poor to look after their parents. In numerous cases, children are too self-centred to care what happens to their parents. To free our senior citizens from this grim plight, HRDS has established professionally-managed oldage homes known as Sraddha. These homes provide clean, self-contained rooms for couples and dormitory type rooms for singles. Amenities include a trained physiotherapist, a doctor-on-call, ambulance service, TV, facilities for recreation and indoor games, internet and telephone connectivity. Individual medical care is offered by qualified physicians. Food is provided as per the advice of dietitians. A care centre functions for bedridden patients.

Silk Village: Sustainable Sericulture in Attappady

Among the major rural projects pressed into action by HRDS is the development of a Silk Village at Attappady. More than one-half of the barren wasteland of Palakkad district is in the Attappady region. The hill areas here have been subjected to large-scale deforestation, resulting in heavy soil erosion and degradation of soil texture. Nearly 80 per cent of the people in the Attappady tribal block are below the poverty line, coupled with a huge unemployment and under-employment problem. Hundreds of small and marginalised farmers thus stand to benefit from the sericulture project. The Silk Village provides the perfect solution to tackle such complex issues as unemployment, drought and problems relating to communication, social services and economic development in Attappady. Sericulture has immense potential as an employment-intensive occupation. Sericulture in the available wastelands in Attappady will remedy the ecological degradation and also provide livelihood to the village folk. The soil and climatic conditions in Attappady are suitable for mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing. The primary objective of the project is the upliftment of the local people with a sharp focus on their holistic development, keeping the traditional values intact. Sericulture, which is unique in its vast employment and income generation potentialities, is a viableactivity for the local people of Attappady especially small and marginal farmers. The Society's bivoltine sericulture project will spread across an area of 3500 acres in Agali, Puthur and Sholayur. The programme consists of: Cultivation of V-1variety of hybrid mulberry trees Silkworm rearing Commissioning of reeling, twisting and weaving units Development of a cocoon market The programme encourages farmers to take up sericulture so that more and more barren land could be made productive. Sericulture should get a significant boost in the coming years as more farmers switch to this farming segment. The job opportunities created and returns gained from sericulture would bring dramatic changes in the socio-economic scenario of tribals and other BPL families in the Attappady region. This would be a novel experiment towards the successful implementation of development schemes through a participatory approach.

Promotion of Zero-Budget Natural Farming

The concept of zero-budget natural farming was devised by Subhash Palekar of Maharashtra after years of systematic research and experimentation. He has so far conducted more than 1000 workshops to spread this new way of life for farmers. Palekar firmly believes that this revolutionary farming technology can solve the food and farm crisis in the country by cutting the cost of production and raising productivity and yield. He has been practising it himself for the last 25 years. The fundamental principle of Palekar's concept is that: The soil does not need nutrients to be added. The soil has micro-organisms which generate nutrients for itself. It is possible to revive a fertilizer-damaged soil back to the natural ways. The new method requires no money for farming. The pivot of zero-budget natural farming is the Desi cow. He says that the Desi cow's urine, dung and milk have all the qualities required to rejuvenate the soil. Just one Desi cow is all that is required to maintain a 30-acre farm. The Desi-Jersey hybrids are of no use in his scheme of things. Zero-budget farming can save 90 per cent of irrigation water and electricity required under chemical farming. HRDS propagates zero-budget farming system among the farmers in Kerala and Tamilnadu, and provides the necessary training to them. The Society expects to produce a new breed of farmers equipped to resist exploitation by national and international fertilizer monopolies.

HRDS INDIA Director, Anu Sivaram Speaking in an ICLEI WORKSHOP in Cochin

Consultants often refer to adaptation and mitigation while talking about climate change. Adaptation is distinct from mitigation. The latter refers to actions to reduce the extent of climate change through measures to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation refers to steps to minimize the predicted impacts of climate change on humans and the ecosystems that support habitation. Mitigation necessarily refers to actions that have worldwide effects since carbon dioxide released into the environment becomes part of the worldwide ambient air, while the effects of adaptation measures, by contrast, are for the most part strictly limited by geography. Climate affects human systems in three principle ways.
  • Provides the context for outdoor human activities, most notably agriculture
  • Climate affects the cost of maintaining controlled internal environments for human life and activities
  • Climate interacts with other types of stresses on human systems