SPPD – helping communities in Tamil Nadu, India

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. Today on our journey through the world of humanitarian associations we are moving to India to talk to Alfred of the organization SPPD, supporting poor communities in rural areas in Tamil Nadu in the South-East of India. Would like to thank him for this time and detailed answers. 

How was SPPD founded and what are its main objectives?

At the heart of SPPD’s culture is, the desire to give and make a difference to the poor and communities below poverty line and their families. SPPD is driven by a purpose to care for the community with a mindset of collaboration and innovation.
There is a huge gap that exists between those who get  good education at private schools and those who have access only to the sub-standard government schools and low-cost, poor quality private schools. This gap creates the inequality that results in the privileged few going on to college and getting meaningful jobs, while others simply drop out of the system.
Quality of Education offered in village schools in Tamil Nadu was far from satisfactory and never helped the village students to compete with the students from urban and semi – urban regions. It was a matter of grave concern and has become a principal reason for most of the  drop – outs. Hence, it became imperative to infuse confidence in the minds of the village students by providing additional channels to improve their academic competency. 
It was in 1994, August Mr.J.Raju (Founder of SPPD) and his few friends initiated their First Evening Study Centre in Sinthampatti. The main motive tagging this initiative was to balance the inequality in education that prevailed in the rural areas. Our intention was to help the rural children to complete their regular homework  and daily study. Though residing at Thanneerpalli, a rural- wet land area, our concentration  was diverted towards the dry belts of Soriyampatti in Musiri Block.  Free tuition with duration of two hours is given in common to the children of all grade levels. After one successful year of implementation, we had legally registered ourselves as a Society in 1995. 
Vision :  SPPD envisions a secured and a sustainable community  South India. 
Mission : SPPD recognizes the need to support and encourage the sustainable development of education for children and adolescents, empowerment of women and the environment for self sustaining communities. 


What are the main social issues in your region of intervention?
Though India has made significant strides towards poverty reduction and changed the economic situation over the past decade, Imbalance empower relation, unequal resource distribution, unequal access to economic opportunities, frequent disasters and social complexities disproportionately hampers the progress of rural disadvantaged, marginalised and person with disabilities,  rural youth, children, women, dryland, farmers and  physically challenged people.
How do you promote women’s rights and empowerment?
Women Empowerment refers to strengthening the social, economic and educational powers of women. It refers to an environment where there is no gender bias and have equal rights in community, society and workplaces. 
Women empowerment refers to strengthening the social, economic and powers of women. Towards this end, the Self Help Group (SHG) programme was initiated in 1997 and has a stable growth over the years.3000 SHGs with a total membership of 35000 women were formed.
Our goals are education, empowerment, improved health and safety for all women in our district.  To help women gain financial independence, since 2004 SPPD has provided them with financial inclusion through micro credit loans at competitive interest rates, with the  assistance of banking and non-banking financial institutions. The loans were utilized to initiate Income generation activities.
SPPD has used SHG as a platform to emphasize the social awareness to the community, to widen their knowledge on health, water and sanitation (particularly HIV/AIDS and STIs) education, protection of the environment and how to lead a healthy and hygienic life style.
How extended are the problems of child labour and street children and how do you address these issues? 
SPPD have been working in the areas of Child Education, Health & Nutrition, Child Protection, children who are affected by HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis infected parents is generally a family dealing with crisis, illness, lack of resources, and social isolation, and in need of medical, psychological and social services.  SPPD is assisting these900 children, and their families through nutritioneducation aids to improve the quality of life. Students in rural areas of Trichy and neighbouring districts are assisted with their homework by offering free tuitions, (Evening Study Centres educational supplies and nutritional supplement).   We have project for Street children and child labour but have not taken up the project for lack of funds.
Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
SPPD and government alike have begun to appreciate the advantages of cooperating more closely, both to meet the challenges described above and to enhance democratic participation.
Participation is about meeting the interests of the whole community. When every member of a community has the chance, directly or through representation by local partners, to participate in the design, implementation and monitoring of programs, there is a higher likelihood that the initiative accurately reflects their real needs and interests. Partners play an essential role in encouraging participation and ensuring different experiences, needs and capabilities of various groups in a community are heard, including those of women and men, youth and the elderly, persons with disabilities and the able bodied, ethnic/religious/language minorities and majorities.
Networking, collaboration and coordination mechanism established among different actors through awareness creation, participatory planning and collective actions undertaken to effective people friendly social and economic activities.
Field experience, lesson learned and good practices are documented and disseminated among different stakeholders in turn can promote local agenda for friendly governance.
Disaster Response and Humanitarian Aid- Relief, Recovery, Rehabilitation Services.
Relief, Recovery and Rehabilitation services with particular attention to the most vulnerable SPPD provides humanitarian assistance to people affected by natural or man made disasters, people, and once the most urgent needs are taken care of, we set out to work with affected communities to rebuild homes and livelihoods, and strengthen their capacity to manage future disasters.
India faces many environmental hazards such as deforestation, soil erosion, overgrazing and desertification. Floods and flash floods are usually the result of tropical storms and cyclones in the monsoon period, which is not new to India.