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In 1989, the project holder, Mr. Sathaiah, Secretary of RWDS organized Palmyra workers in Ramnad district into the Devipattinam Panai Thozhilalr Sangam. In 1990, Palmyra workers development society (PWDS) extended its operations into Ramnad District, with establishment of AIRD (Association of Integrated Rural Development). In 2007 RWDS was formed with a view to bring a change in the life of the Palmyra workers in 4 districts – Ramnad, Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Thirunelveli. CRY started supporting RWDS since 2008. The goal of RWDS is to organize the Palmyra workers and facilitate them to campaign for asserting their rights over livelihood, to ensure education and health facilities for Palmyra workers’ children at their hamlets and to ensure to control over common property resources. RWDS started addressing CR issues in 90 villages through strong community mobilization. From 2009 Sept, Mr. T.R. Chandran, a well known rights based NGO leader is the president of the board. Mr. Sathaiah guides and monitors the entire team and their work.


RWDS’s operational villages comes under Kadaladi, Thiruppulani and Mandapam Panchayat Unions in which Palmyra workers are thickly populated. Palmyra trees are the major source of livelihood in Ramnad, besides fishing. They get comparatively low price for their products like jaggery; litter of toddy leaves, palm syrup, palm sugar etc. These products need more number of labors hence there is high risk of using children in work.. From the total Palmyra workers 80% to 90% do not have any land holdings of their own. They take Palmyra trees either on lease or Varam (rental) basis from the tree owners. The total number of children of 0-18 years in 52 villages is 9212. The mojar child rights issues include malnutrition in rampant rate, non availability of early childhood education to children, lack of infrastructure facilities, and much distance of ICDS centres from hamlets and increasing dropouts and child labours in the area.


  • To ensure re enrolment of Child labourers into schools and prevention of Child labor.
  • To identify and analyse the issues of children at migrated families and to plan strategies to address the issue of CL in the migrated families .
  • Mobilize communities/village Sangams to demand and implement child welfare schemes/community development schemes of the Welfare Board through participation and monitoring of government schemes.
  • Improve access to schools education, improved retention rate and reduce drop out among high school children to ensure continuing education.
  • Up- gradation of Schools to ensure continuing education in the locale of the children.
  • To ensure safety and timely transportation through bus connectivity to have accessibility for Middle and High/ Higher secondary schools.
  • To mitigate/address the adverse impact on health for children working in the sea food units and salt pans through access to quality and timely health care.
  • Increase children’s participation in the community level processes and Develop their leadership and individual skills by ensuring participation in children collectives.

Review & Impact

RWDS addresses the root causes of Child Rights issues among the Palmyra workers community. Among CRY goals, Health accessibility, malnutrition issues, right to health issues, schools accessibility and child labour issues are being addressed very intensively.

Some highlights:
  • 9 PHC level Health convergence meeting was organized by the team with the support of the health committee members in the operational area.
  • In 28 villages Out of 52 working villages 90% of deliveries held at Private Health Centers, other 15 villages 50% of deliveries held at Govt Health Centers and other 9 villages most of deliveries held in Private Hospital.
  • Child Development committee formed in 38 villages.
  • 27 child labors re enrolled for continuing their education.
  • 440 girls out of 1220 girls are getting nutrition food and iron tablet from the ICDS and VHN.
  • Ensured nearly 2100 children enrolled in primary schools.
  • 853 Children got opportunity to get space in participate.

2014 Plans

  • Reduction in child labour to 38% in the age group of 15-18 years in 52 villages in intervention areas.
  • In 10 village 100% children in the age of 6-18 years are enrolled in Schools.
  • In 10 village 100% children in the age group of 6 to 18 years are retained in school.
  • To mitigate/address the adverse impact on health for children working in the sea food units and salt pans through access to quality and timely health care.


  • Right to Survival
  • Right to Development
  • Right to Protection
  • Administration
  • Total Grant Approved