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52 villages in 3 blocks of Ramananthpuram district, Tamil Nadu
Thematic Focus: Education and Protection

Background of the Project

Rural Workers Development Society (RWDS) was registered as an organization by Mr. Sathiah in 2007 with the objective to ensure the rights of Palmyrah workers in the reference district of Tamil Nadu. The project holder has decades of experience of working with the community. Since its inception the organization has been addressing child rights issues in 90 villages in 3 blocks. Through the years, RWDS has been working exclusively for the re-enrolment of child laborers and school drop-outs from families who are solely dependent on Palmyra sap tapping and allied works. Also the initiation, activation and strengthening of government schools and the School Management Committees (SMC) / School Development Management committees (SDMC) and other education and protection issues.

Problem Statement:

RWDS has been intervening in 52 villages of 3 blocks (Kadaladi, Thiruppulani and Mandapam) of the Ramnathapuram district to address the child rights issues of the Palmyrah worker community (Palmyrah workers are a group of people with a low status in the society whose core work involves tapping Palmyra trees which is the state tree of Tamil Nadu). Ramanathapuram is perhaps the most backward and drought-prone district of Tamil Nadu. Palmyra workers make up almost 1/3rd of the total work force. Child labor is one of the primary issues in the intervention area. Girls are mostly employed in salt pans, sea food processing and Palmyra related work. Boys are employed in mechanic shops, grocery stores in other districts and in Palmyra tapping. The children get recruited through agents or middlemen who come during the summer vacation to identify vulnerable children and recruit them. Because of the restriction levied by the government on Palmyra tapping, all families who were dependent have lost their livelihood which has led to indebtedness for them. Many of them had to resort to seasonal migration for their livelihood, which resulted in dropout of children. The protection mechanisms such as the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) and Children Welfare Committee (CWC) do not get involved in any child rights violation issues. Thus, child labor and drop-out due to seasonal migration continue to be the major issues with focus required on the issues of lack of availability of schools, lack of accessibility, lack of infrastructure, complete denial of free health services, lack of sufficient ICDS centers and poor functioning of centers.

Achievements & Impact

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Key Result Area: Education - Focused engagement in ensuring increased retention of school children from 70% to 80% and ensure physical access to schools, infrastructure and quality within schools and ICDS centers.

● ICDS data collection from 33 ICDS centers focuses on the health status of children in the age group of 0-5 years old and 11-18 years old, Pre(Ante)natal Care (ANC) and Post Natal Care (PNC).
● Assessment of child data in migrant places.
● Collecting baseline data and household data as per the MIS register formats for 5 new villages in the Kadaladi block where there is high child labor.
● Ensure 100% child transition from pre-school /ICDS to primary school / regular school; from Grade 5 to 6, Grade 8 to 9, and Grade 10 to 11.
o Campaign in the villages of Kadaladi block focusing on enrolment and retention in the transiting grades to ensure all children are in Anganwadi centers / schools / higher education.
● 100% children passed 10th and 12th board exams. o Keeping a close track of children writing board exams and motivating them to reappear for exams to pass the subjects.
o Initiating supplementary classes in 5 villages.
● Ensure one new school and one Anganwadi Center approved in the last reporting year.
o Motivating children and keeping a close track of them to prevent dropouts.
● Promote experimental learning methods and motivate children through a one day experimental session on easy understanding of concepts in science and math.

● 27 ICDS center data were collected in which 477 children were tracked along with 484 adolescent girls data.
● 677 children of age 3-5 were benefited by collecting take home ration data.
● 891 households were visited and motivated so that the parents continue education for their children and proceed with enrolment irrespective of whether classes are being handled or not.
● 914 parents took part in a sensitization campaign; met 2,969 school children; met families of 62 drop out children;
● Household visits and regular follow up/motivation resulted in a 13 year old girl who was out of school for 3 years, re-enrolled into 5th Grade in Kanjirankudi Government primary school.
● Board class students were listed and motivated. 298 children in 10th Grade and 316 children in 11th Grade have been currently declared to be passed.
● A digital center has been set up in Poopandiyapuram village and has been conducting evening tutoring about computers and basics of typing, word, excel, power point and paint. Also additional supplementary tutoring of studies was handled. 22 children and child laborers from two villages were attending the digital center.
● A new bathroom facility in the government primary school at Manickanagar village was approved in February 2020 and construction was completed during the period for the cost of Rs. 2.35 Lakhs by the government through the support of Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Key Result Area: Protection - Reduction of incidences of child labor from 23% to 10% and preventing further children in becoming child laborers in the 52 villages of the operational area.

● Ensure 15 rescued child laborers mainstreamed in formal education
o Focused discussion and debate with the out of school children and parents of child laborers. Sangam meetings on child labor issues and move towards pulling them out of the labor sector
o Take appropriate action to re-enroll the child laborers age 11-18 years old in schools
● Ensure one district and one cluster level meeting/interaction with stakeholders to discuss amendment of Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act (CLPRA)/ The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) and other child protection Acts and policies
o Observing anti-child labor day at the district level and cluster level with the participation of panchayat members, District Child Protection Unit(DCPU), Child Welfare Committee(CWC), Juvenile Justice Board(JJB), Panchayat Level Child Protection Committee(PLCPC) and labor department along with the community to sensitize the system officials on the issue
● Ensure 5 out of 32 village Panchayats have resolutions against child protection issues that include one or more for child marriage, child labor, child sexual abuse or child trafficking
● Engagement with the community and newly elected Panchayat leaders and demand for passing of resolutions against child labor / child marriage
● Follow up and engage with the active Village Level Child Protection Committee (VLCPC) to discuss child protection issues and ensure official recognition of the committee with District Child Protection Unit (DCPU)

● 477 community members participated in 25 village Sangam meetings where discussions took place with the out of school children, child laborers’ parents and sangams on child labor issues and move towards pulling them out of labor sector and measures taken to re-enroll the child laborers age 11-18 years old in schools.
● Child labor collective meetings were organized in 18 villages with the participation of 53 children and they discussed the ill effects of labor / loss of childhood and the importance of education.
● One child laborer and two dropouts were successfully re-enrolled in schools by March 2020.
● Six Grama Sabha meetings were held in which village cadres, members and parents participated and ensured resolutions passed regarding erecting solar lamps in migrated palm grooves and child labor re-enrollment, prevention and abolition of child marriage, ensure infrastructure strengthening in Schools and Anganwadis and basic facilities for all villages.
● In Methalodai panchayat Gram Sabha (village meeting), the children collective members submitted petitions for a road facility to school, water tank cleaning, new library and playground for children in their school.
● Mayakulam panchayat resolution passed for improvement of the middle school to high school.
● Narippaiyoor panchayat Grama Sabha resolution was passed for a new government higher secondary school for Narippaiyoor panchayat.
● Seven villages conducted Village Level Child Protection Committee (VLCPC) meetings where the issues of child labor, re-enrollment of dropout children and arrangement of basic school facilities in specific to the respective Panchayats were discussed.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Key Result Area: Child Participation

● Ensure all adolescent members of 11 Children Collectives are taken through the CRY life skills education module focusing on elements of Self-Identity, Self-Confidence building and thinking positive towards finding solutions. Also Awareness and Expression of Emotions and understanding the changes that happen during adolescence will be discussed
● Organize regular meetings of children collectives and initiate sports like Kabaddi, volleyball, football and chess for boys and girls and form girls teams in all the sports and motivate them for representation at district level competitions.
● Ensure members of 10 Adolescent Children Collectives, 9 child labor collectives sensitized and 30 children trained in Karate

● 29 villages conducted children collective meetings in which 405 children actively and regularly participated. In these meetings the following points were discussed with children in detail:
- Continue their education
- Dropout and child labor re-enrollment
- Strengthen the government schools
- Ensure the children’s participation in family.
● 17 children are regular attendees of the supplementary tuition / digital centers. They all have shown improvements at MS paint, MS word and Powerpoint.
● 14 adolescent girls from 4 villages participated in child center module training on self-identity, self-respect and increase of proactive thinking, verbal community skills through games, debates, stories and talks.

Covid Response by RWDS:

● During the lockdown, the partner ensured 653 children received take-home rations from Anganwadi center from June until now. They are being regularly followed and ensured that the ICDS teachers visit the children’s homes.
● 3,209 children who are enrolled in school were ensured of receiving ration provisions as part of the mid-day-meal from the school every month.
● 2,212 families were supported during the months of the initial lockdown through the support of the volunteers and the Palmyra union.
● The team engaged with the panchayat presidents and ensured 1,853 community members received 15 days of work.
● The team also ensured cash support provided to 2,764 families who are engaged in Palmyrah related works through the labor department by the Palmyra union.
● 244 children (116 boys and 128 girls) were regular in participating in all the 15 week sessions.

Case Story:

Child Marriage stopped during the Pandemic Pudhuvalasai is one of the Palmyra workers village in the Mandapam Block, Ramanathapuram District. Mr. Ramadas and Mrs. Annakili are one family residing with their daughter and son in this village. Sneha is 17 years old and Madhava is younger. Sneha completed her 12th Grade in this Covid lockdown period. She wanted to continue her higher studies and received admission to Government Arts College in Ramanathapuram. But her parents planned marriage for her.
The children collective discussed this and brought it to the attention of the community members. The Sangam (community collective) members and the Village Level Child Protection Committee (VLCPC) members met and talked to her parents and told her that she should continue her college education and then get married after finishing college. Her mother replied that due to the loss of livelihood because of the pandemic the family does not have money to spend on education therefore plans to have her marry. The children also went to Sneha and told her not to get married now and that she should continue her studies and motivated her. She was so afraid that her parents will not listen to her and because of the situation that her family is experiencing.
Meanwhile, her parents arranged her marriage for September. On the wedding day, all the preparations for the wedding were being made including the banquet. The VLCPC members decided to report it to the child line and the child line team came at the appropriate time of the wedding day and stopped the marriage and told the parents to keep Sneha safe at home and motivated them to continue her education. The RWDS team counseled the parents that they will support the family in ensuring Sneha applies for a scholarship through which she can study. Now she is very happy and she is enrolled at Government Arts College and looking forward to continuing her studies when the college opens.


Outcome Activities

Goal Area- Education

Regular Program

Reducing the prevalence of dropouts to 20% in the age of 6-18 years old.

● Track all 3,733 children and maintain a data base of children in school once school reopens and follow up on all children to ensure they attend school
● Enrolment campaign focusing on enrolment and retention in the transiting grades to ensure all children are in Anganwadi centers / schools / higher education especially post this lock down when school reopens.

100% cleared 10th Grade and 12th Grade. Pass and enroll for subsequent classes.

● Keeping a close track of children writing board exams and motivating them to reappear for exams and pass the subjects.
● Motivating the children to continue higher education and keeping a close track of them to prevent dropouts.
● Continue evening auxiliary coaching for 14-18 year old children (10th to 12th Grade) in 4 villages on alternative days with the support of the local volunteers with the fixed plan / schedule.

Covid Specific Program

Prevent increase in dropout rates in school due to Pandemic.

● Real time age wise data base of what children in the migrant area and other children doing during the lockdown period / extent of child rights issues and vulnerability.

Prevent increase in dropout rates in school due to Pandemic

● Ensure the children follow classes through online / media channels and support the children through k-yan in following classes in villages.
● Engage with parents to motivate the children to attend the classes regularly and support by allocating time for children to learn through k-yan / Channels

Goal Area- Health

Regular Program

Ensuring regular administration of immunization schedules to children and mothers in ante-natal care and bringing them under safety net

● Engage with community / mothers for immunization schedules for all children below 1 year / 12 months.
● Engage with village health and nutrition and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) teachers to ensure that the children and pregnant and lactating mothers do not miss their immunizations.

Outcome Activities

Goal Area- Nutrition

Covid Specific Program

Ensuring supply of rations through Public Distribution Systems (PDS) shops to all cardholders and Take Home Ration (THR) from the ICDS center to children in the age group of 0-6 years.

● Meeting with communities on safety precautions while visiting PDS shops and ensuring that people get rations on time while maintaining sanitation and hygiene.
● Ensure regular provision of THR and nutritional supplements and other services from ICDS centers to children in the age group 0-6 years.
● Engage with the village duty bearers to ensure families get work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and cash is regularly paid.

Goal Area- Protection

Regular Program

Reducing the prevalence of child labor to 10% in 52 villages in the intervention area

● Motivating child laborers to continue education - sensitizing about the ill effects of working and losing their childhood.
● Focused discussion and debating with the out-of-school children, child laborers’ parents and Sangams (collectives) on child labor issues and move towards pulling them out of the labor sector and measures taken to re-enroll the child laborers in the age group of 11-18 years old in schools.
● Engaging with teachers in enrolling the out-of-school children and speaking to parents / motivating them to stop sending children to work.
● Engaging with the community in organizing VCPCs in villages to curb child labor / ensure provisions of take-home rations in ICDS.
● Engage with the District Child Protection Officers (DCPO) at the district level to issue orders to reinitiate VCPCs in the panchayats.
● Engagement with the community/ Sangams and panchayat leaders and demand for passing of resolutions against child labor / child marriage.

Outcome Activities

Goal Area- Participation

Regular Program

Children engagement through children and adolescent collectives.

Organize adolescent children collective meetings and take them through the themes from CRY Life skills education module-
1. Self-Identity
2. Self Confidence
3. Positive Thinking
4. Finding Solutions
5. Awareness and Expression of Emotions

Engaging with the children during Covid times

● Engaging with the children on creative thinking and enhancing their confidence so that they do not drop out of school and become child laborers through a series of activities developed.
● Provision of activity materials including charts, color pencils, glues, sketches, etc. to 250 children motivating them to participate in the activities regularly.

Total amount disbursed in 2020 - 28,800

Financial Summary: January to December 2021

Budget Breakup 2021










Total Grant Approved