Background of the Organization:

SDD started functioning in 10 villages through non-formal education programmes in the year 1983. It was officially registered in the year 1989. The main objective of SDD is "To help the Dalits to help themselves". Through its intensive educational and organizational efforts, SDD is able to extend its activities to 40 villages, which are situated in 3 panchayat union - Peranamallur, Chetpet and Thellar of Tiruvannamalai District. In these villages SDD has formed Ambedkar Women's Associations for Dalit youth and has assisted these associations to federate under the banner of "Rural Women's Self-Reliant Movement".

This movement addresses the issues of Dalits pertaining to their basic needs like drinking water, housing, burial ground, transportation, schools and primary health centres. It also addresses issues related minimum wages and social discrimination. In order to effectively take up these issues SDD is training regularly groups of young people in legal education, leadership skills and social analysis. SDD also trained a group of young women and men in street theatre skills and formed a street theatre group, which goes around the villages performing street theatre programmes, which serve as an effective medium of communication with the people. When SDD realized that without the participation of youth one couldn't succeed in solving the problems of the community. From the year 1999 SDD has involved itself in educating and organizing the Dalit youth in the villages. Through these initiatives so far it has formed youth associations in 10 villages where the youth actively participate in Development issues of their village communities. The youth groups have also taken up step to join the young girls to taken up saving and credit schemes in 5 villages. The young women have been trained in legal issues and community health issues with an emphasis on traditional medical practices.

Every year SDD is training a group of 60 students both boys and girls who are from a very poor background and give them special coaching to complete their High School studies. They are from the 9th standard and are aged 14 to 15 years. During these coaching classes they are also given the skill education to prepare them to take up development activities in future in their respective village communities.

Background of the Project Holder:

M. Manavalan, the President of Society for the Development of the Depressed (SDD), studied at Aringar Anna Government Arts College, Cheyyar. As a student he was an active member and office bearer of the College students Forum. He worked with the Community Development Programme (CODEP). In 1987 he initiated an informal group of young people. He utilized non-formal education programmes as an entry point to work with the Dalits in 10 villages of Peranamallur Panchayat Union of Tiruvannamalai District. He was one of the founding members of SDD in 1989. In the year 1992 he became a member of the Social Action Groups in South Arcot District. He was the executive Committee member of SAG representing North Arcot District region from 1989 - 93. During this period he had wider exposure to rural development initiatives and acquired enriching experience. In 1995 organized a street theatre troupe of SDD, which toured in target villages. In 1998 he became a member of Northeastern Tamil Nadu Cluster - Chinglepet and also member of ADECOM Network - Pondicherry. He was also instrumental in initiating a United Front of the Dalit Movements in Tamilnadu, which is jointly taking up the Human Rights issues of Dalits.

Our Experience:

SDD, since its inception in 1989, has carried out various Action, Welfare/ Development programmes for the rural poor people of our area who are destitute in all respects of their lives due to illiteracy and ignorance. SDD’s team has visited its target villages and organised the rural mass to Form in to groups for their own development through collective and unified Approach. SDD has promoted 20 rural women’s associations in its target area through Constant dialogues and discussions with them in order to eradicate illiteracy among these people. SDD has started Non-Formal Education centres in 20 Villages with an intention of infusing in them the learning skills to make them Aware of the day-to-day development in society as well as in the nation.

So far 450 villagers have been benefited in 3 years. They now become able to read newspapers, sign their signatures instead of laying their left hand thumb impression on valuable documents and records. The financial constrains prevailing in SDD resist it to expand this programmes to other target villages.

SDD has conducted medical camps in 10 villages through which more than 1965 rural people were benefited by health check up and proper treatment on common ailments with the co-operation local Government Medical personal.

To create awareness on proper usage of safe water and to avoid water borne diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, etc., awareness camps on drinking water were conducted in 10 villages.

SDD normally and regularly used to visit its target villages and conduct awareness camps for rural mass on the topics of:

  • Education, Social Structure, Culture
  • Politics
  • Income Generation
  • Socio – Economic Development
  • Environment
  • Ecology
  • Agriculture
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Co-Operative Enterprises
  • Small Savings

The Director as well as the staff members of SDD used to attend the seminars, workshops, orientation courses, refresher courses, functional literacy, and training programmes conducted by Government as well as non-governmental institutions to gain improved knowledge and skills for its activities. SDD has gained capability of implementing any kind of action/welfare/development programmes, which are focused towards upliftment of rural poor and disadvantaged people.

To lift the downtrodden in this way, we welcome your suggestions, contributions and financial support.

Staff Structure:

One Director,
One Programme Co-Ordinator,
2 Women Co-Ordinator,
2 Youth Co-Ordinator,
40 Part Time Village Animators,
One Accountant and One Office Assistant.

Existing Infrastructure:

1. Training Centre
2. Computer, Printer, E-Mail, and Internet
3. Resource Persons
4. Cooking Vessels
5. Video, Tape Recorder, and Training Materials
6. Two Wheeler
7. Library

Training Attended by the organisation:

1. Human Resource Development
2. Teachers Orientation Training
3. Trainers of Trainers (TOT)
4. Resource Mobilisation Training
5. Group formation
6. Accountancy
7. Computer Operation



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