Thanal - Integrated Village Development Programme

The reports of numerous tribal infant deaths in Attappady during April 2013 prompted noble souls from many parts of the world to take giant initiatives to set things right for the tribes of Attappady. From one such initiative, an integrated development programme for 17 tribal villages in Sholayur panchayat was started. Members of the Indian Council of Science, Technology and Environment at UAE encouraged Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission to start this project with their financial support. The project was named “Thanal” – a shade for people in distress. The project envisaged a people centric development programme for the tribes, of the tribes and by the tribes. A participatory model of development was drawn up for the project. Development in all spheres like health, education, agriculture and livelihood, culture, environment, human rights etc are essential for it to be sustainable. We hope to achieve this in the selected villages with the whole hearted participation the people.

Thanal was inaugurated by magician of international repute Sri Gopinath Muthukad on 15TH August 2013 at a grand ceremony. District Collector of Palakkad Sri Ali Asghar Pasha presided over the meeting. Members of ICSTE-UAE, villagers from selected villages of Sholayur panchayat and workers of Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission participated in large numbers in the inaugural function.

Proposed activities are

Health : General and Specialty Medical camps, appointment of Village Health Workers, Health Awareness programmes, promotion of hygienic practices, motivation for De-addiction, identification of patients with chronic illnesses and care of pregnant mothers, under-five children and the elderly.

Education: Educational Resource Centres will be formed which will function over the weekends School going children will attend these centres and will be given inputs on basic education, science, culture and morals. The centre will have a teacher to impart value based education and provide motivation to students for achieving higher goals. A library and a computer will be attached to the centre. Support for educational materials, higher education etc can be coordinated at the centre. Identification of school drop outs and encouraging them to appear in open school examination for the selected classes will also be part of the programme.

Empowerment: Economic development and empowerment through formation of self help groups, farmers groups, vocational training, promotion of traditional agriculture and development better cultivation of vegetables and medicinal plants. The village committees will be provided training in improving access to governmental schemes and facilities, agricultural practices and health and hygiene. The village committees will be the key players in decision making and implementing all the activities of the project.

Culture: Promotion of tribal culture, community practices, arts, dance and folklore. Training programmes in tribal art forms for the youth will be planned.

Environment: The protection and promotion of the environment in this ecologically sensitive region will be taken up as part of the project. Planting and conservation of trees, prevention of use of harmful plastics and enrichment of water sources are the key areas identified as part of the project.

Living conditions: There are governmental schemes to provide housing, drinking water, electricity and other amenities to the tribal population of this area. But lack of coordination between different departments and schemes has led to deficiencies in basic amenities in many villages. We plan to coordinate with different departments and people’s representatives in order to bring in many such facilities to the tribal villages.

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) programmes have been held in all the selected villages. Socio-economic survey has been completed in all villages and analysis of findings is being carried out. Village Committees have been formed in all the villages. Meetings of farmers, self help groups etc has been planned in the coming months.

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