1. Children’s Clubs
Catalyzing the all-round development of children has always occupied a prominent place in Santhigram’s programs. This activity was carried on through the Balavedi (Children’s Forum). Children’s clubs called ‘Kuttikottams’ were formed and facilitated. There are currently 30 Kuttikoottams, with a total strength of 625 children. Every week the clubs meet for various activities, including group study and learning, sports and games, cultural performances, community services, like planting and taking care of trees and medicinal plants. Support groups, consisting of elders, have been formed with a view to providing guidance and support.
The children celebrate days of national importance and anniversary. They also have holiday camps and study tours. The child development interventions of Santhigram have inspired a philanthropic group to donate learning aids for distribution among 150 deserving children.
The cumulative result of these endeavors has been the creation of a new wave of enthusiasm among the children from poor families to study and develop their talents.
2. Women’s Empowerment
Santhigram has promoted around 200 women’s SHGs and three federations of SHGs, which are functioning well in Kanjiramkulam, Karumkulam and Kottukal Grama Panchayats.
Women’s SHGs have been coordinated under Panchayat level Federations. Women’s economic self-reliance has been promoted through self-employment undertakings.
Under the ‘Women Development Program’, supported by Andheri Hilfe,Bonn, Santhigram has been implementing programs of capacity building, including EDP, social marketing, financial management, accountancy, SHG management, leadership development, child development, watershed management, bio-farming etc. for the members of women’s SHGs and their federations. More than 1100 families benefit from these programs.
3. Holistic Health Care & Research Center (SHCRC)
Santhigram has been running a Holistic Health Care & Research Center (Acupressure, Acupuncture, Reiki, Su Jok, Yoga, Meditation, Nature Cure, Suryayog, Counseling and guidance etc.) in collaboration with premier alternative health care institutions, such as the Jai Bhagwan Acupressure Service (International), Mumbai, Swasthya-Centre for Alternative Treatment and Research, Mumbai, Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai, International Su Jok Therapy Association/Su jok Therapy Centre, Jaipur, Suryayog Foundation. Scores of people suffering from diverse ailments from far and near make use of the services in this center for meeting their health care needs.
A solid foundation has been laid for healthy alternative approaches to living. Santhigram maintains a herbarium with thousands of plants belonging to 148 species and thousands of seedlings have been distributed to the villagers. Santhigram has facilitated the production and marketing of a dozen of herb-based ayurvedic products for the treatment of common ailments.
Santhigram has also published and circulated a number of booklets and handouts on the importance of medicinal plants and alternative/holistic health care.
4. SAMAGRA-Holistic Health Promotion Council
Santhigram initiated a movement for promoting holistic health practices and sustainable development – SAMAGRA- Holisitc Health Promotion Council during 2006.
SAMAGRA acts as a forum/network for coordination of practitioners of different systems of medicine, health care practices and indigenous healing systems for the realization of understanding and interaction among different healing systems and other health practices and to promote the same.
5. Tsunami Rehabilitation
Santhigram functions as a partner of the Tsunami Rehabilitation Programs of Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai, along with CARE Trust, Kanyakumari and ANAWIM Trust, Thiruchendur. As part of capacitating the tsunami-affected people to become self-reliant in health care and treatment of common ailments, Santhigram conducted awareness and training sessions in the Kanyakumari- Kulachal coastal villages, on the value, cultivation and use of medicinal plants, home remedies, preparation of herbal medicines, bio-farming, bio-pesticide preparation, kitchen gardening etc. Exposure visits also were conducted.
As a part of this project, a Training of Trainers (ToT) in Holistic Health Care Systems and Practices was held at Asha Sadan, Vagamon, Kottayam. The first phase of the program was from 16th to 22nd June 2008 and a refresher course was conducted from 10 to 16 November 2008. The Training was meant for health volunteers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who would like to work in villages for ensuring health for all. Subjects covered in the ToT included holistic health vision, anatomy, treatment and care, basic principles and approaches of different health care systems as well as their scope and limitations. Practical sessions in Acupressure, Sujok, Reiki, Naturopathy, Yoga, Meditation, home remedies and first aid were also conducted. A team of resource persons, including Dr. Mercy Muricken, Dr. V. Vijaya Kumar, General Secretary, SAMAGRA – Holistic Health Promotion Council and Santhigram Holistic Health Care and Research Centre, facilitated the sessions.
The second phase of the TOT was conducted for the formation of the “People’s Movement for Holistic Heath Care”. The 8-day TOT, conducted from 3-10 February 2009 at Ashasadan, Vagamon, for the benefit of newly selected community health workers (CHWs) in Tamilnadu and Kerala, marked the meeting of a long-felt need of rural health workers in the two states, who wanted to have a comprehensive understanding of the health care scenario and develop the vision and skills for addressing the health needs of rural poor people in a holistic and economic way. It goes to the credit of the organizers of the program that this need has been adequately met as a result of the appropriate inputs and processes of the TOT. A number of themes were handled during the sessions and a wide variety of methods were employed for conveying the message of promoting holistic health as well as imparting the required basic skills. At the end of the program the participants and organizers decided to form a network called ‘People’s Action Network for Holistic Health Care’ and developed the vision, mission, strategy and programs of the network.
Micro credit support
Rs. 2. 5 Lakh micro credit support has been given to 100 fish vending women in the Grama Panchayat of Karumkulam through Trivandrum Costal Development Society (TCDS).
6. Eco-Conservation / NRM
The ‘Santhigram School of Ecology’ functions for promoting environment education, research and action. The organization is involved in the promotion of organic farming/ medicinal plants/kitchen garden in three Panchayats through SHGs and organic farmers associations.
Bio-farming methods are being successfully followed by scores of farmers and the model plots have created demand for such initiatives in other areas. Environment-enriching practices, such as rainwater harvesting, soil conservation, medicinal plant cultivation, bio-farming etc. have been inculcated in a significant section of the local population. Other achievements in this field include facilitation of 30 organic demonstration farms, digging more than 50,000 rain pits, emergence of over 400 homestead herbal gardens. Bio-farming is practiced in 11.5 hectares. Contour bunding has been done for 6000 meters. There are Associations of bio-farmers in 3 Panchayats (Kottukal, Kanjiramkulam and Karumkulam).
7. Roof water harvesting / Ferro-cement water tank
Santhigram, with the support of CAPART, Rural Development Ministry, Govt. of India, has completed 50 roof water harvesting units for the benefit of 50 poor families in the Grama Panchayats of Kottukal, Kanjiramkulam, Karumkulam, Athiyannoor and Kulathoor. These storage tanks, with capacity of holding 10,000 liters of rain water, and constructed using the ferro-cement technology, have come as a great relief to the families living in areas and experiencing acute drinking water shortage.
8. Vocational / Employment Training
With the support of FVTF/FVTRS Bangalore, Govt. Poly Technique College Neyyattinkara & Jan shikshan sansthan, Thiruvanthapuram the organization has trained more than 450 women and men in various employment-oriented skills in welding, Two wheeler Mechanism, home appliance repair & mechanism, assembling of electronic chock, Three& four wheeler driving, tailoring & embroidery, aluminum Fabrication, computer hardware maintenance, book-binding, screen printing and paper bag making, preparation of herbal medicine, poultry & live stock management. More than 50% of the trained are either self- employed or have found employment.
9. Income Generating Activities/ IGP
SwarajVillageIndustriesCenterprovides employment to around 300 people, 90 percent of them being women. Training is provided in village industries and micro enterprises for women and people belonging to weaker sections.
Santhigram is facilitating production units by women’s groups, in areas, such as ayurvedic products, food processing, herbal medicines, herbal soaps, candles, emergency lamps, electronic choke, handloom clothes, providing employment and income to scores of poor unemployed women
Santhigram has set up a Rural Marketing Service Centre to market eco-friendly rural products.
10. Santhigram Institute of Information Technology (Santhigram IIT)
From April 2005 onwards, Santhigram has been operating an Information Technology Centre at Chappath with the technical support of ITEC, for providing advanced computer training for economically backward rural youth at subsidized cost. Presently, the Centre runs two coursers – one year Diploma in Computer Application (DCA) and one year Computer Teachers’ Training Course (CTTC). Total annual cost of these courses is Rs. 1250 per student, including examination fee. So far 400 students have completed the course and 100 of them have secured job. Currently, there are 90 students undergoing training in this Centre.
11. Sustainable Development of SC people in the Coastal villages
As part of the AICP Scheme under Science & Society Division of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India and in partnership with Mitraniketan, another innovative project, titled “Sustainable Development of SC people in the Coastal villages of Laksham Veedu and Chinnanvila in Kottukal Panchayat of Thiruvananthapuram District” has been sanctioned for a period of three years.
Awareness programs, trainings for capacity building, participatory studies, strengthening of community-based organizations, vocational training programs, production units, social audit etc. are the major activities under the project.
12. Helping the Poor
Santhigram has made substantial contributions towards the welfare of the poor and the destitute, including poor children, poor women, widows and sick people. In connection with the Onam celebrations, in collaboration with Indian Red Cross Society, Santhigram arranged distribution of Onam Kits to selected poor families, which included rice and dress.
In another instance, Santhigram mobilized local resources, under a fund called “Snehanidhi” for giving educational support, including text books and uniforms,
to the poorest children.
In the health care sector, Santhigram has provided relief from acute and chronic diseases to the poor by arranging free medical camps and treatment. On special occasions Santhigram arranges free food for the needy families. Santhigram has also arranged community-based rehabilitation of mentally and physically challenged people by providing wheelchair, crutches etc. Santhigram identifies the destitute women and children and arranges for the security in short-stay and shelter homes run by other institutions.
Santhigram has been facilitating the Kerala and Tamil Nadu Swaraj Projects, which are part of the National Forum for Gandhian Societal Perspective and Action, led by Peaceful Society,Goa, with 20 partners in eleven districts of Kerala and eight partners in three districts of Tamil Nadu. Santhigram was in charge of the coordination/facilitation of two river protection campaigns: ‘Save Idukki Campaign’ and Save Chaliyar Campaign’.
Santhigram provided facilitation of Participatory Strategic Planning (PSP) in 345 villages in 11 districts. The organization has also provided moral support to people’s actions/campaigns for protecting natural resources. Santhigram promoted/facilitated POs and PDOs in six districts of Kerala. The facilitation role of Santhigram came to an end in October, 2005.
The organization has established linkages and is networking with scores of like-minded organizations and movements at local, state, national and international levels. The ‘PanchayatirajInformationCenter’ for providing information and training to PRI members, social workers and the public is another innovation of Santhigram.
Santhigram is one of the founder-members of the State level network of Voluntary Organizations, called, Kerala Voluntary Agencies League (KAVAL). Santhigram Director functions as the General Secretary of KAVAL. Santhigram is one of the founders of the State level network of FVT in Kerala, named ‘ADHWANA’-Forum of Partners of Functional Vocational Training.
Santhigram is a member of Confederation of NGOs of Rural India (CNRI) and an accredited member of ‘Credibility Alliances’. Santhigram is also one of the founders of the National network of FVT inIndianamed ‘SPiN’ (National Skill Promotion NetworkIndia). Director of Santhigram is the Treasurer.
15. Madavoor Gram Panchayat Jagratha Samithi
Santhigram was one among the few voluntary organizations selected by the Kerala Women’s Commission /SDC-CapDecK for providing management support to the Jagratha Samithi Projects implemented in selected Panchayats. Santhigram’s mission in this area was started in Madavoor Grama Panchayat, where the organization played a key role in the formation, capacitation and facilitation of the Panchayat level Jagratha Samithi. Training has been provided in leadership development, group management as well as project management to the members of the Jagratha Samithi, Panchayath members and the leaders of women’s groups. In addition, a path-breaking participatory study on the ‘status of women’ was conducted in the Panchayat. Also a handbook on the operationalization of the Jagratha Samithi has been prepared and published.
16. Panchayat Empowerment Project in Ajanur Gram Panchayath, Kasaragod
Santhigram facilitated a program, titled ‘Grama Jyothi Holistic Development Project’, implemented by Ajanoor Grama Panchayat in Kasaragod District and supported by SDC-CapDecK, with the core purpose of enabling the Panchayat to prepare a Master Plan and an Approach Paper to be incorporated into the 11th Plan 2006-2007. Santhigram’s role was to assist the Panchayath to conduct participatory studies about the development problems and needs of the Panchayath as well as local resources and prepare Resource Map. Santhigram facilitated the formation and effective functioning of the Panchayat and ward level Jagratha Samithies promoted by the Kerala Women’s Commission, with a view to prevent atrocities against women and girl children. Santhigram also helped the Panchayat to revive sustainable agricultural practices among the farmers by organizing Organic Farmers’ Association and giving them training.
17. Panchayat-to-Panchayat study and cooperation Program
In partnership with SDC-CapDecK, Santhigram facilitated a program of interaction between the Grama Panchayat of Ajanur in Kasaragod district in Kerala and Bondhi Grama Panchayat in Bidar district in Karnataka. Under the scheme, a team of three elected representatives, of whom one was a woman, from Ajanur Panchayat visited Bondhi G.P. and a similar team from Bondhi G.P. visited Ajanur G.P. The visits and the interactions have led to deeper understanding of issues faced by the Panchayats and the strategies and methods used for resolving them. Five representatives of Ajanur Grama Panchayat and four representatives of Bondhi Grama Panchayat have benefited from this program.
18. Counseling and guidance centre
A counseling and guidance centre with trained and experienced staff is functioning in Santhigram, aimed at building strong family relationships and bodily as well as mental balance. Sub-centers are functioning in Vizhinjam, Venganoor and Poovar. Panchayat level campaigns are also held.
Sri B. Devadas Rao (Devababa) Guruji of Shri Shakti Darsan Yogashram Kinnigoli, D.K, Karnataka, gifted two indigenous cows and a bull of Kapila breed to Santhigram. Guruji himself inaugurated the Gosala.
20. Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)
Govt. of India MHRD National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has recognized the following courses conducted by Santhigram:
Cutting, Tailoring and Dress making (1 year), Computer Hardware, Assembling and Maintenance ( 6 months), Certificate in Computer Application (1 year), Basic computing (6 months), Computer and office application (6 months)