The People’s Social Development Foundation (PSDF) was created in 1999 by a self motivated group of intellectuals. They wanted to answer to the lack of interest given by the state and mainstream development agencies to the districts of Cuddalore and Villupuram, both in the Tamil Nadu region, even though they are considered to be among the poorest areas of the state. PSDF was set up to tackle some of the challenges the region has to face.
It focuses on helping slum dwellers, dalits as well as poor women and their children.
PSDF aims to:
- support the women community to express their needs and empower them in their overall development through Self Help Group’s,
- develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes of youths, women and children through formal and non-formal education and child development programs,
- participate in raising the awareness of the local population to work for a more equal society where people are not segregated against because of their sex, caste, religion or political view,
- promote education, welfare and social security for the downtrodden people,
- bring economic self-reliance among the people below the poverty line in rural areas, by motivating them to take income generation self-employment ventures through economically viable, eco-friendly and agro based small-scale industries.
After starting with opening 3 crèches with their personal money, PSDF has expanded their actions. It now receives support from the state Social Welfare Board. It has 4 main ongoing programs:
- Crèches for poor working mothers: PSDF has 10 crèches which each takes care of 25 children from 1 to 5 years old. Lunch is provided to the children and mothers can just drop them off in the morning and pick them up in the evening. This ensures that the children are taken care of while their parents work and that both of the parents can work.
Therefore, it contributes to increasing the people’s livelihoods.
- Self-help groups (SHG) for women: PSDF supports the creation of SHGs in order to promote saving habits and entrepreneurial skills among the women and to free them from the clutches of the local money lenders. This program has given them self esteem in a culture which limits them to chores of the home. It has also helped them escape the clutches of moneylenders. PSDF’s micro credit plan has already touched 5000 women through its 170 SHG.
- Counselling for women: PSDF has one Family Counselling centre for women to encourage them to talk about their problems and help them solve them. Created in 2007, this centre reaches out to an average of 500 women every year.
- Dalit and women empowerment: Different vocational courses are put into place by PSDF on a regular basis to enhance their beneficiaries’ income generating activity potentials. These include: tailoring training, batik training, vermi-compost training… PSDF has already trained more than 1000 women in tailoring and reached out to more than 50 000 women through their awareness program.
PSDF employs 5 people in their office, 20 crèche workers and has 50 volunteer Self-help group leaders.
PSDF is one of the historical partners of Planète Urgence in India. The partnership exists since 2010. PSDF’s initial demands were for training courses in animation/pedagogy as well as first aid for their crèche workers. Between 2010 and 2013, 5 volunteers have transferred their skills to PSDF’s crèche workers (2 in animation and pedagogy and 3 in first aid).