In 2000, Vijayapuram Social Service Society adapted a paradigm shift in strategy and approach to promote services to the cause of rural development and empowerment of the powerless and the deprived sections of the community. The society adapted Animation Thrust as its major focus with participatory and decentralization strategy whereby people are placed at the centre of development. Social Mobilization through People’s Organization and Capability Approach were the main focus of the perspective. We call it a zero budget initiative because Vijayapuram Social Service Society do not invest any amount except meeting the salary and expenses of the Society’s personnel involved. Fund will be raised locally and through laisoning with Government and other local body organizations and private institutions of the area.
Pattumudy Village: Pattumudy is a remote village in Idukki District. The residents mostly were jobless, water and power connections were cut off and medical facilities were withdrawn due to the heavy loss of Eastate. Poverty and starvation hoarded in the families. Children could not be sent to school. People had to travel over 10 kms. to Vandiperiyar to get medical assistance in case of diseases.
Entry into Pattumudy Village: People from Pattumudy approached VSSS for financial support for their food and education of the children. We launched animation programme by name Community Action to Light Life (CALL). ABCD Strategy was applied to convince that sustainable development is possible only if they themselves take initiative and involve creatively. We also promoted family budgeting among the families.
Our prime concentration was on children. The youth were organized to think of their own development and the development of the community. With regular contact and interaction we could make the youth to be at the forefront of every initiative.
We promoted Capability Approach and charted out the capacities and tried to boost up. We received support from other people for tuition for children and venue.
When we prioritized the problems the first thing was to lay a road and had negotiation with the estate owners. Due to the denial of these basic or fundamental amenities, people living here are put in total isolation from the mainstream society. Recently they managed to get duplicate copy of their title deeds from the Registrar Thodupuzha. This indeed was a great achievement in their life. The struggle continues even today to get title of the property they live in. VSSS is always with the people as a catalyzing agent.
Qualitative changes of the intervention: This time the presidentship being reserved for women and there was no women in the ruling party except Ms.Parajyothi, she was elected the president. This was a turning point for the community in Pattumudy. Through her effort a road was laid from K.K.Road to Pattumudy top and electric line was drawn. A proposal was laid under watershed programme for a water supply scheme. A pond was dug, pump house installed, overhead tank constructed and pipes were laid to Pattumudy. When they had each achievement, they celebrated it with VSSS personnel as special invitee.
Presently there are people employed in private firms and companies. Three youth are pursuing graduate courses.
The spectrum of reach/coverage such as types of people’s structure/institutions created: There are one Balavedi, one Youth Club, two SHGs (one of women and one of Men). These structures are active and continue Social Mobilisation as well as Financial Intermediation process. Recently the Youth Club and both SHGs together could manage to get a Bus Stop and construct a waiting shed on K.K.Road.
The longevity generated within the community through this change: To the credit of the initiative there is a member from Pattumudy in the Panchayat in all the subsequent elections. The present ward member in the Peermade panchayat Ms.Prameela Raja is from Pattumudy, through whose support development initiatives gain momentum.
The feasibility of replicating such initiatives: This initiative had prompted us to take up such liberative actions in Dam Top Village Idukki, Kanichattupara in Kothamangalam, Poovam of Paipadu Panchayat and Thukalasserry of Thiruvalla Municipality. We are happy and proud to state that several people and organizations visit Pattumudy to interact with the people of the process they had initiated for such a sustainable development plan. They certainly appreciate and congratulate VSSS for the creative interventions.
By VSSS team