Programs

Past Programs

During the 1970s, 1980s and continuing into early 1990s, polio was hyper endemic in India, with 200,000 to 400,000 children being afflicted with poliomyelitis.
The Residential Rehabilitation Centre for Orthopedically Handicapped and Destitute Children at Chennai was started as a special project during the International Year of the Disabled Persons 1981. The aim was to bring in polio affected and orthopedically handicapped children from remote villages, provide all possible surgical and physical therapy interventions and prepare them to lead as normal as possible a life back in their family and school environment. Children underwent multiple corrective surgeries and a well-equipped Physiotherapy unit was functional within the campus.
To ensure their continuity of education during treatment period a special school was also run within the campus. Even after discharge from our Rehabilitation Centre every child who was in need was provided with an educational sponsorship to continue its education.
During this project period …………. Children from all over Tamil Nadu received this therapy. We were happy to close this Centre in the year …….. when India as a Country did a great job of eliminating the spread of polioviruses among children through vaccination.           
ICCW, TN set up the Balasevika Training Institutes at Chennai in 1962 and a rural centre at Tirunelvelli in Munanjipatti village with hostel facilities in the year 1980 with a funding support from Government of India.
These Centres were started in a period when the importance of early childhood education and its impact on the physical and mental development of a child had not received its due priority.
The core objectives of the programme were training 100 child care workers/ year in early childhood education, health, nutrition, communication, welfare and community development. In-service training of workers, representatives of other NGOs and conducting trainings & workshops on parenting skills and other aspects of child development were all carried out.
The trainees were generally women from weaker sections of society in the age group 18-35 years with a minimum qualification for 10th standard. Post training, they were placed in different agencies for their block placement. Over 90% of the trainees have found suitable employment.
All together 40000 women mostly from rural Tamil Nadu received this training and as trained workers most of them got jobs as NGO run BalwadiCentres or in Government run ICDS Centres. Due to change in Government Welfare Schemes funding support for this Centre was stopped and we had to close down this centre in the year 1997.                   
The problem of street & working children assumed alarming proportion in the city of Chennai in in the eighties & nineties. Majority of the children in the streets were from rural poor who had run-away from home or coming from home less migrant families.
They lived in a state of poverty and deprivation and was forced to earn for their own survival often engaging themselves in some kind of work and was continuously exposed to anti-social elements.
ICCWTN provided valuable services to these category of children in the City of Chennai from …………. To ……………. And had covered more than ……………… children with the funding support from Central & State governments its Project for street & working Children
Some of the services provided:
• Conducted non –formal education Centres in ……….. different places , offered counseling services , main streamed younger children back to formal schools in age appropriate classes, provided unifoms, books, and other educational aids.
• For older children offered mentorship services, protected them from being exploited at work place; provided night shelter.
• We tried and established links with their families and encouraged them to go back to their families or at least remain in contact with them.          
THE ACT OF KILLING THE GIRL BABY AT BIRTH – FEMALE INFANTICIDE, was a practice prevalent among a non migrant community of Usilampattiin Tamil Nadu. Initially it was believed to be an aberration present among people in that part of Tamil Nadu alone. But later the studies revealed the presence of such practices among other communities too especially in Salem,Dharmapuri, and Namakkal districts.
Cultural compulsion to have a son and the social customs and liabilities attached to a daughter along with poverty situation were found to be the root cause for such practices.
Dowry at the time of marriage, marriage expenses and the numerous other expenses on auspicious occasions thereafter, places a great deal of financial burden on the family which results in the girl child being seen as an economic liability.
ICCWTN was the earliest organization that took up this issue and started its fight against the practice of female infanticide. The project was launched in 1988, jumpstarted by an article in a magazine, ~India Today| which highlighted the abominable incidence of Female Infanticide in Usilampatti.
We believed in working with the community rather than pointing fingers at them.
• Offering counselling to pregnant women and other members of the family
• Support for girl child’s education
• Gender sensitization and other life skill training; and vocational trainings offered to all adolescent girls in the community.
• Special sensitization trainings for the youth and school going children.
• Economic and social empowerment of women of the community through Self Help Groups (SHG)
The project initially started in 36 villages had grown to 309villages.
The impact was tremendous – School dropout was curtailed and girl children continued their education
In all our programs the children of the village took oath that they will not resort tothis practice when they become adults.
Women of the village had put up board in their villages warning against resort to such practices
Women & youth of the village acted as informers and reported the matter to us or to the authorities whenever there was an apprehension of a family resorting to commit female infanticide. This helped in saving the girl babies.
More than 14000 Women participated in SHG program, became economically more powerful when their group savings reached more than 12 crores and loans from NationalisedBanks , NABARD, and etc were made available to them through our efforts.
Preventing Female infanticide in Salem and Dharmapuri Districts
In 1995, the Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, commissioned a study on declining sex ratio and the problem of Female infanticide in Salem District of Tamil Nadu. The Study reported that 8 out of 10 villages surveyed that “sex ratio at infant deaths showed a very disturbing pattern with female deaths three times greater than male death”.
Impressed by our achievement in our fight against female infanticide in Usilampatti&Chellampatti Blocks of Madrai District the Honourable High Court of Chennai directed some funds available in a particular case to be channeled to ICCW TN to work towards preventing female infanticide and sex selective abortion in Salem and Dharmapuri districts.
The primary objectives of the programme was
  • Prevention of female infanticide and sex selective abortions.
  • Creation of a network of voluntary agencies and community based organizations for protecting the rights of women and girl children
  • Work towards convergence of services.
In all our the advocacy and training programmes emphasis was given to the concept of gender equality and protection of the rights of a girl child. The project commenced in 2003 and concluded in March 2006.
CHILD LABOUR
“Born to parents who themselves were uneducated child workers, many child worker are forced to continue a tradition that leaves them chained to a life of poverty” (ILO, United States Policies to Address Child labour Globally, 2010).
In Tamil Nadu, Virudhunagar District partially “Sivakasi” is the Match and Fire Works Industries belt in the State. They supplied their products to whole of India and to other countries too. However it has also become infamous for employing children in this hazardous industry. This flourishing multi crore industry at one point of tome was dependent on more than 80% of the labour put in by children below 14 years.
The long hours of work, the exploitative working conditions, the piece rate wage structure, the essential risks in handling hazardous chemicals and the loss of educational opportunity, to children marked the industry as one of the worst exploiters of child labour. It is against this back drop, that the Council started its work in Srivilliputhur in the year 1992 in a very small scale.
The Council realized that “the endeavour to eliminate child labour in the match industry must address the problem from multiple dimensions through an inter-sectoral approach” as often stated by Mr. R. Vidyasagar an eminent Expert on the issue of Child Labour and Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, Chennai
ICCW TN launched the ‘action programme on child labour’ in 1992. Supported by ILO.
  • The action taken was tailored to the specific needs of different sections of children –* non formal education centres *creative learning centres, *an open school, * a forum for working children, * school enrollment campaigns, * youth groups distribution of books and uniforms, * Village Education Development Committees and * Women Self Help Groups. Initially, the Council started work on a very small scale, in 10 villages and later expanded to cover all the 110 villages in the Srivilliputhur block.
  • School Enrolment ; retention Oof children in the schools; and prevention of school drop outs became critical watch words. The Village Education Development Committee (VEDC) was formed in every village in the project area with public stake holders such as elected local body members, school teachers, SHGmembers, social workers &etc as members. They have been entrusted with a small capital amount ranging from Rs.3000/- to Rs.10,000/from which they can give interest free loans to marginalised families in the village to cover their educational expences.
As the programme started taking effect, the number of working children gradually reduced in the focus areas. The Council however found that rehabilitation of children who had worked as child labourers and had completed 10 years of schooling, became a constraint, as many joined the textile mills as daily labourers and some went back to the match industry. The decision to start a Community College was born out of the realization that the young adolescents must be given vocational and life-skill training so that they are able to become gainfully employed in the present day market economy.           
ICCW TN began working in and around the beedi industry in Vellore in 1985, to tackle bonded child labour. The beedi industry during the eighties employed a lot of child labour, as children were found to be dexterous in rolling beedies leading to economic exploitation by the beedi makers.
The Council in its initial research also unraveled the appalling practice that children were working under agents and middlemen and had been pledged to them by their parents for as little as Rs 5000. Most parents pledged their children to the agent out of economic necessity and the absence of a credit system at the village level.
In 1986, the Beedi industry was declared hazardous and has been prohibited by the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986. However the practice of employing children for rolling beedis continued in the district.
With the help of a grant from the Ministry of Labour, ICCW TN started a Child Labour Relief Centre at Vellore for children working in the beedi factory.
An innovative idea of ‘buying out’ the bonded children was tried, by paying up the loans to the contractors and freeing the children with a pre-condition to parents that children must be allowed to go to school.
To prevent rebondage of the children and to help them go to school, women’s self help groups were formed for economic support. In 1991-92 on an experimental basis, the Council initiated the Vanjiyar Mothers society, a credit cum saving society with 32 members. ICCW TN contributed Rs 5000 as its share and encouraged women to save and circulate credit in the society. All these efforts drastically increased credit worthiness of the families and prevented them from getting into bonded labour situations.
On the educational front the emphasis has been to ensure optimum enrolment, and to bring down school drop-out rates.Non formal educational facilitiescreated for illiterate child workers. Crèches ,non formal schools, supplementary schools,were all started. Village level Education Development Committees wereformed with resource to lend money to parents to meet the educational expences of their children. Parents groups and children’s groups were formed to protect their rights. The Council also coordinated with the administrative and law enforcing agencies to intervene in cases, where a child was being pledged, highlight the abuse, the exploitation and take appropriate action.
Till 2005, we continued to work in 16 villages for eradicating child labour in the Beedi sector. We have released 108 pledged children and have mainstreamed 2457 working children in the area. Due to ICCW TN’s intense campaign the State enforcement machinery also kept its vigil and the practice of pledging children were completely abolished.          
In the early 80s, Chennai had a large number of children working under hazardous conditions, forced to eke out a living due to poverty, ignorance, Illiteracy and poor family situations. Most of them were school dropouts and some had never been to school. They were engaged in various organized/unorganized sectors like teashops, hotels, mechanic sheds, market places, go-down etc. They also earned their wages as rag pickers, beggars, vegetable collectors in markets and as domestic servants.
In order to ensure that these children their right to education, the Community Development wing of Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board in collaboration with the Chennai based voluntary organizations launched a Child Labour Elimination project in 1997. The Council was one among the partner agencies that runs transit schools.
Child labourers were removed from their work situations and enrolled into Transit schools for a 12 months period. The curriculum in these Transit Schools was specially designed to help later accommodate the children in formal schools suitable to their age and learning capacity by covering four levels of every three months.
The Council managed two transit schools and also monitored 3 other schools run by other voluntary organizations.          
In 2004, The Council accepted an invitation from E.LECERC, a French importer of textiles and their local Suppliers’ Alliance for Social Initiative (CASI) to be a partner in their efforts to build a quality school, The Navjeevan School, Panchamadevi for the children of Karur District, a major textile centre in the State of Tamil Nadu
The key objectives of the project involves providing quality and relevant education through developmentally appropriate activities to children from under privilege communities, prevent school dropout, create awareness among the community to understand the needs of the children, and also provide skill based education to children above 15 years of age.
The Navjeevan School commenced as a nursery and primary school in 2005 with a total strength of 101 children from Kindergarten to Class I. The school expanded rapidly to Class VI in 2006, Class VII in 2007, Class VIII in 2008 and Class IX in 2009 respectively. The school received approval from the Directorate of Matriculation schools to conduct classes up to class X school and is now functioning as a high school. The school has incorporated new approaches to imparting quality education such the participatory based system of teaching and learning, preparation of lesion plans and appropriate use of teaching methodologies and resources centre materials for first generation learners. The school is equipped with all basic amenities essential for school such as science, math and computer labs, playground with necessary play equipments and a full-fledged resource center to enable learning a joyful experience and well equipped library.          
 The Council has also undertaken innovative development initiatives since 1996 such as strengthening the Corporation Primary School situated at Brick Kiln Road, Otteri, the Sami Mudali School at Periamentand theSundaramPillai School at Purasaiwakkam.
The Schools were characterized by very low pupil strength. The schools were upgraded from primary schools to high schools with the help of the Council, besides improving the quality of education in the schools and make them more `Child-friendly’.
The Council worked towards making the school an integral part of the community by linking it with the latter, bringing about an attitudinal change among the parents so as to make education a family priority, working with the community at large to improve living conditions and initiating income generation schemes for the women.
Some of the activities carried out by the Council include, summer school, enrolment campaign, monitoring the attendance, making home visits, teachers’ orientation/training, organizing special events in the school, organizing awareness programmes for the parents and the community, and equipping the school infrastructure and providing educational support services.           
ICCW TN’s counseling and guidance bureau for handicapped children provides psychological support and guidance to differently abled children.
Children with physical challenges suffer immense social discrimination leading to psycho-social coping problems. Therefore the critical need for such children is ensuring that they have a positive self image and encouraged to participate and succeed in all walks of life, especially education. Parents and families physically challenged children are also subjected to tremendous stress in their behavioral and social attitude.
The Council extends services provided are identified of disabilities, counseling services, referral services, institutional placements, and medical care to such children and their families. The bureau provided financial assistance for their education and organized awareness and health camps. The bureau advised parents on aspects such as existing Laws , entitlements & available facilities in Government and Non-Government sectors.          
The Centre provides counseling and referral services to parents of disabled children, arranges sponsorship for deserving handicapped children and medical assistance wherever necessary.
On 16th July 2004 a fire which started on the thatched roof of the midday meal kitchen, broke out at Krishna School in Kumbakonam and claimed the lives of 94 young children between the age of 8 and 11 and 18 children were hospitalized suffered severe burns, an incident which shook the heart of the entire nation.
ICCW TN, Tamil Nadu launched a special programme with financial support from National Children’s Fund, Government of India in December 2005.
The Project worked on two major objectives – 1) to meet the survivors and their families and help them to overcome the trauma by means of psychological support and counseling. 2) to build the capacities of teachers to manage disaster and inculcate skills of listening and responding to children.
ICCW TN also rolled out a constructive intense support programme for those school children who had seen firsthand, the terrible accident and some who had lost their siblings, their friends, and also parents who had lost their children.
Programmes included
a. Psychological assessment of all the 620 surviving children of Krishna School with guidance from experts,
b. “Play Activities” for children to express their feelings through drawings
c. Individual and group counseling sessions for 600 children and in 162 schools
d. Meetings in 10 villages with 340 villages with 340 mothers, fathers, grand parents to help them to deal with their losses and grief.
e. Discussions with educational authorities to plan for long-term intervention and “safe school” programme to assist teachers and students to develop a crisis response plan.
f. Booklet on fire prevention and how to act in an emergency situation
g. Mass scale fire protection and sensitizing programme in government and private schools.
h. Children who suffered disfigurement due to burn injuries were supported with educational sponsorship, and also helped out during the period when corrective surgeries were done to them at Chennai          
On 26th December 2004 an underwater earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused unprecedented devastation with the Tsunami hitting the coast of a number of countries of which India was one – particularly the coast of the State of Tamil Nadu and in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The districts of Nagapattinam and Cuddalore were the worst affected, with Nagapattinam district reporting the maximum number of tsunami deaths, followed by Cuddalore. Over 135 villages in both the districts were ruined by the Tsunami waves. In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the low-lying and mostly uninhabited chain of 572 islands in the Bay of Bengal was the closest Indian Territory to the epicentre of the massive earthquake. As well as being swamped by the sea, it was hit by a series of substantial aftershocks. According to official estimates, over 1,800 died, but over 5,500 people were missing and presumed dead.
The focus of Indian Council for Child Welfare, Tamil Nadu, from January 2005 to March 2008 in the Tsunami affected areas was in reestablishing normality in the lives of affected children by ensuring their basic needs of nutrition, healthcare and education and strengthening and supporting communities in rebuilding their homes and livelihood. Priority assistance was provided to the orphaned/single parent and traumatized children identified by our respective field offices at Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Kanyakumari Districts, Chennai
• Community and Society level intervention on social issues that adversely affects the welfare/ development/ rights of children.             

CHILD PROTECTION IS OUR CONCERN