Community

PWDS works with the following communities with a focus on women and children.

Palmyrah Workers:

In the southern districts of Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala, vast stretches of palmyrah trees dot the landscape.  The palm tree  is multi utilitarian and a major source of livelihood for the palmyrah tapper community. Tapping Neera (palm sap) from palmyrah trees, which is then processed and converted to jaggery (karuppatti) is a labour intensive job that traditionally involved the entire family. For centuries, palmyrah workers were economically exploited and socially stigmatised because of the low social value accorded to the occupation and poverty levels.  Accident and mortality levels were usually high, with many widows and women-headed households. This prompted PWDS to address the socio economic conditions of palmyrah workers, women, children, and other marginalised sections.

Small and Marginal Farmers:

Small and Marginal farmers are those with less than two acres holding and constitute almost 80 percent of the Indian farming community. In Tamil Nadu the average land holding of this community is around 1.75 acres. They are usually identified as a subsistence farming group and tend to be vulnerable. PWDS initiatives are focused on enabling these farmers and the agricultural workers become self-reliant through sustainable agricultural practices.

Rural Artisans:

In the unorganised sector, besides those engaged in the agricultural sector, the vast majority comprises of rural artisans engaged in diverse skill and local resource based occupations. They are involved in making pottery, handicrafts, palm leaf, seashell, and other activities. These groups traditionally have had limited access to credit and market. This constraint has been identified and analyzed by PWDS and the initiative to date has been to facilitate mainstream linkages for these groups, provide technical back for quality improvement and improve access to markets.

People Living with HIV/AIDS:

Since 1990s HIV/AIDS has assumed importance as a major health issue in India., Subsequently, however, there has been a growing realization that HIV/AIDS is not purely a health issue but has significant development implications as well. PWDS given its organisational mandate through its intervention has been working on creating an enabling, sustainable, supportive environment towards community based care and support for affected and vulnerable people in Tamil Nadu.

Adivasi (Tribal) communities:

Adivasi’s are the indigenous communities of the country. They are scattered across the country and live in small pockets within Tamil Nadu. They are largely dependent on agricultural income or Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) for their livelihood. PWDS, through its intervention, has been striving to organise them as a group and have enhanced income earning opportunities and improved quality of life.