Arasan Rural Development Society

Focus: Rural Development, Education, Women, Elderly Care, Health

WHEN lives are endangered due to poverty and inequality, just providing education and training was not enough for ARDS. Arasan now advocate for and empower all marginalised populations in rural Nanguneri.

Arasan believe in a utopia where peace, gender justice and equality for disadvantaged women, children, the disabled and senior citizens prevail is not only plausible, but possible. They work to strengthen rural communities by providing equal opportunities to all underserved populations, from the oldest to the youngest members of society.

Imagine, you work your whole life, but are left alone with no spouse or children to care for you in your old age. This is the reality for many aging Indians, and if not for Arasan, many would end up on the street. But thanks to their Anthichcholai Old Age Home, those who might be homeless, now have shelter.

Mr Arumangam, 68, is one such beneficiary among 24 others. He thinks of the residence as his home and counts the staff and fellow residents as his family. He enjoys working in the Home’s garden, growing vegetables for his neighbours. Others rear rabbits, doves, ducks and hens, keeping them engaged and active.

However, Arasan do not only care for the elderly - they also empower other marginalised groups to improve their situations so they do not end up in this same condition.

There are 2.3million separated and ‘abandoned’ women in India, left to support themselves and children with no support from their husbands, and nearly 1 million cases of domestic violence, abetment of suicide, and cruelty by husband have been filed across the country in just 10 years.

Many affected women have nowhere to turn and often end up living on the streets or committing suicide. ARDS’ Swadhar Greh Home acts as a temporary shelter, providing counselling, legal aid, schooling, health services, and vocational and rehabilitation training for the women and their children.

Many impoverished daily wage earners in the village are part of the ‘working poor’ who must earn in order to provide for their families, but have no one to care for their children. This is where Arasan step in with their Crèche Centre. While their mothers work to better their family’s conditions, the Centre offers a safe place for children to learn through play, teaches good health principles and provides a healthy meal.

Benefitting more than 1,000 women, children and elderly people annually, Arasan are changing lives one rural community at a time.

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