Centre for Youth and Social Development

Focus: Rural Development, Environment, Livelihoods

ENDING extreme poverty and hunger in the remotest tribal pockets of Odisha may sound like a singular mission, but CYSD learnt early on it was a ‘mission impossible’ if they didn’t use every trick in the book.

So they employed energetic youth, nurtured a network of non-profits already in the field, built a backbone of community based organisations, and ensured that government schemes – such as the current mid-day meal at schools and guaranteed minimum employment – are effectively deployed.

Imagine a landless tribal family of a husband, wife and three kids living in a tiny village. The couple work as agricultural labourers, barely earning Rs 100 a day between them while the oldest child, a girl, stays home to do chores and look after her siblings.

This is an example of the precarious existence of India’s rural poor – with no work or food guarantee, or a future for their children. And what CYSD found themselves up against when they formed in 1982, with Odisha being home to the highest number of tribal households in India.

But their multi-pronged approach – particularly their livelihood strategy that focuses on household food and nutrition security and in expanding income opportunities – is working. In 2016, CYSD has reached out to over 31,000 families in 709 villages.

One such family is that of daily wage earner Madhu Munda from Keonjhar. Too poor to send his older daughters to school, his son Arjun too dropped out after primary level so he could be put to work at a hotel 140km away.

Soon the hotel owner stopped paying Arjun’s wages and Madhu and his wife turned to CYSD to rescue their little boy – which they did, with the help of the local police and child protection officer.

Arjun has now returned to his studies, supported by CYSD. His parents too have been directed towards government poverty alleviation schemes and other income generation activities. Plus, Arjun’s case has spread awareness, with five other child workers from the same village having since been rescued and sent back to school.

Working to improve lives in cyclone-prone Odisha has also meant that CYSD have widened their remit to include disaster management. So when Phailin struck in 2013 their response was swift and effective and they managed to rehabilitate 3,000 families devastated by the cyclone.

CYSD’s intervention in rural Odisha has already impacted a million lives. But latest figures show 13million still live in extreme poverty. Help CYSD make their mission possible.

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Enhancing Forest-based Livelihoods

TO enhance the income of forest-dependent tribal communities in Odisha, CYSD are engaged in a number of programmes such as increasing the density of trees in forests. But with the declining demand for timber-based products, CYSD are also promoting alternative livelihood options such as breeding goats and ducks, blacksmithing and vegetable vending. ₹3,001 will support one tribal woman rear a goat as an alternative livelihood option.

Safe Communities for Children

MAKING environments safe for children, at home and in the community, is a priority for CYSD. They have been working to improve knowledge, attitude and practice of children and parents on child abuse, female foeticide, child marriage and violence against women and girls. The initiative, spread over 297 villages, also fosters community-based child protection systems and encourages lobbies for better legislation and policies. ₹3,001 will enable CYSD to pay a female caretaker's monthly salary.

Asha Kiran

A FAMILY'S poverty and a lack of awareness often means they engage their children in household work and income generating activities. Poor infrastructure of schools dissuades many children from attending. To bridge this gap, the Asha Kiran project promotes education for out-of-school children (currently 300) by facilitating their access to mainstream schools. ₹501 will cover lunch costs for 20 out-of-school children at Asha Kiran.


The kit given by CYSD protected us from rain, cold and upheld our dignity. Otherwise we’d have been on the roadside or in an emergency shelter. The lantern protected us from snakebites, the tarpaulin covered the roof and we slept on the ground sheet.

Kunti Behera, beneficiary affected by Phailin, Ganjam district

As part of CYSD’s capacity building programme, I visited health institutions in Karanjia and Baripada and interacted with doctors and other health professionals. This motivated me to sharpen my skills as a community development worker.

Binapani Naik, leader of Uchatangar village, Keonjhar district

  • Jagadananda Mentor & Founder
  • Prafulla Kumar Sahoo Chairman
  • Jayadev Dakua Associate Director