When a helping hand is also a hand that holds the sceptre, the beneficiaries are certainly on firm ground. Here is a striking illustration of this idea. Undergirded by government support, Vaazhnthu Kaatuvom Project takes to tribal communities in Erode, livelihoods that under normal circumstances would be out of their reach.
With the Erode district collector as its chairman, this government-initiated project trains tribals in making lantana-camara furniture and a range of food items and also on how to organise themselves into autonomous enterprises. And it markets these products, and has the proceeds deposited in bank accounts created for these tribal groups.
District executive officer and convenor of Vaazhnthu Kaatuvom Project, G Thamotharan notes the project — which comes under the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj — receives three-fourth of the funding from World Bank and the rest from the State Government.
“We help these tribal communities with formation (of enterprises), capacity-building, brand promotion, marketing, and ensuring payment to the members on time,” says Thamotharan.
As part of The Hindu‘s Tamil Nadu Smiling initiative, these groups would come to Chennai soon, with their lantana furniture and food items, notably Ragi cookies, Arappu powder, Avarampoo tea pockets and Turkey berry pickle.
For details, go to www.tnrtp.org