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23 Apr 2024, Edition - 3206, Tuesday

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Making a genuine difference to the hills of the Nilgiris

Covai Post Network


Way back in 1980, philanthropist N.K. Perumal, who is from the Nilgiri Mountains, formed an NGO called the Rural Development Organisation Trust, for building partnership to help the rural poor bring in a positive social change. Since then, the NGO continues to work towards improving the life of the underprivileged in these hills.

“The RDO Trust is committed to serving the rural community by promoting innovative solutions, and advocating for collective responsibilities. It facilitates lasting solutions by providing quality and value education for the poor children, strengthening the capacity of women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) by innovatively, promoting women-owned and managed mutual benefit trust, launching diversified income generation activities for the rural people, and building household toilets with the support of other NGOs and corporate houses,” Perumal says.

Thanks to the NGO, about 83,000 students have successfully completed their Class X in government schools of Manjoor, Kotagari, Connoor, Gudalur and Ooty, since 1980. The founder of this trust tells us that it was difficult enrolling children in schools as some of their parents were migrant workers at the tea plantations in Niligiris. They did not possess valid certificates and proofs of identity. However, the then collector of the Nilgiris, after interacting with the children and their families, permitted 685 children of migrant workers to go to school.

Yet another hugely popular project of this NGO is their household toilet construction works. This project started in 2010, and till October 31, 2015, the NGO had constructed 31,200 household toilets on the Nilgiri Mountains. Perumla says, “The construction of household toilets will help keeping the place neat and clean. This way the girls and women at home will also feel safe and comfortable to use the toilet in their homes.”

Funds for the various projects of this NGO come from many sources. Its founder applies for Government grants, a few kind-hearts also contribute in cash, corporate houses sponsor some of the NGOs projects as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) projects, and the founder makes contributions from his pocket too.

Photos: Rural Development Organisation Trust, in action.

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