Up to today, IRCDS has organised more than 24,500 women and 2,500 persons with disabilities into self-help groups, it is covering an area of eight blocks (Kadambathur, Tiruvallur, Poondi,Puzhal, Ellapuram, Poonamallee, R.K.Pet and Pallipattu Blocks) in Tiruvallur District and has 35 full time staff members , 62 community volunteers and 935 vibrant CBO leaders.
In addition to above, it is working with migrant brick kiln labourers who are working in Two destination Districts (Tiruvallur – nine blocks and Kancheepuram – two block) and who are coming from source districts such as Villupuram, Kallakurichy and Thiruvannamalai Districts
How did it all come about?
1986-1990: Foundation of IRCDS
IRCDS was founded by Mr.P. Titus in 1986. He was a young teacher when he visited one of his pupils in a village in Tiruvallur district. He saw the difficult living conditions in this rural area and wanted to bring change through education. Together with a friend, he founded the National English school where children of 5 villages came to study.
Shortly after they started the school, they encountered challenges they had not anticipated: the families of the villages didn’t have enough money to pay for the fees or the transport facilities. IRCDS closed the school after four years in 1990 and shifted their focus. In cooperation with European and Indian funding partners, IRCDS implemented community organization, rural housing-, sanitation, human rights and community health projects in the 1990s.
1993-1997: Social animators training
A turning point for IRCDS was the Social Animators Training that was first organised in 1993. It consisted in a 20 days training in social work for village youths. They learned how to access Government welfare-schemes and how to address issues such as community infrastructure. By word of mouth, more and more youths from different villages signed up for the training.
Not only were there more active social workers in the villages, the network of IRCDS also grew rapidly. Before the Social Animators Training, IRCDS was active in 9 villages. By 1994, the network had already grown to 26 villages and by 1997, IRCDS was working in 89 villages. From a small organisation with only two staff members, IRCDS had grown into an established rural development organisation in about 10 years.
1998: Women empowerment projects
In 1998, IRCDS was selected by the Government of Tamil Nadu to implement Mahalir Thittam, a women development programme, in four Blocks ( Kadambathur, Tiruvallur, Poondi and Puzhal) of Tiruvallur District. The idea of this programme was to empower women through the formation of self-help groups. Through this programme, IRCDS got to work very closely with the government and was able to start linking government departments to the rural population. Also, the organization has more than tripled their project area during the span of the programme. From 89 villages in 1997, IRCDS increased their project area to 368 villages in 2012.
At the beginning of the new millennium, IRCDS started a couple of new projects. The first line of new projects concerns Women & child protection, the second prevention of over indebtedness / prevention of bonded labour and the third the empowerment of persons with disabilities.
Women & Child protection
With regard to the projects on child protection, the Family Counselling Centre was established with the support of Government of India in 2000. It provides psychological support and legal guidance to affected persons . One year later, in 2001, the government supported children home was opened. Deserted and neglected children get food, accommodation, education, counselling in the home and are enrolled in schools.
A decade later, in 2011, Lions Club Belgium, Lions Club Perambakkam and IRCDS jointly funded a new building for the children home.
2012 – 2021, IRCDS was also coordinated the activities of the District Child Welfare Committee and is managing the Reception Unit at District level for children who have been rescued from abuse or neglect.
Parallel to the developments of the projects regarding women & child protection, in 2001, IRCDS was chosen by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to be one of the implementing partners for the project â Prevention of over indebtedness and Prevention and Elimination of Bonded Labour in South Asia in Tiruvallur District. Bonded labourers are working in brick kilns, rice mills and in agriculture in this area. They are bound to their jobs through debts and have to work in very difficult conditions until their debts are paid off. Through self-help groups and common savings, and through creating awareness on issues such as discrimination, the bonded labourers were strengthened and could be freed. IRCDS also worked with families that were at risk of getting into bondage. Multiple livelihood options were created so as to prevent debt-bondage.
Since IRCDS had experience in working with bonded labourers, the India Literacy Project (ILP) came forward to support an educational project for the children of brick kiln labourers in 2012 (started in Tiruvallur block, progressively expanded to Poonamallee and Ellapuram Brick kilns) and two years worked in migrant children in three blocks of Kancheepuram district as well.
Then, we started working with local Government schools in order to ensure quality education in cooperation with the Educational Department and funding support of ILP. Currently we are working with – schools in Tiruvallur, Poonamallee, Ellapuram, RK Pet and Pallipattu Blocks. Many of the children were previously working as child-labourers and are now enrolled in schools. The programme also enables youths who dropped out of school early to continue their studies.
Persons with Disabilities
Simultaneously to the child protection and the education projects, IRCDS also got the opportunity to get involved in the empowerment of persons with disabilities. In 2002, with the support of Caritas India CBR forum, IRCDS helped forming self-help groups for 290 persons with disabilities in 34 villages ( Kadambathur Block) . Through the groups, persons with disabilities were able to access rehabilitation support, government schemes and facilitation support that allowed them to improve their mobility , vision and hearing abilities ,start their own business, demand their rights and meaningful inclusiveness happened both at family and community level.
In 2005, Caritas Germany funded the expansion of the programme to the neighbouring block ( Tiruvallur), thereby covering nearly 1,500 persons with disabilities. Seven years later, in 2012, IRCDS was working with more than 2,500 persons with disabilities in neighbouring blocks. Vasantham federation of differently abled persons has emerged as an outcome of CBR Project . This federation has been registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 in the year 2010 .
The programme was so successful that the Caritas India CBR Forum selected Tiruvallur district as model ( called District level Initiative) district for scaling up of a CBR project “working with persons with disabilities”. Seven more NGOs was funded by Caritas India CBR Forum from 2012- 2019 to work with Persons with disabilities by adopting community based rehabilitation ( CBR) strategy and IRCDS’s CBR experiential learnings by covering seven more blocks in the district . IRCDS was functioned as a Nodal NGO. Remaining seven Blocks covered by IRCDS by actively engaging Vasantham Federation is creating awareness , organize PWDs as village level groups and Block level federations, building their capacities, strengthening interface meetings and evidence based advocacy with the joint effort of IRCDS and 7 more NGOs ( Madras Social Service Society, Jeeva Jyothi, Daughters of Mary Immaculate ( DMI), IWDI, SAVE, Mother Therasa Social Service Society and Thiruppani Trust Association) and District level federation “ Vasantham federation of differently abled persons promoted by bringing all 14 block level federation under one umbrella body. Thus 11500+ PWDs as become federation members.
In 2013, the fellowship programme started by IRCDS as an addition to the existing disability programme thanks to the funding support of Caritas Germany. The fellows, all persons with disabilities, are catalysts for the development of persons with disabilities across Tiruvallur District.
with the efforts of IRCDS , In the year July 2018, , Bangalore based popular corporate CSR “ Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative ( APPI)” has come forward to support Vasantham Federation ( a CBO) inorder to strengthen their capacities in Governance, Resource mobilization and sustaining their interventions beyond funding as a first CBO selected for pilot initiative in India. From July 2018 to December 2020, funds was routed through IRCDS to Vasantham. Since, Jan 2021, based on the successful performance of the federation APPI has included Vasantham as direct partner and start supporting directly.
New Partnership : Education focused Child Development with the support of CHILDREN BELIEVE
In the year 2016, IRCDS has been chosen by the Canadian Organization “Christian Children Fund of Canada ( now called as Children Believe) as one of their partners in India . This programme started in Poondi Block which is one of the most underdeveloped blocks in Tiruvallur District.
This program promotes gender and social inclusion. In our working area, poverty and discrimination, based on a deep-rooted caste ( class) system, causes social exclusion. We address this with the support of Children Believe by specializing in gender and social inclusion, protecting children and involving them in decisions.
Partnership with Belgium Lions Club for Higher Education support
Lions Club(Klein Brabhant, Belgium) start supporting scholarship for children / youth to pursue higher education. Lion. Bruno Vander Stichele is continuously keep contact with IRCDS since the year 2016 and extending solidarity .
Partnership for improving Educational Environment and Educational opportunities for children with the support of Deutsch-Indische Zusammenarbeit(DIZ) and BMZ
IRCDS is partnering with DIZ since the year 2015 in receiving German Volunteers under Weltwarts Program of Federal Republic of Germany. So far, we have received nine volunteers and they are very helpful to strengthen the documentation, social media of IRCDS and resource mobilization. Our team understand Germany Culture and trained on documentation. Through the facilitation of two of our German volunteers, we have received funding support from the German Consul General, Chennai to construct court yard in our office premises in the year 2016.
In order to ensure higher education of children/ youth we partnered with DIZ “Improvement of the Educational Environment and Educational Opportunities in the Tiruvallur District” under BMZ support from Feb 2020. We are building the capacities of Women SHG leaders, Community Volunteers, teachers and Panchayat Secretaries about the Higher education opportunities and facilitating children/ youth to pursue higher education. DIZ has supported us to buy new Jeep in the year 2020.
Supporting Brick kiln workers with the partnership of Azim Premji Foundation
As we all aware that, during COVID-19 first wave, migrant workers have faced lot of challenges and struggles for their daily survival. Brick kiln migrant workers are also one of the most vulnerable groups in Tiruvallur District. This District has highest number of brick kilns and receiving highest number of migrant workers from different parts of the State and other states of the country.` Hence Azim Premji Foundation has come forward to extend funding support for three years to implement “Improve work place safety and social security for brick kiln workers” from January 2021.
Best NGO Award
IRCDS has received Best NGO CSR Award from ISWAR FOUNDATION in April 2021 .
COVID Response and Relief activities
IRCDS has taken up different relief and response activities in coordination with the District administration and our partners (ILP, Children Believe, Azim Premji Foundation and DIZ ) since April 2020.
The staff members at IRCDS were rattled by the sad, sudden and untimely demise of their beloved Founder and Executive Secretary/ Director of IRCDS, Thiru. P. Titus on 2ndMay 2021.
He was a social worker par excellence, a devoted leader, grass-root worker, able manager and above all a nice human being who showered love, affection and was compassionate with everyone he met. He led IRCDS for the past 35 years and now the organisation stands tall as one of the reputed institutions in the state.
But as they say, “The Show Must Go On” and all the staff members of IRCDS have taken this loss in their strides and will ensure the legacy of Thiru. P. Titus continues to thrive. IRCDS continues to address the root causes of poverty through its dedicated team of professional and experienced staff members.
The board of IRCDS has entrusted the leadership of IRCDS with Mr. P. Stephen as Executive Secretary. Mr. Stephen has completed Diploma in Civil Engineering, Master of Philosophy in Sociology, Masters in Public Administration and PG in Guidance and Counselling. He has 32 years of experience in IRCDS and managing different development projects.
May 2021 : IRCDS – Implementing partner for the installation of Oxygen Generator Plant @ Govt.Medical College & Hospital, Thiruvallur
IRCDS has established partnership with “ Give India” funding agency for the deployment of Oxygen Generator plant at Thiruvallur Medical College & Hospital 333 Lpm and deployment of 42 Oxygen concentrators to 12 Govt. Primary Health Centres. This program is joint initiative of IRCDS, GNK Foundation and XLRI Alumni Association, Chennai.
31stJuly 2021 : “ Titus Educational Endowment Fund”
In the memory of Thiru. P.Titus, we introduced a “ Titus Educational Endowment Fund” on 91st Memorial day of IRCDS We are looking forward to donations for this cause . For more information please visit :