Children’s federation meeting

VST works with Arogya Agam (Place of Health) and Vasandham (Springtime), NGOs based in Theni district, Tamil Nadu. Both focus on rights-based work with the most marginalised communities and believe in building up independent people’s organisations.

The biggest of these people’s organisations is Theni District women’s movement, an association of eight women’s federations. Each federation represents 100 or more women’s self-help groups, with a total membership of 19,000 mostly Dalit women. The movement promotes affordable credit, self-employment through micro-enterprise and community enterprises, and campaigns against domestic and sexual violence, early marriage, sex selective abortion and dowry demands.

Theni district network of positive people is an association of 2,000 people living with HIV/Aids. It provides support to its members and campaigns against discrimination.

Social Action Rights Association is a support group that aims to secure rights for 400 transgendered people facing discrimination and abuse.

TMPS represents 700 sex workers. It aims to protect its members from abuse and help develop alternative livelihoods.

Palliar Indigenous Welfare Association is a small group of activists seeking to secure rights to benefits, services and employment for the Palliar community of indigenous people. Watch a short video The Palliars.

Nilgiris Wynaad Tribal Welfare Society  runs a residential centre for tribal school drop-out children in the Nilgiri Hills on the Tamil Nadu/Kerala border. Read more

VST and Arogya Agam also have strong links with other NGOs in Theni district.