VCDS is a non-profit, secular, NGO founded in the year 1980, based in rural Tamilnadu working towards the upliftment and empowerment of the rural dalit people who constitute 22.55% of Tamilnadu population. Dalit communities are excluded, outcasted and face neglection in social participation and development from the main stream society. Bringing these people from oppression through education, empowerment to break their shackles of oppression.
We at VCDS, organize the dalit people especially women, children, youths & farmers through providing education, which bring knowledge and enlightment to these people to enable themselves to attain their rights and participation. We train the rural youths both men and women on vocational and technical education in order to equip and enable themselves with skill knowledge which gives them opportunity to participate in the regular work force and to bring financial stability and independency which relives themselves from vulnerable condition.We work with small and marginalized farmers in organizing them a federation and train them on organic and traditional farming methods in order to maximize their production capacity and water management. We also provide micro credit to these farmers for crop cultivation, seed production and food grains production. Through the traditional farming technique the community water bodies are de-silted and deepened which stands as the major water source for the small and marginalized farmers.
VCDS also works with women and children on their protection from domestic violence, sexual harassment and abuses through street acts, theatre, music campaigns, awareness seminars and debates. VCDS has four centres to provide, training, vocational and technical education, farm field school, etc. VCDS has its own an income generation action which aims towards self sustainability through dairy farm, goat farm and poultry farm. VCDS has also started its own greenhouse for vegetable production as alternative cultivation method to cope up with climate change, heat, and dust pollution.
To create a casteless and creedless society with equality and justice.
Educate the underprivileged, marginalized people (women, children & youths) especially the dalits to fight for their rights and empower women through skills for financial independency & sustainability. And to spread awareness on the need for environment protection and water conservation and to educate people on traditional agricultural methods for food security and sovereignty for the future generation.
VCDS was started in the year 1980 by Mr. Martine, an advocate and Ms. Kousalya, a social activist who are from rural Tamilnadu. Both are from different backgrounds and social standards. Mr. Martine belongs to the dalit community or untouchables, who are out casted had a difficult family situation and childhood who was born in Mugaiyur village, Villupuram district on 19th January 1947. He was the second child of a dalit Christian family, whose father was a retired military personal and a teacher. Poverty and his caste status denied him education and forced him to pay for his studies. At the age of 8 he dropped out from his school and worked as a child labour in a stone quarry and as a helper in church parish house for 3years and saved money for his school education.
During his school life in seared heart school, Thirupathur, Vellore district, he involved himself in youth liberation movement, social movements and started his social life. He was actively involved in social action groups which worked for the empowerment of dalit people. He pursued his Bachelor and Master degree in social work from Loyola College-Chennai, which gave him a new streak of life towards social development and dalit liberation. He along with his friends he started RCDA-Rural Community Development Association at Kanchipuram district, in 1976. The association was dissolved in 1979 after 4 years, after the work and the founders of the association were barred as anti-social elements.
Ms. Kousalya, the co-founder of VCDS is from a socially and financially good back ground. She belonged to the high caste but with more progressive and democratic lifestyles. She was the first child of the family who stood by her father to take care of the family and their village actions as the village leader. She completed her school education from Seva Sadan-Chennai and took her first job as the program coordinator of Swallows-Danida women empowerment initiative. She was involved in various awareness campaigns, protests and rallies for women`s rights. She met Martine on a protest for land ownership for the dalits which was allotted by the government for dalits. Inspired by the work and dedication of Martine, they joined their hands and founded VCDS in 1979 at Atchipakkam village. In 1980, VCDS was officially registered as a society and opened its first office at Vellakulam.