Social Service Department

 
Highrange Development Society

Origin
The Kothamangalam Social Service Society laid the foundation stone of development in the remote parishes of highranges through various development activities especially the formation of Credit Unions in the early 1990s. Immediately after the declaration of the diocese of Idukki,

Highrange Development Society (HDS) was registered on 26th February 2003,as the official department of social works of the new diocese of Idukki. The 95 parish churches and 35 mission stations in the diocese are the platform through which HDS reaches out to the people. 45 Credit Unions, 250 SHGs and 15 Federations are the people plat form of HDS at present. Its office functions now from the Bishops House of Idukki at Karimpan.

Our Vision
HDS envisions a radically transformed and vibrant High Range region of Kerala, where human creativity is high, where adequacy, equity and humanizing social order flourishes.

Our Mission
We commit ourselves to a participatory process of economic social and cultural transformation through systematically planned programmes for empowering the poor through Credit Union, Self Help Groups and Community Based Organisations in the whole region of HDS operation.

 

Major Programmes

 
Tribal Education Programme

The main tribal belt under the operational area of HDS is at the forestland of Marayoor. These settlements can be reached from a walk of 5 kilometers from Marayoor Town Forest Check Post through the forestland. There are several clusters or so-called settlements (known as kudiesin local language) scattered in these inland forests. There is the distance of a couple of kilometers between each settlement (kudies). The most known settlements of the area are Vengapparakudy, Nellippettikudy, Kavakkudy, Kammalamkudy, Periakudy, Overthattukudy. Koodakkadukudy is a common name for these 6 settlements. The tribals of these settlements belong to the tribe known as Muthuvans. They had a nomadic culture and unorganized life style, customs of nature worship, their own odd dialects, way of communication, consternation of the outer world, early marriages, high rate of infant mortality, own cultural arts and traditions, law and rule, uniform agricultural system and pattern, temporary shelters than permanent houses etc.

It was in these circumstances, that in 1990s, the Kothamangalam Social Service Society intervened in the area and had the first outer world interaction with the population there. Those people were doubtful as to these interactions but later on they were delighted to accept these apostles of service as one among them. The Kothamangalam Social Service Society could invoke in them the true need for formal education and thus began a playschool for the little children of the area. Then a temporary shed was built up as a Lower Primary School where the students could learn the new language. It was named Girijyothy L P School. 

Fr.Francis Edavakkandam who was the Asst. Director of Kothamangalam Social Service Society and founder Director of Highrange Development Society, was the chief luminary who envisioned a more developed community there and made the school into a permanent structure. Mobilizing fund from development agencies and local resources, employing educated youth to stay and teach there, building up a Credit Union for the tribals there, and introducing various installment schemes for them becoming mediator for various government programmes to avail to these humble people, Fr.Francis service in the history of tribals at Marayoor stands as a milestone.

The school is upgraded as Upper Primary School and there are students up to the 6th standard. There is enough space for classrooms, and other requirements are made available along with the teachers residential facilities. Around 225 children are attending classes, and six teachers and two coordinators are staying in the school doing selfless service.
 

Family Development Programme

This is an on going programme which covers almost 20 panchayats in Idukki benefiting a total of 350 families at present. This is a programme in assistance with Save A Family Plan, which supports the beneficiary families to be self supporting and sustainable
 

Santhigram Integrated watershed development Programme (Jalatharang)

It is a programme of HDS funded by CIDA, Canada through Save A Family Plan India (SAFPI). It is located at the Idinjamala watershed area in the Panchayat of Erattayar. The project addresses drought, ground water depletion, depletion of natural resources, mishaps of chemical based faming etc.
 

Mannathara Integrated Eco Restoration Programme

It is a programme of HDS funded by Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The project is located at Mannathara in the Panchayat of Vathikudy, which covers almost 400 families. The foremost objective of the programme is to turn the farmers towards sustainable and healthy agricultural practices and preservation of natural resources. Stone banding, soil banding, income generation programme, on going conscientisation are the key components of the programme.
 

Peoples Organisation

There are 45 active credit unions under the operational area of HDS. Each Credit Unions has an approximate membership of 250 each, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or sex. These credit Unions are spread over 29 panchayats in Idukki district mainly covering Udumbanchola and Devikulam Taluks and parts of Thodupuzha Taluk. There are 250 SHGs under the operational area of HDS in the year 2007 and HDS takes initiatives towards the formation and strengthening of SHGs.
 

Vocational training to unemployed female youth

A batch of 25 unemployed girls at Marayoor was trained, and another batch at Kozhimala is being trained at present in Tailoring. The beneficiaries are selected on a low income priority.
 

Vocational training to marginal farmers

A team of 60 marginal farmers were trained in climbing coconut trees using palm climbing equipments and they were provided with the equipments with subsidy for coconut climbers in the year 2006.
 

Construction of a multi purpose community hall

This was completed in the year 2006 with the assistance from Caritas India. The community hall is located at Thattekkanny in the Kanjikuzhy Panchayat in Idukki District.
 

Setting up of a model agro-horticultural farm

This initiative began in the year 2007 at Mariyapuram (Mariyapuram panchayat in Udumbanchola taluk) where HDS has procured 5 acres of land for the purpose and a training center attached to it. The works are under progress.
 

Distribution of solar lanterns & home lighting system

During the years 2003 & 2004 a total of 120 people were provided with Solar Home Lighting systems and solar lanterns at subsidized rate.
 

Campaign against the ill effects of pan products

This was a major campaign programme in the year 2005 mainly intended to conscientise the youth and schoolchildren. A total of 80 awareness seminars in 80 villages, essay contest for various groups of students, publishing and circulating booklets were the key components of the programme.
 

Entrepreneurship training to HIV affected women

In collaboration with Save A Family Plan India, 20 HIV infected/having dependent women are supported to begin Income generation programme and were trained in entrepreneurship skills. The venue was 'Prathyasakendra' Cheruthony.
 

Pro-life campaign against farmer suicides

This was a vehicle rally campaign which passed through 60 villages in the districts with corner meetings, talks, street plays and display boards and film shows. The purpose was to prevent the present rate of suicides in the district. The programme finished on 24th November 2007.
 

Sponsorship programme for nursing students

7 students from economically backward backgrounds were assisted to join nursing studies. The programme was initiated with the help of Kandoth Foundation.
 

Formation of a women federation

As part of formation of women groups in the operational area, a women forum named 'Sthreejyothy' have been formed in 15 villages by the year 2006. An apex federation in the same name also is formed as HDS Director at its head.
 

Advocacy & lobbying for Job placement to 70 young women

In the year 2007, as part of livelihood restoration programme, 70 young women from poor surroundings were provided with job opportunity at K Mohan & Co, garment exporters at Kochi, by the initiative of HDS.
 

Training & promotion of herbal/traditional medicines among the housewives

150 housewives were trained for making herbal medicines and various food products at home. The training is being provided by Sr.Litty CMC, women development coordinator of HDS. 
 

Construction of houses for low income families

A total of 39 poor families were provided with monetary assistance to complete building their own low cost safe houses by the year 2005. Another programme is in progress now, which covers 101 families of same criteria, which will be finished by 24th December 2008
 

Awareness seminars on Savings

During these 4 years, a total of 200 awareness seminars in 70 villages were conducted.
 

Awareness seminars on Organic Farming

In the years 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007 a total of 65 awareness seminars in 40 villages were conducted. 
 

Awareness seminars on Good Governance

In the year 2006 and 2007 a total of 45 seminars were held in 45 villages.
 

Gender sensitization seminars

In the years 2006 and 2007 a total of 45 seminars were held in 45 villages.
 

Awareness on ground water recharging & water preservation

In the years 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007 a total of 85 awareness seminars in 65 villages were conducted.
 

Relief to the victims of landslide at Ayiramekkar

5 families thoroughly affected in the calamity in the year 2006 were assisted to construct their houses.
 

Janasree Beema Yojana Social Security Scheme

It is a programme launched by the Government of India and Life insurance corporation of India. HDS is a nodal agency to promote the same and 2500 families are part of it now under HDS initiative. 
 

Micro Insurance Programme with LIC
This programme is launched recently and a total of 1000 families are already part of the programme.
 
Health insurance Programme
This is a programme carried out with the support of United India Insurance in 2005 -06 and National Insurance Company this year. A total of 600 families get the benefits of the programme
 
Rehabilitation of the Handicapped Children
Receiving assistance from 'Stitching Liliane Fonds', 20 handicapped youngsters under the age of 18 years were helped medically and educationally.
 
Formation of a Resource Team for Credit Unions
A 20 member resource team is trained and deputed to build awareness among the people on spending and savings, family budgeting etc.
 
Formation of a Resource team on Natural Resources Management

A 15 member resource team is trained and deputed to build awareness among the people on the topic.
 

Formation of a Resource team on Good Governance

A 15 member resource team is trained and deputed to build awareness among the people on the topic.
 

Formation of a Resource team on Gender

A 15 member resource team is trained and deputed to build awareness among the people on the topic.
 

Entrepreneurship trainings

A total of 65 entrepreneurship trainings for various groups were given in the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 as part of promoting livelihood initiatives like cow rearing, rabbit rearing, goat rearing etc.
 

Accounting & book keeping training for the people group leaders

This is an ongoing annual programme for the people group leaders. It usually takes place in the months of April and May every year
 

Promotion of Income generation through rabbit rearing among 600 house wives

This was an exclusive programme for the marginal housewives in the area. 600 women from 50 villages were trained and were given cages and leverets for the programme.
 

Distribution of terracotta vermin compost tanks for promoting vermin

As part of propagating organic farming 80 farmers were oriented to grow vermin in terracotta tanks. The tanks were provided to the farmers.
 

Relief and assistance to the poor and needy

Every year a fund is created through which some medical assistance is extended to the poorest people who come to the central office of HDS at Karimpan. So far, a total of 570 people have availed themselves of this help.
 

Relief to the victims of landslide at Churuly

This year witnessed torrents of rains in the area and calamities attached to it. An amount was raised for the rehabilitation of victims of landslide at Churuly.
 

Relief to the victims of Tsunami

HDS had its share in supporting the tsunami victims. A total of Rs. 3,75000.00/ was raised towards this cause and was utilized in the affected areas in association with Caritas India.
 

Relief to the victims of Penstock pipe tragedy at Vellathooval
This tragedy took place in the year 2007 and a fund is being raised for these victims rehabilitation programmes.