The solutions

“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.”
Ban Ki-moon
, former UN Secretary.

SHAPE is a voluntary association established in order to develop the community of Tamil Nadu in the following aspects.

I. Child development

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”
F. Douglas, American abolitionist

In order to tackle the problems faced by the people of Tamil Nadu, we must start from the bottom of the chain: the children. The crippling poverty in rural Tamil Nadu pushes most children to work after school. Here is a blog based on our survey which revealed how child labor practice is still prevalent in the state. With children working in order to fend for their families, they are deprived of their right to schooling. Thus, we must ensure that all children, regardless of their caste, attain an appropriately high level of education – a move that will help in the future decline of poverty [20]. Furthermore, for such a step to be effective, we must enhance the health and nutrition of the children [21].

Our Child Education and Health Development Project brings out the best in our child beneficiaries. We have established free child literacy centers in the districts of Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, and Tiruvallur, where the aforementioned underprivileged children under the age of 14 are enrolled. 

Through these centers, we aspire to shape our children into healthy and happy citizens who would eventually better our society. Therefore, not only do our center caretakers assist children with their schoolwork, but they also foster the children’s skills, encourage them to chase their dreams [22 a], and teach them valuable life lessons about rights and equality [22 b].Additionally, we economically support the children and their families by relieving them of the financial burden of buying school supplies, books, and uniforms. Both the mental and physical well-being of our children are our top priorities and are fundamental to building strong civilians, and so we also provide them with dietary health supplements.

Find out more about how we fight for child rights through this project here↗

II. Women Development

“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong; it’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”
G D Anderson, Australian social activist.

Based on our research, underprivileged (mainly low-caste) women between the ages of 17-35 comprise the most vulnerable populace in the country. As a result, we mainly direct our services to this group.

Women’s education is not considered as important as that of men in rural India which creates a skill gap between the two sexes [23]. Moreover, women who do have the necessary skill set for stable jobs are usually faced with sexual abuse and discrimination in the workplace. Subsequently, rather than securing jobs for themselves, rural and tribal women tend to be widely dependent upon their spouses for income, among other things [24]. Such factors make the economic freedom of the rural Indian women a far-fetched notion.

Accordingly, we establish Women Centres for Training, Advocacy, and Development (WoCTAD) in areas where women liberation and autonomy seem to be lacking. Through these centers, women are trained to be economically and mentally independent of their families and spouses – through skills and entrepreneurship training – all while being ecofeminists.

Find out more about how we fight for women rights through this project here↗

III. Environmental Development

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness, and wildfire are in fact plans to protect man.”
Steward Udall, US politician.

Poor public health conditions, low life expectancy, and challenges in achieving health equity are common in third world countries [25][26] like India [27]. These can be directly linked to the pitiable environmental conditions of the country that prevail due to weak environmental laws and practices [28][29][30]. As a result, we work on the following in order to better our environment, thus ultimately bettering our community:

  1. Providing green energy in the form of solar cookers to reduce fuel consumption
  2. Organic farming
  3. Supplying agricultural product to deserving farmers
  4. Encouraging children to plant more trees
  5. Encouraging women to trade organic products

Find out more about how we fight for environmental justice through this project here↗

IV. Community Development

“It feels good to be in a community. Community, above all, is bigger than individuals – we are something much more than individuals when we are part of a community. And this is how things ought to be.”
Prof. Tony Blackshaw, UK based writer/educator.

A community lives in harmony when all of its members are happy, healthy, educated, and are treated as equals – regardless of gender or caste. Moreover, communal harmony and accord can also be attributed to communities with thriving economies. It can also be seen that community health directly leads to a 4% increase in the economic output of developing countries like India [31][32], showing us that many of the above factors are interdependent.

Our goal at SHAPE is to bring a sense of peace and togetherness to the communities that we serve. To that end, we regularly conduct two programmes for the communities living in our project areas:

  1. Community health awareness campaigns generally for the prevention of terminal diseases like HIV [32].
  2. Community rights awareness campaigns to liberate undocumented and underprivileged communities like the Tribals and Dalits [34].

Find out more about how we help the community through this project here↗

[Contd.] References…