Friends of Coconut Tree

Coconut Development Board (CDB) is conducting a substantial training program to train about 5000 underemployed youth in developing special skills and confidence in coconut palm climbing and plant protection activities for the benefit of the coconut community as a whole.

As part of the “Friends of Coconut Tree” programme being implemented by the Coconut Development Board to train unemployed youth in the art of climbing coconut palms and caring for them, Kottayam Social Service Society has conducted a six day training programme during. Training is imparted to people irrespective of caste, creed and age. KSSS with constant hard work and struggle has trained and prepared 11 batches which is a great success. 220 people both men & women completed the training successfully. One of the main attraction of the programme was Mr. K G Samuel who was the RTO of Kottayam also participated the training.

Major Highlights of the program

  • The programme covered topics in relation to introduction to coconut palm, climate and soil requirements, sessions on climbing machine, recycling of palm waste, Intercropping and mixed cropping.
  • The participants were also given hands-on training on climbing coconut palms.
  • Sessions were also held on harvesting, tender and mature nut identification, identification of pests and disease of coconut, crown cleaning aspects, seed nut selection, safe handling of seed nuts and tender nuts, coconut nursery, management  and marketing etc.

 

And … evolved the “Women Security Force”

 

Perseverance and Eagerness drive women into still new fields. Evidencing their capabilities and refusing to be looked upon as a passive group that remains confined within the four walls of one’s residence they have organized into ‘Security Forces’. KSSS coordinated these women coming under their operational to pave their efforts and interests towards a successful career.

It was in the process of creating employment opportunities for poor and needy individuals that the emergence of such a ‘Women Security Force’ came. The services of the WE CARE Women Security force (as they are called) is available for public get-togethers like Marriage functions, Funeral ceremonies etc. Dressed in uniform, identity card and a systematic manner of intervention the WE CARE Security force has already attracted public attention and support especially from fellow-women. KSSS Secretary Fr. Michael Vettickat, and Programme Coordinator Mr. Jaison Philip look with a sense of satisfaction and hope upon this Work group which has succeeded to kindle a flame of hope in the minds of the unemployed and rural women.

Karagaatam:

Kararagam is a folk dance with musical accompaniment, performed balancing a pot on the head. Traditionally, this dance was performed by the villagers in praise of the rain goddess Mari Amman and river goddess, Gangai Amman, performed with literature with water pots balanced on their heads. It originated in the state of Tamil Nadu inIndia. It is performed in the villages during functions and celebrations like marriages, festivals, season of harvest and jubilation.

 

For the last several years KSSS has been promoting Karagattam as part of cultural art and also income generation programme. As it is a traditional form of art that may be on the verge of extinction KSSS supports it by promoting the programme during festive occasions. This is in conformity with its objective of preserving and reviving ancient and indigenous cultural forms, which seeks to develop the social and ecological situation to protect the poor Indian communities.

 

Shingaarimelam’: WOMEN DRUM BEATING TEAM – THE RHYTHM OF SUCCESS

Chendamelam is a percussion instrument traditionally performed by hind community in Kerela. A team of men folk usually perform this art. The performers hold the musical instruments by attaching it to slings supported on their shoulder and play the drums with sticks. Generally Chendamelam is performed at religious festivals to invoke the spirit of the deities. Singarai melam is a part of Chenda melam. Dance according to the Chenda music along with some other musical instrument is known as Singarai melam.

The art of ‘Drum beating’ was considered as a male dominant art in the regional perspective of Kerala and the women were treated as incapable section of doing the same. The support from partner organizations and the tremendous experience of KSSS in the field of innovation have made it as a viable activity for women too.

“That the possible may arise, the impossible must be tried time and again” This is the case with the ‘Women drum beating initiative’ also. Against much opposition and criticism these women came forward and were assisted to start the venture.

As part of promoting gender equity we formed Women Chendamelam group in the year 2006.

 KSSS women drum-beating team members have already performed in many venues in several states of the country and won wide acclamation for their outstanding performance.

KSSS Women Community Hotel – refers to restaurants run by women and promoted by KSSS under its community organization activities.

The community hotel is an income generation activity or livelihood activity undertaken collectively by interested women from KSSS SHG groups, in a cooperative way and independently to a good extent. It was initiated by KSSS upon dialogue with the target groups and in respect of their express interest and the need of the time. Not the slightest compulsion was given from KSSS to ensure the complete ownership of the interested candidates. The results of the intervention strategy have been remarkable. The Community Hotel serving atCaritasHospitalcampus in Thellakom, Kottayam is an encouraging model of a sustainable Group IGP in society.

 

 SWASRYA VAHINI – THE WOMEN AUTORIKSHAW PROGRAMME

KSSS initiated the Women Auto Rickshaw Programme to mainstream the rural women in society. As part of the programme, 23 SHG members were trained and successfully completed the course receiving a valid driving license. They earn on an average Rs. 200/- per day.

Mrs. Sandhya Banarjee who was once a beneficiary under this autorickshaw programme is an excellent example of how the Empowerment programmes of KSSS helps women to reach soaring heights. Now she is the honored Block Panchayath President of the Ettumanoor constituency. Her case is a typical example of career opportunities facilitated through KSSS women empowerment activities.

 COCONUT CLIMBING – HEIGHTS OF SUCCESS

In the context of facing a shortage of men to climb coconut trees and to promote entrepreneurship among women KSSS initiated coconut climbing as an effective skill development initiative. The programme also focused on rural technology development and research was undertaken to modify the coconut climbing machines to suit women workers.

The programme made hundreds of marginal women economically sustainable and socially acceptable.