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Victims of Natural Disorders

Under Reconstruction…

Dance of the killer waves

What do you do when all the people in your life are no more? When all that you have worked so hard for disappears? What do you do when your life is washed away in front of you? What do you do, when you realize that due to some quirk of fate, only you remain? Where do you go from there?

When Tsunami waves wiped out lives and lifetime belongings of the hapless residents of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, things seemed hopeless as if nothing mattered any more. Economic backgrounds of the affected may have been different __but the emotion was the same. And the story was one of destruction and despair.

The famous Vailankanni church stands witness to the devastation that struck the town of Nagapattinam in December 2005 even as it survived the onslaught. Saravanan lost his property, his life time’s earnings, Vijaya lost her dear family, her husband, her children, her in laws, everyone in her world. Manivannan has still not come to terms with the fact that he has nothing and nobody left in this world. In a matter of minutes life had come to a stand- still. One moment they had everything that is needed for a happy life, in the very next they were looking for excuses to remain alive and feeling guilty at the same time that they were still breathing while their loved ones had perished. Such is the impact of nature’s fury. Man’s supposed control over his life hangs in precarious balance whenever he is left grappling with the after -effects of natural calamities. Dance of the killer waves

Victims of natural Disasters

Dance of the killer waves

What do you do when all the people in your life are no more? When all that you have worked so hard for disappears? What do you do when your life is washed away in front of you? What do you do, when you realize that due to some quirk of fate, only you remain? Where do you go from there?

When Tsunami waves wiped out lives and lifetime belongings of the hapless residents of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, things seemed hopeless as if nothing mattered any more. Economic backgrounds of the affected may have been different __but the emotion was the same. And the story was one of destruction and despair.

The famous Vailankanni church stands witness to the devastation that struck the town of Nagapattinam in December 2005 even as it survived the onslaught. Saravanan lost his property, his life time’s earnings, Vijaya lost her dear family, her husband, her children, her in laws, everyone in her world. Manivannan has still not come to terms with the fact that he has nothing and nobody left in this world. In a matter of minutes life had come to a stand- still. One moment they had everything that is needed for a happy life, in the very next they were looking for excuses to remain alive and feeling guilty at the same time that they were still breathing while their loved ones had perished. Such is the impact of nature’s fury. Man’s supposed control over his life hangs in precarious balance whenever he is left grappling with the after -effects of natural calamities. Dance of the killer waves

Livelihood! Who Cares?

When CAP Foundation in association with Pepsico Foundation entered Nagapattinam, the picture was grim. More than any other factor, the sheer hopelessness of the affected was a huge dampener. Nobody seemed to care about what was in store for them. Future livelihood, acquiring a skill, having an alternative to fishing to eke out a living, were issues farthest from their minds. Added to that was the expectation of receiving charity which was definitely not on offer.

The day CAP Pepsico Foundation made its foray into the district head-quarters in December 2005, listless faces and flagging spirit greeted the representatives. To gather people for a meeting was a Herculean task because any program that did not guarantee instant cash was not so attractive for the people. And who would be interested in attending a Livelihood Resource Centre that was declaring that self-sustenance and financial independence in the long run was its credo? But like always, dogged perseverance did pay off. Within a short period, the team succeeded in getting people to enroll for various courses. Girls and boys, men and women who were interested in leading a life of dignity by acquiring a special skill started attending the program.

Now a year later, these beneficiaries have proved that nothing can keep the human spirit down. They have all bounced back with vigour like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. The despair stricken individuals have turned into confident young men and women ready to take on life on their terms. A new life awaits them. A new future beckons as they stand on the threshold of a life that depends on none except their own selves. And like they say, the rest is history.

Livelihood

What is the Livelihood Resource Center ?

The Livelihood Resource Center (LRC) Nagapattinam- Naalai Namadhe is a flagship program of CAP Foundation and Pepsico Foundation, aimed at the youth affected by Tsunami.

Livelihood resource Naalai Namadhe undertakes market oriented Employability Skills Development Program (ETP), Entrepreneurship (EDP) and placement support for the beneficiaries in the identified areas of the project. The program is aimed at youth between the age group of 18-28 yrs who are below the poverty line and affected by Tsunami. LRC also garners venture support for implementing this program from government, municipal bodies, corporate, business organizations, professional networks and financial institutions for making the program a viable and replicable model for a public private partnership paradigm.

Helping People Help Themselves

The way a society responds to its citizens’ cry for help in times of need is the most telling testimony of its humanity and concern. But individual suffering needs more than just concern. Besides emotional recovery, they need financial support and the skill needed to survive in the long run. What happens once all external help gets depleted? It’s only oneself that can help one’s self. Like Mahatma Gandhi said

‘God helps only those who help themselves.’ That’s precisely what CAP Pespico’s Naalai Namadhe LRC offers –the ability to stand on one’s own feet and to make one’s skill employable. Linking Learning with Livelihood is the only way through which a society can become self- sufficient. To impart a skill that is employable is perhaps the best form of ammunition to fight the war of deprivation.

Helping people

Program out-comes of Livelihood Resource Center in Nagapattinam Dist

– Imparted livelihood Skill Development Programs for 900 youth of Nagapattinam District
– Provided Enterprise Development Training program for 300 people of Nagapattinam
– Venture support for 64 Micro Enterprises
– Project sustenance of Agro & Fisheries Processing (Micro Enterprise Development)

Demonstrated out-comes

– No. of Centers initiated – 3 (Nagapattinam,Taragambadi,Tirvangadu)
– No. of Candidates enrolled – 335(Nagpattinam – 131,Tarangambadi – 104,Tirvangadu – 100)
– Market Sectors include -Hospitality, Automobile A/C, Refrigeration,Multi Skilled construction workers, IT Enabled services, Customer Relations,Sales and Marketing

Geographical Area Covered for the Program:

Geographic NagapattinamTaragambadiTirvangadu

Socio economic profile of the students

Gender of the Trainees:
Gender of the Trainees
Age of Trainees:
Age of Trainees:
Education of the Trainees:
Education of the Trainees

Family Size of the Trainees:

Family Size of the Trainees

Income of the families:

Income of the families

– Government Departments like DRDA, Industries, Municipality, Fisheris, Agriculture

– Research Institutions like CFTRI, Tuticorin Fisheries College
— CBOs and NGOs

— Credit Institutions like the lead bank, commercial banks, DIC, SFC.

– Targeted people include unemployed youth, growers, fishermen, SHGs, entrepreneurs.

Tough times don’t last, tough people do

When hundreds of boys and girls were floundering with no guidance whatsoever, CAP-Pepsico Foundation’s Project Directors showed the path of LRC. Today, most of the students are not only financially independent but are also supporting their families, looking after their needs and in some cases supporting their siblings’ further education too.

Take the case of Sudha, an alumnas of LRC’s customer relations short-term course. This 20 year old not only works at the Reliance World but also supports her sister who is pursuing her engineering degree in Chennai.Actually, she hands over her salary to her father who takes care of the household expenditure. “If I hadn’t joined LRC, I would probably have become a daily wage labourer like my father. After the Tsunami waves took away everything, we were heartbroken. My mother always lamented about not having had a son. I am sure she is proud of me now” On weekdays she works nine-to-five and gets back home to cook for her father. On weekends she goes to watch a movie in a theatre. “I love Surya and Jyothika,” she grins excitedly. Life is as normal as it can be for any 20- year- old. “I had thdiscontinued school due to lack of money when I was in the 8 standard. I only knew Tamil then but after I enrolled for the customer relations course in LRC, I learnt English and became confident to face the world. I used to be very shy before. I had never

Sudha

seen a film in my life in a theatre before I started earning but now I can watch one movie in a month if I feel like. Life has become interesting though I wish we hadn’t lost my mother.” What about marriage? “What’s the hurry? Let my sister complete her education,” she says adding, “I will only consider a man who will allow my parents to live with us.”

For 19-year-old Chaitra, life has never been so good. Born into a family of daily wage earners, as one of the 6 children, all she had experienced in her life was an anxiety about her next meal. If you thought that was bad enough, the worst tragedy hit in the form of Tsunami. The entire family perished except Chitra who had gone out for a brief while to help out her mother’s employer with stitching clothes for her new born. The next thing she knew was that the two-room tenement with asbestos roof that was her home in Vailankanni had been washed away and along with it her entire world. “I couldn’t stop crying for a month. My aunt was kind enough to give me shelter but I knew how difficult her financial situation was. She already had three mouths to feed excluding hers. I was planning to approach homes for domestic work when my friend told me about LRC. I enrolled for housekeeping course. At that time, my only desire was to survive and not be a burden on my aunt. But once I started working in a hotel and earning 1,500 Rupees, my ambition to grow in my career has taken root. I want to support my aunt because she stood by me in the worst phase of my life. My aunt gave me shelter and LRC has given me a new life. A life of respect and hope.”

For 20 year-old Saravanan LRC represents financial independence and freedom from hunger. “I earn only Rs.1000 as a helper in an electronics workshop but I feel secure in the knowledge that my family doesn’t have to go hungry again. When Tsunami waves hit my home, I had gone to my sister’s house. First I noticed that the birds were behaving strangely flying all over the place chirping at a high pitch. Then the word spread around that there was water everywhere. I ran home only to see
that everything was damaged. The remnants of our house were next to nothing. Everything was beyond recognition. Luckily, my father and sisters were safe. My father was into fishing before. Now, he’s so traumatized that he refuses to go anywhere near the sea. We had to go hungry for several days until we received help.”
Saravanan
For people who lost everything in the Tsunami, it was not just about eceiving food and shelter for few days, the concern was more `what about tomorrow and the days after? “Luckily for me, with the help of LRC I completed my refrigerator mechanic course and found employment immediately. At least we don’t have to go hungry any more. Once I have enough money, I would like to start my own repair shop.”
Helen Keller once said ‘a person without vision is the one who’s truly blind’ Chandru, a 22- year- old resident of Nagapattinam has a great vision of his life. His eyesight, however, has diminished over the years and he is totally blind now.
A product of consanguineous marriage, Chandru had a blurred vision, which got worse from the time he was ten years old. His parents took him from one doctor to another despite dire financial constraints. Every doctor pronounced the same verdict that his condition was congenital and retinal nerves were beyond repair. “It was devastating when my mother disclosed the news to me. For a few days I couldn’t eat or sleep but gradually I made truce with my condition. I had no other option in any case.”

Life as a blind boy was tough but over the years his other faculties had adapted to his lack of eyesight. He learnt Braille in a school for the blind in Pondicherry. Things
were more or less under his control when his father died of a heart attack. That put an end to the steady income he brought home as a daily wage labourer. His relatives supported his mother till she found a job in a household. That too was short lived. His mother’s employers lost everything to Tsunami and could not afford to hire domestic help. Once again, the mother-son duo, were back at the mercy of their relatives. That’s when the local employment exchange informed him about a road show. He sought the help of a friend to reach the venue where he learnt about CAP Foundation Pepsico’s Livelihood Resource Centre. He got himself a bus pass in the quota for physically handicapped and enrolled himself for a vocational course.

His day begins as early as 5 am. He walks 6 kms to reach the bus stop and boards the bus at 7.30 am to reach the Nagapattinam LRC at 9 am. His mother ekes out a living by selling phenyle and candles, incense sticks door to door. Chandru hopes to find a job as soon as he finishes his course. In the event of not finding one, he hopes to set up his own photocopier. His hopes and dreams are what keep him going.

MICRO ENTERPRISES OF LRC

Lessons from Adversity

A few kilometers away from Nagapattinam, lies a typical south Indian hamlet called Kivelur. No, Tsunami did not deal its death-blow on the people here but it did on their livelihood. All the men in this area were employed as farm hands in agricultural fields and the entire cultivable farm area was wiped away by the killer waves taking along with them the daily bread from the residents of this area.

Saroja, 49, woke up one day to the reality that her husband and two sons were unemployed overnight. The harvest that they had toiled over for days and nights had been reduced to othing. The next question was `where do we get our next meal from?’ The daily wages the three men earned were just about enough for them to get through a day. And now, even that was gone. “I have questioned God all my life – if you had to starve us like this, why did you let us be born? Before I got married my father and mother used to work as farm labourers too. It was not like I was seeing scarcity the first time. I was always used to minimal intake of food in order to ensure that the rest of my family had enough to eat. But when even that source was snatched away by cruel fate, I just wanted to die. But how could I? I had to live for the sake of my family. Soon, my husband and sons found menial jobs and the situation improved in the sense that we had enough to have one good meal a day. That’s when Venkat from CAP Foundation visited us. He told us about their micro finance program. I decided to buy a cow and they granted Saroja

me Rs.12, 000 towards the cost of the cow. From the day I bought my kamadhenu, my life has changed for the better. She gives five litres of milk a day. I earn Rs.40 a day. I have repaid most of my loan. Once I repay, they have promised me additional loan to buy another cow. Now I am looking forward to my sons’ marriages. I will definitely encourage my daughters-in-law to be financially independent.”

Vijaya Rani, 28, would often stand in front of her hut wondering if she could ever lend a helping hand to her husband in fending for the family. He meant the world to her. In the last nine years of their married life, she had only seen him slog. Initially, he smiled a lot more. But that was before the children had made their appearance. Actually, even after she had given birth to their first child, a daughter whom he had named Shobhiya,she had seen him smile whenever he cuddled the baby. But of late, especially after she had their third child, he had become so aloof. What else did she expect? With prices hitting the ceiling and income dwindling, how could she expect him to be cheerful? At least before Tsunami, when he was working in an agricultural field, he had more time to relax and be with the family. Vijaya Rani
When Venkat visited their area, Navamani and Vijaya expressed their desire to borrow money to rear cows. Rs.12,000 was sanctioned to each of them. A month later they had earned enough to pay their monthly instalments. Says Vijaya, “ The day I started my own earning was the brightest day of my life. My desire to help my husband to run the home has been realized now. Our lives have improved tremendously. My daughters have begun going to a nearby school. Future looks bright.”
After the fields had been washed away, he had begun working as a construction worker. The labour was back breaking and the money, a pittance. And yet, he had no choice but to go back day after day. In her heart of hearts she knew that if there was more money he would definitely be happier. Probably return to his old self. Just yesterday when he had handed over Rs. 200 for the whole week’s expenditure, she felt so bad. One earning member and four mouths to feed. There were times he fed the children, who without a care in the world ate up all the food she had cooked, and he stayed hungry. At such times she felt a deep pain. She wanted to help him. She had to help him. Somehow. One day she walked up to her friend Navamani’s hut in the next lane and shared her concern. Navamani told her about CAP Foundation’s micro enterprise programme. Vijaya knew what she wanted. She wanted to buy a cow and sell the milk. That way she could be home to look after her young babies.

For childhood friends Veeramani and Varadarajan (38) it was a dream come true when their bricks were fired at their kiln. The capital was given by CAP Foundation for their enterprise. Veeramani is happy that he can now give his children a better future and Varadarajan is looking forward to getting married. Shivakumar, Selvan, Dorairaj, Anandamurthy and Ramamurthy are all partners in the brick enterprise. Life seems promising, they all say, after they discovered CAP Foundation’s micro enterprise.
These are just pointers to one universal reality that when given a helping hand at the right time all communities are capable of becoming self reliant and prosperous. Proving that CAP Foundation’s credo `Linking Learning and Livelihood’ is the only sure fire way of human beings realizing their potential.

Veeramani and Varadarajan

Road Ahead:

Though a phase of the LRC Nagapattinam has reached its conclusion, the program has not come to an end. Enthused by the success of the Pepsico CAP Foundation’s LRC project, ILO, CII and SST have offered their ongoing support to the next leg of the program. Saga of hope continues and the story of Livelihood Resource Centre lives on…

Acknowledgements

We are immensely grateful to all those who have been our associates in the project directly or indirectly.

We sincerely thank:

– PepsiCo Holdings India Private Limited
– District Collector, Nagapattinam
– Additional Collector, Nagapattinam, In charge of rehabilitation programs
– Project officer, DRDA
– Agricultural department
– NABARD
– Manager, Lead Bank
– WARD – ( Women’s Association for Rural Development)
– KRDS – ( Kamaraj Rural Development Society)
– NAMCO – ( National Mother & Child Welfare Organisation)
– OfFeR
– CBO s
– Local leaders
– Police department
– Business Mentors
– Employers
– Facilitators and the students of LRC, Nagapattinam
The project wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated commitment of all these people.

Victims of Disaster-Tsunami Survivors

The Tsunami devastated the lives of many people living in the coastal districts of Tamilnadu and Kerala on 26th Dec.04. It had a strong effect on their daily lives and livelihood as well. Many government and non-government organizations came forward for rescue, relief and rehabilitation of those affected by Tsunami. The fishermen community and people who were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood were the most affected by Tsunami. Based on extensive consultations with the community members, CAP preferred to work on sustainable rehabilitation of the Tsunami affected families through an intervention that allowed diversification of their livelihood base beyond traditional fishing and related activities.

CAP partnered with PEPSICO, International Labour Organisation, USAID and United Nations Development Programme to create sustainable livelihoods for the families affected by Tsunami over 3 years. 3344 youth from Tsunami affected families and villages were provided employability and job placement linked training in courses such as Information Technology Enabled Services, Customer Relations and Sales, Hospitality, Repairs & Maintenance and Health Care, Cell phone repairing. 65% of the students were between 18-22 years of age. 48% of all trainees were females. 83% of the youth had education between the 10th and 12th grades in school. Alomst all of them belonged to the disadvantaged Dalit community.

M. Nandhini:

I am M. Nandhini belonging to a poor fisherman family living at Pachaiyankuppam near Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. We don’t have boats and nets of our own. My father Mr.T.Muthukumaran is going into the sea for fishing on daily wages basis. The monthly income of my father may range from Rs.1500 to Rs.1800 per month. I have a brother and a sister who are studying.

My village was washed away during the Tsunami cyclone. Tsunami changed not only the face of the village but lives of all of us. Fortunately, there was no loss of human life in my family. But I saw many people mourning the death of their near and dear ones. Somehow I was not able to get over with the aftermath of Tsunami. My mind would constantly recollect the images of the Tsunami.

I studied in the Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Cuddalore upto 12th Std. But I could not pass the examinations. With this qualification I could not find a decent job. My family condition was so worse that I had to search for some job irrespective of its salary being reasonable or not.

One day I witnessed the road show conducted by CAP Foundation for the Employability Training Center at Cuddalore. I considered that this was one of the God-sent opportunities I had come across in my life. I came to the Center and wrote the Interest Inventory Test. The result of the test revealed my interest in business line. So, I was offered the Customer Relation and Sales course. I want to mention that I never had to spend any amount to learn the course. I completed the course in 3 months. The Life skill session helped me to increase my confidence level. It also helped me to put Tsunami behind and look forward in life.

At the end of the training , my faculty had taken pains to place me in a decent job. I was placed in a commercial concern called Omlock Agency at Puduchery as a Sales Executive with a salary of Rs.5100/- per month. After two years the company opened a new branch at Cuddalore and posted me Branch-incharge and raised the salary from Rs.5100 to Rs.7300/

I married a very good gentleman three months ago and am living along with my husband. If God saved me from Tsunami, this programme gave me a new life.

S. Deepika:

I am S.Deepika. I belong to a poor fisherman family. I live with my parents at Cuddalore. My father Mr.P.Sekar was the only earning member of the family. Our life was restricted to Kuppam and Sea. I hadn’tt seen any other place in my life till this training programme. After Tsunami our lives came to standstill. During Tsunami at one point, we thought we also would be washed away. I cannot forget the huge waves coming towards us.

After Tsunami many NGOs came for relief but rehabilitation part was not focused. We had no skills in the family to look beyond sea for livelihood. But after the Tsunami we started looking for other options for our livelihood.

After passing the Higher Secondary Course, I was idle at home. This educational qualification was not adequate to secure a decent job as it had provided me no special skills. The road show conducted by the faculties of the Employability Training Center attracted me. I was clear from the beginning that I wanted to join computer training course.

I came to the Center and got admitted to the Information Technology Enabled Services course. I learnt the course for three months.

On successful completion of the course I was sent for interviews and got a placement at ‘ihorse’, Puduchery. I work for 8 hours a day and earn a monthly salary of Rs.2700/- at the time of joining in the company. In addition I have also been provided accommodation without having to pay the rent.

I am happy that my earnings have helped my father with additional money to meet the family expenses. I am satisfied with my present job as it helps me keep in touch with my subject. I feel that the training imparted to me free of fees has opened a successful career to me.

My salary increased from Rs.2700/ to Rs.4500/ and I got married one and half months ago and am happy with the way things are currently placed in life.

Thangaraj:

He is a youth of the Fishermen community at Pulicat, Tamil Nadu. He was basically a very adamant young man and a rude student in the class. He was often found bossing others and always wants special attention from everybody. In the computer class, he would want to come first and occupy a system even if the students are sent in batches and he would need to follow his turn on the computer. Once when he was told to fall in line to allow others their fair chance, he took away the fuse of the electricity connection and let the class into lot of problems and difficulties.

Three months and many experiences later, Thangaraj got a job as a local company for a salary of Rs.3500/- per month. He says” I never realized what an unlikeable person I was. The different topics of the Life Skills module and IYLDP enabled me to realize and understand the various skills needed for an individual to adapt and learn the modalities of life.”

Slowly but surely, there were perceptible changes in his behavior. His concentration in class improved . Through the Life skills, he modified his rude behaviour and there were a lot of visible difference in the way he interacted with the other students and faculty. His outlook to many issues and situations got changed and he learnt to respect others and behave logically and responsibly with others.

I understood the meaning and value of Interpersonal skills, conflict resolutions and workreadiness and other skills required to succeed in life with strengths and not by bullying others. I found the person Individual Youth Learning Development Program worked very well in my case and I came out a very different person – one I liked a lot more and realized that others too now really liked me.

Suman:

Suman is a youth from the traditional fishermen community at Pulicat, an island off the coast of Tamil Nadu. All male members of this community go fishing into the sea for their daily bread. He is the son of the fishermen community leader and was basically a very bigheaded youth of the island. However, he was not happy with the way his life was going because of the uncertainty of his occupation, especially after the Tsunami cyclone. This was also the predicament of the whole fishermen community.

CAP Foundation started an alternative employability training program for the youth of the fishermen community who opted for diversification of the traditional livelihood base. Suman was one of those who joined the program and was enrolled into the Customer Relations and Sales Course.

Suman’s participation in the Life Skill sessions of the program gave him the time and understanding to think of his life in another outlook. He started to realize that as an individual he can lead a more civilized and meaningful life. He was developing a lot of positive attitude, discipline and time management skills that even one day when there was no boat service to cross the backwater and reach the center as he had to everyday, he crossed from one point to the another point by swimming for 30 minutes in order to reach the class on time. By the end of the course, he was demonstrating a lot of responsibility and took leadership roles among the students and evolved as an example for others.

He learnt to move with others with all their difference by understanding that each individual is different and that we have to apply our conflict management skills in order to live in a community with harmony. Later he got a job, but he decided to open a stationary and fancy shop rather depending on a job with someone. The shop building was initially taken on a rental basis. But soon, his business started doing very well and now he owns a shop for himself and along with his mother and brother is also taking care of the shop. His brother has now joined the Employability Training Center to improve his skills for life and work.

Sudhakar:

I am Sudhakar. I come from a Fishermen Community lived at Cuddalore, a coastal district in Tamil Nadu.

On 26th Dec-04, the horrible Tsunami cyclone washed away everything at my place. On that terrible day, I lost all my family members. I was lone survivor in my family.

I thought my life was over. I felt frustrated and defeated. I had nothing to look forward to and nothing to hold on to in Life. In a frustrated state, I started roaming in my village with no intention or direction, not focusing on anything. My uncle came to my place and counseled and took me along with him to his house at Chenglepet. There he introduced me to someone who gave me a job as a daily wage worker. Although all this was to get me back to normal life, I could never forget the disaster and the devastation it caused.

Sudhakar

One day I witnessed the Road show in my village. It sounded different. I walked in and took the aptitude test. After some counseling I was enrolled into the ITES course. I slowly started finding the course interesting and especially the Lifeskill sessions gave me moral strength to try and overcome the trauma..

After I completed the course I was helped to get a very good job at Infosysis. Now I get a salary Rs.6000/- and have something to look forward to everyday and for the future.

My sincere thanks to CAP Foundation.

When CAP Foundation in association with Pepsico Foundation entered Nagapattinam, the picture was grim. More than any other factor, the sheer hopelessness of the affected was a huge dampener. Nobody seemed to care about what was in store for them. Future livelihood, acquiring a skill, having an alternative to fishing to eke out a living, were issues farthest from their minds. Added to that was the expectation of receiving charity which was definitely not on offer.

The day CAP Pepsico Foundation made its foray into the district head-quarters in December 2005, listless faces and flagging spirit greeted the representatives. To gather people for a meeting was a Herculean task because any program that did not guarantee instant cash was not so attractive for the people. And who would be interested in attending a Livelihood Resource Centre that was declaring that self-sustenance and financial independence in the long run was its credo? But like always, dogged perseverance did pay off. Within a short period, the team succeeded in getting people to enroll for various courses. Girls and boys, men and women who were interested in leading a life of dignity by acquiring a special skill started attending the program.

Now a year later, these beneficiaries have proved that nothing can keep the human spirit down. They have all bounced back with vigour like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. The despair stricken individuals have turned into confident young men and women ready to take on life on their terms. A new life awaits them. A new future beckons as they stand on the threshold of a life that depends on none except their own selves. And like they say, the rest is history.

Livelihood

What is the Livelihood Resource Center ?

The Livelihood Resource Center (LRC) Nagapattinam- Naalai Namadhe is a flagship program of CAP Foundation and Pepsico Foundation, aimed at the youth affected by Tsunami.

Livelihood resource Naalai Namadhe undertakes market oriented Employability Skills Development Program (ETP), Entrepreneurship (EDP) and placement support for the beneficiaries in the identified areas of the project. The program is aimed at youth between the age group of 18-28 yrs who are below the poverty line and affected by Tsunami. LRC also garners venture support for implementing this program from government, municipal bodies, corporate, business organizations, professional networks and financial institutions for making the program a viable and replicable model for a public private partnership paradigm.

Helping People Help Themselves

The way a society responds to its citizens’ cry for help in times of need is the most telling testimony of its humanity and concern. But individual suffering needs more than just concern. Besides emotional recovery, they need financial support and the skill needed to survive in the long run. What happens once all external help gets depleted? It’s only oneself that can help one’s self. Like Mahatma Gandhi said

‘God helps only those who help themselves.’ That’s precisely what CAP Pespico’s Naalai Namadhe LRC offers –the ability to stand on one’s own feet and to make one’s skill employable. Linking Learning with Livelihood is the only way through which a society can become self- sufficient. To impart a skill that is employable is perhaps the best form of ammunition to fight the war of deprivation.

Helping people

Program out-comes of Livelihood Resource Center in Nagapattinam Dist

– Imparted livelihood Skill Development Programs for 900 youth of Nagapattinam District

– Provided Enterprise Development Training program for 300 people of Nagapattinam

– Venture support for 64 Micro Enterprises

– Project sustenance of Agro & Fisheries Processing (Micro Enterprise Development)

Demonstrated out-comes

– No. of Centers initiated – 3 (Nagapattinam,Taragambadi,Tirvangadu)

– No. of Candidates enrolled – 335(Nagpattinam – 131,Tarangambadi – 104,Tirvangadu – 100)

– Market Sectors include -Hospitality, Automobile A/C, Refrigeration,Multi Skilled construction workers, IT Enabled services, Customer Relations,Sales and Marketing

Geographical Area Covered for the Program:

Geographic NagapattinamTaragambadiTirvangadu

Socio economic profile of the students

Gender of the Trainees:

Gender of the Trainees

Age of Trainees:

Age of Trainees:

Education of the Trainees:

Education of the Trainees

Family Size of the Trainees:

Family Size of the Trainees

Income of the families:

Income of the families

– Government Departments like DRDA, Industries, Municipality, Fisheris, Agriculture

– Research Institutions like CFTRI, Tuticorin Fisheries College

— CBOs and NGOs

— Credit Institutions like the lead bank, commercial banks, DIC, SFC.

– Targeted people include unemployed youth, growers, fishermen, SHGs, entrepreneurs.

Tough times don’t last, tough people do

When hundreds of boys and girls were floundering with no guidance whatsoever, CAP-Pepsico Foundation’s Project Directors showed the path of LRC. Today, most of the students are not only financially independent but are also supporting their families, looking after their needs and in some cases supporting their siblings’ further education too.

Take the case of Sudha, an alumnas of LRC’s customer relations short-term course. This 20 year old not only works at the Reliance World but also supports her sister who is pursuing her engineering degree in Chennai.Actually, she hands over her salary to her father who takes care of the household expenditure. “If I hadn’t joined LRC, I would probably have become a daily wage labourer like my father. After the Tsunami waves took away everything, we were heartbroken. My mother always lamented about not having had a son. I am sure she is proud of me now” On weekdays she works nine-to-five and gets back home to cook for her father. On weekends she goes to watch a movie in a theatre. “I love Surya and Jyothika,” she grins excitedly. Life is as normal as it can be for any 20- year- old. “I had thdiscontinued school due to lack of money when I was in the 8 standard. I only knew Tamil then but after I enrolled for the customer relations course in LRC, I learnt English and became confident to face the world. I used to be very shy before. I had never

Sudha

seen a film in my life in a theatre before I started earning but now I can watch one movie in a month if I feel like. Life has become interesting though I wish we hadn’t lost my mother.” What about marriage? “What’s the hurry? Let my sister complete her education,” she says adding, “I will only consider a man who will allow my parents to live with us.”

For 19-year-old Chaitra, life has never been so good. Born into a family of daily wage earners, as one of the 6 children, all she had experienced in her life was an anxiety about her next meal. If you thought that was bad enough, the worst tragedy hit in the form of Tsunami. The entire family perished except Chitra who had gone out for a brief while to help out her mother’s employer with stitching clothes for her new born. The next thing she knew was that the two-room tenement with asbestos roof that was her home in Vailankanni had been washed away and along with it her entire world. “I couldn’t stop crying for a month. My aunt was kind enough to give me shelter but I knew how difficult her financial situation was. She already had three mouths to feed excluding hers. I was planning to approach homes for domestic work when my friend told me about LRC. I enrolled for housekeeping course. At that time, my only desire was to survive and not be a burden on my aunt. But once I started working in a hotel and earning 1,500 Rupees, my ambition to grow in my career has taken root. I want to support my aunt because she stood by me in the worst phase of my life. My aunt gave me shelter and LRC has given me a new life. A life of respect and hope.”

For 20 year-old Saravanan LRC represents financial independence and freedom from hunger. “I earn only Rs.1000 as a helper in an electronics workshop but I feel secure in the knowledge that my family doesn’t have to go hungry again. When Tsunami waves hit my home, I had gone to my sister’s house. First I noticed that the birds were behaving strangely flying all over the place chirping at a high pitch. Then the word spread around that there was water everywhere. I ran home only to see

that everything was damaged. The remnants of our house were next to nothing. Everything was beyond recognition. Luckily, my father and sisters were safe. My father was into fishing before. Now, he’s so traumatized that he refuses to go anywhere near the sea. We had to go hungry for several days until we received help.” Saravanan

For people who lost everything in the Tsunami, it was not just about eceiving food and shelter for few days, the concern was more `what about tomorrow and the days after? “Luckily for me, with the help of LRC I completed my refrigerator mechanic course and found employment immediately. At least we don’t have to go hungry any more. Once I have enough money, I would like to start my own repair shop.”

Helen Keller once said ‘a person without vision is the one who’s truly blind’ Chandru, a 22- year- old resident of Nagapattinam has a great vision of his life. His eyesight, however, has diminished over the years and he is totally blind now.

A product of consanguineous marriage, Chandru had a blurred vision, which got worse from the time he was ten years old. His parents took him from one doctor to another despite dire financial constraints. Every doctor pronounced the same verdict that his condition was congenital and retinal nerves were beyond repair. “It was devastating when my mother disclosed the news to me. For a few days I couldn’t eat or sleep but gradually I made truce with my condition. I had no other option in any case.”

Life as a blind boy was tough but over the years his other faculties had adapted to his lack of eyesight. He learnt Braille in a school for the blind in Pondicherry. Things

were more or less under his control when his father died of a heart attack. That put an end to the steady income he brought home as a daily wage labourer. His relatives supported his mother till she found a job in a household. That too was short lived. His mother’s employers lost everything to Tsunami and could not afford to hire domestic help. Once again, the mother-son duo, were back at the mercy of their relatives. That’s when the local employment exchange informed him about a road show. He sought the help of a friend to reach the venue where he learnt about CAP Foundation Pepsico’s Livelihood Resource Centre. He got himself a bus pass in the quota for physically handicapped and enrolled himself for a vocational course.

His day begins as early as 5 am. He walks 6 kms to reach the bus stop and boards the bus at 7.30 am to reach the Nagapattinam LRC at 9 am. His mother ekes out a living by selling phenyle and candles, incense sticks door to door. Chandru hopes to find a job as soon as he finishes his course. In the event of not finding one, he hopes to set up his own photocopier. His hopes and dreams are what keep him going.

MICRO ENTERPRISES OF LRC

Lessons from Adversity

A few kilometers away from Nagapattinam, lies a typical south Indian hamlet called Kivelur. No, Tsunami did not deal its death-blow on the people here but it did on their livelihood. All the men in this area were employed as farm hands in agricultural fields and the entire cultivable farm area was wiped away by the killer waves taking along with them the daily bread from the residents of this area.

Saroja, 49, woke up one day to the reality that her husband and two sons were unemployed overnight. The harvest that they had toiled over for days and nights had been reduced to othing. The next question was `where do we get our next meal from?’ The daily wages the three men earned were just about enough for them to get through a day. And now, even that was gone. “I have questioned God all my life – if you had to starve us like this, why did you let us be born? Before I got married my father and mother used to work as farm labourers too. It was not like I was seeing scarcity the first time. I was always used to minimal intake of food in order to ensure that the rest of my family had enough to eat. But when even that source was snatched away by cruel fate, I just wanted to die. But how could I? I had to live for the sake of my family. Soon, my husband and sons found menial jobs and the situation improved in the sense that we had enough to have one good meal a day. That’s when Venkat from CAP Foundation visited us. He told us about their micro finance program. I decided to buy a cow and they granted Saroja

me Rs.12, 000 towards the cost of the cow. From the day I bought my kamadhenu, my life has changed for the better. She gives five litres of milk a day. I earn Rs.40 a day. I have repaid most of my loan. Once I repay, they have promised me additional loan to buy another cow. Now I am looking forward to my sons’ marriages. I will definitely encourage my daughters-in-law to be financially independent.”

Vijaya Rani, 28, would often stand in front of her hut wondering if she could ever lend a helping hand to her husband in fending for the family. He meant the world to her. In the last nine years of their married life, she had only seen him slog. Initially, he smiled a lot more. But that was before the children had made their appearance. Actually, even after she had given birth to their first child, a daughter whom he had named Shobhiya,she had seen him smile whenever he cuddled the baby. But of late, especially after she had their third child, he had become so aloof. What else did she expect? With prices hitting the ceiling and income dwindling, how could she expect him to be cheerful? At least before Tsunami, when he was working in an agricultural field, he had more time to relax and be with the family. Vijaya Rani

When Venkat visited their area, Navamani and Vijaya expressed their desire to borrow money to rear cows. Rs.12,000 was sanctioned to each of them. A month later they had earned enough to pay their monthly instalments. Says Vijaya, “ The day I started my own earning was the brightest day of my life. My desire to help my husband to run the home has been realized now. Our lives have improved tremendously. My daughters have begun going to a nearby school. Future looks bright.”

After the fields had been washed away, he had begun working as a construction worker. The labour was back breaking and the money, a pittance. And yet, he had no choice but to go back day after day. In her heart of hearts she knew that if there was more money he would definitely be happier. Probably return to his old self. Just yesterday when he had handed over Rs. 200 for the whole week’s expenditure, she felt so bad. One earning member and four mouths to feed. There were times he fed the children, who without a care in the world ate up all the food she had cooked, and he stayed hungry. At such times she felt a deep pain. She wanted to help him. She had to help him. Somehow. One day she walked up to her friend Navamani’s hut in the next lane and shared her concern. Navamani told her about CAP Foundation’s micro enterprise programme. Vijaya knew what she wanted. She wanted to buy a cow and sell the milk. That way she could be home to look after her young babies.

For childhood friends Veeramani and Varadarajan (38) it was a dream come true when their bricks were fired at their kiln. The capital was given by CAP Foundation for their enterprise. Veeramani is happy that he can now give his children a better future and Varadarajan is looking forward to getting married. Shivakumar, Selvan, Dorairaj, Anandamurthy and Ramamurthy are all partners in the brick enterprise. Life seems promising, they all say, after they discovered CAP Foundation’s micro enterprise.

These are just pointers to one universal reality that when given a helping hand at the right time all communities are capable of becoming self reliant and prosperous. Proving that CAP Foundation’s credo `Linking Learning and Livelihood’ is the only sure fire way of human beings realizing their potential.

Veeramani and Varadarajan

Road Ahead:

Though a phase of the LRC Nagapattinam has reached its conclusion, the program has not come to an end. Enthused by the success of the Pepsico CAP Foundation’s LRC project, ILO, CII and SST have offered their ongoing support to the next leg of the program. Saga of hope continues and the story of Livelihood Resource Centre lives on…

Acknowledgements

We are immensely grateful to all those who have been our associates in the project directly or indirectly.

We sincerely thank:

– PepsiCo Holdings India Private Limited

– District Collector, Nagapattinam

– Additional Collector, Nagapattinam, In charge of rehabilitation programs

– Project officer, DRDA

– Agricultural department

– NABARD

– Manager, Lead Bank

– WARD – ( Women’s Association for Rural Development)

– KRDS – ( Kamaraj Rural Development Society)

– NAMCO – ( National Mother & Child Welfare Organisation)

– OfFeR

– CBO s

– Local leaders

– Police department

– Business Mentors

– Employers

– Facilitators and the students of LRC, Nagapattinam

The project wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated commitment of all these people.

Victims of Disaster-Tsunami Survivors

The Tsunami devastated the lives of many people living in the coastal districts of Tamilnadu and Kerala on 26th Dec.04. It had a strong effect on their daily lives and livelihood as well. Many government and non-government organizations came forward for rescue, relief and rehabilitation of those affected by Tsunami. The fishermen community and people who were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood were the most affected by Tsunami. Based on extensive consultations with the community members, CAP preferred to work on sustainable rehabilitation of the Tsunami affected families through an intervention that allowed diversification of their livelihood base beyond traditional fishing and related activities.

CAP partnered with PEPSICO, International Labour Organisation, USAID and United Nations Development Programme to create sustainable livelihoods for the families affected by Tsunami over 3 years. 3344 youth from Tsunami affected families and villages were provided employability and job placement linked training in courses such as Information Technology Enabled Services, Customer Relations and Sales, Hospitality, Repairs & Maintenance and Health Care, Cell phone repairing. 65% of the students were between 18-22 years of age. 48% of all trainees were females. 83% of the youth had education between the 10th and 12th grades in school. Alomst all of them belonged to the disadvantaged Dalit community.

M. Nandhini:

I am M. Nandhini belonging to a poor fisherman family living at Pachaiyankuppam near Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. We don’t have boats and nets of our own. My father Mr.T.Muthukumaran is going into the sea for fishing on daily wages basis. The monthly income of my father may range from Rs.1500 to Rs.1800 per month. I have a brother and a sister who are studying.

My village was washed away during the Tsunami cyclone. Tsunami changed not only the face of the village but lives of all of us. Fortunately, there was no loss of human life in my family. But I saw many people mourning the death of their near and dear ones. Somehow I was not able to get over with the aftermath of Tsunami. My mind would constantly recollect the images of the Tsunami.

I studied in the Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Cuddalore upto 12th Std. But I could not pass the examinations. With this qualification I could not find a decent job. My family condition was so worse that I had to search for some job irrespective of its salary being reasonable or not.

One day I witnessed the road show conducted by CAP Foundation for the Employability Training Center at Cuddalore. I considered that this was one of the God-sent opportunities I had come across in my life. I came to the Center and wrote the Interest Inventory Test. The result of the test revealed my interest in business line. So, I was offered the Customer Relation and Sales course. I want to mention that I never had to spend any amount to learn the course. I completed the course in 3 months. The Life skill session helped me to increase my confidence level. It also helped me to put Tsunami behind and look forward in life.

At the end of the training , my faculty had taken pains to place me in a decent job. I was placed in a commercial concern called Omlock Agency at Puduchery as a Sales Executive with a salary of Rs.5100/- per month. After two years the company opened a new branch at Cuddalore and posted me Branch-incharge and raised the salary from Rs.5100 to Rs.7300/

I married a very good gentleman three months ago and am living along with my husband. If God saved me from Tsunami, this programme gave me a new life.

S. Deepika:

I am S.Deepika. I belong to a poor fisherman family. I live with my parents at Cuddalore. My father Mr.P.Sekar was the only earning member of the family. Our life was restricted to Kuppam and Sea. I hadn’tt seen any other place in my life till this training programme. After Tsunami our lives came to standstill. During Tsunami at one point, we thought we also would be washed away. I cannot forget the huge waves coming towards us.

After Tsunami many NGOs came for relief but rehabilitation part was not focused. We had no skills in the family to look beyond sea for livelihood. But after the Tsunami we started looking for other options for our livelihood.

After passing the Higher Secondary Course, I was idle at home. This educational qualification was not adequate to secure a decent job as it had provided me no special skills. The road show conducted by the faculties of the Employability Training Center attracted me. I was clear from the beginning that I wanted to join computer training course.

I came to the Center and got admitted to the Information Technology Enabled Services course. I learnt the course for three months.

On successful completion of the course I was sent for interviews and got a placement at ‘ihorse’, Puduchery. I work for 8 hours a day and earn a monthly salary of Rs.2700/- at the time of joining in the company. In addition I have also been provided accommodation without having to pay the rent.

I am happy that my earnings have helped my father with additional money to meet the family expenses. I am satisfied with my present job as it helps me keep in touch with my subject. I feel that the training imparted to me free of fees has opened a successful career to me.

My salary increased from Rs.2700/ to Rs.4500/ and I got married one and half months ago and am happy with the way things are currently placed in life.

Thangaraj:

He is a youth of the Fishermen community at Pulicat, Tamil Nadu. He was basically a very adamant young man and a rude student in the class. He was often found bossing others and always wants special attention from everybody. In the computer class, he would want to come first and occupy a system even if the students are sent in batches and he would need to follow his turn on the computer. Once when he was told to fall in line to allow others their fair chance, he took away the fuse of the electricity connection and let the class into lot of problems and difficulties.

Three months and many experiences later, Thangaraj got a job as a local company for a salary of Rs.3500/- per month. He says” I never realized what an unlikeable person I was. The different topics of the Life Skills module and IYLDP enabled me to realize and understand the various skills needed for an individual to adapt and learn the modalities of life.”

Slowly but surely, there were perceptible changes in his behavior. His concentration in class improved . Through the Life skills, he modified his rude behaviour and there were a lot of visible difference in the way he interacted with the other students and faculty. His outlook to many issues and situations got changed and he learnt to respect others and behave logically and responsibly with others.

I understood the meaning and value of Interpersonal skills, conflict resolutions and workreadiness and other skills required to succeed in life with strengths and not by bullying others. I found the person Individual Youth Learning Development Program worked very well in my case and I came out a very different person – one I liked a lot more and realized that others too now really liked me.

Suman:

Suman is a youth from the traditional fishermen community at Pulicat, an island off the coast of Tamil Nadu. All male members of this community go fishing into the sea for their daily bread. He is the son of the fishermen community leader and was basically a very bigheaded youth of the island. However, he was not happy with the way his life was going because of the uncertainty of his occupation, especially after the Tsunami cyclone. This was also the predicament of the whole fishermen community.

CAP Foundation started an alternative employability training program for the youth of the fishermen community who opted for diversification of the traditional livelihood base. Suman was one of those who joined the program and was enrolled into the Customer Relations and Sales Course.

Suman’s participation in the Life Skill sessions of the program gave him the time and understanding to think of his life in another outlook. He started to realize that as an individual he can lead a more civilized and meaningful life. He was developing a lot of positive attitude, discipline and time management skills that even one day when there was no boat service to cross the backwater and reach the center as he had to everyday, he crossed from one point to the another point by swimming for 30 minutes in order to reach the class on time. By the end of the course, he was demonstrating a lot of responsibility and took leadership roles among the students and evolved as an example for others.

He learnt to move with others with all their difference by understanding that each individual is different and that we have to apply our conflict management skills in order to live in a community with harmony. Later he got a job, but he decided to open a stationary and fancy shop rather depending on a job with someone. The shop building was initially taken on a rental basis. But soon, his business started doing very well and now he owns a shop for himself and along with his mother and brother is also taking care of the shop. His brother has now joined the Employability Training Center to improve his skills for life and work.

Sudhakar:

I am Sudhakar. I come from a Fishermen Community lived at Cuddalore, a coastal district in Tamil Nadu.

On 26th Dec-04, the horrible Tsunami cyclone washed away everything at my place. On that terrible day, I lost all my family members. I was lone survivor in my family.

I thought my life was over. I felt frustrated and defeated. I had nothing to look forward to and nothing to hold on to in Life. In a frustrated state, I started roaming in my village with no intention or direction, not focusing on anything. My uncle came to my place and counseled and took me along with him to his house at Chenglepet. There he introduced me to someone who gave me a job as a daily wage worker. Although all this was to get me back to normal life, I could never forget the disaster and the devastation it caused.

Sudhakar

One day I witnessed the Road show in my village. It sounded different. I walked in and took the aptitude test. After some counseling I was enrolled into the ITES course. I slowly started finding the course interesting and especially the Lifeskill sessions gave me moral strength to try and overcome the trauma..

After I completed the course I was helped to get a very good job at Infosysis. Now I get a salary Rs.6000/- and have something to look forward to everyday and for the future.

My sincere thanks to CAP Foundation.