Alleviation of poverty and social transformation

Restoring hope, BUILDING new lives

Conscious attempt by CRUSADE for the past few years have resulted in identifying around 100 of the poorest and destitute families and undertake relief and rehabilitation

CRUSADE helps the poorest of the poor in Sholavaram and Minjur in Tiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu, especially women, to improve their life and escape poverty by providing them with access to various means to manage their lives. CRUSADE ensures that through its work, it creates a difference in the lives of the destitute community in their working areas.

Being a sole breadwinner of the family, Malayammal’s income from MGNREGP (n Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme) was hardly sufficient to run the family with three children. Her husband, after a fall from a coconut tree, is not able to support her. CRUSADE offered them two goats costing Rs 5500. With CRUSADE’s contribution of Rs 4000 and the balance from the couple, this scheme is enabling them to make extra income to send all three children to school. This family will give back the new born kid to another family, identified by CRUSADE.

Who are the Ultra Poor?

Even though the Micro Credit schemes run by Self-Help Groups impacted the poor, the Ultra-Poor who were not part of SHGs, were side-lined. The poor did not have the capacity to save, avail loans & repay or to pay the membership fee and cannot spare time to attend regular group meetings. Still, there are women who are part of SHGs, but are not able to benefit from the group as they can not avail any loan since they are scared of repayment due to lack of regular source of income.

Intense hunger, squalor, poor health and hopelessness of the ultra-poor cause concern. Vicious circle of poverty and extreme deprivation cause considerable hardship to these families even to send their siblings to free government schools. This dire state of the poor made CRUSAE to identify these families and provide them essential support to overcome the misery and helplessness. CRUSADE identifies the poorest through group discussions with the members.

CRUSADE’s methods of supporting the Ultra Poor

  • Education
  • Income Generation
  • Housing
  • Medical


Prior to the Government of Tamil Nadu initiating a similar scheme providing free educational materials and uniforms to school children, CRUSADE provided grants for educational opportunities and encouraged children from ultra-poor families to continue education and reduce dropout.

Income Generation

CRUSADE’s Ultra Poor programme is geared towards creating ways for the poor to generate a steady income to sustain their lives. CRUSADE ensures that women are fully included in income generating activities given their crucial role in rural communities. Encouraging the women and the community to take up an income generating programme brought in positive results to enable children to study and save a small portion for family emergencies.

Rearing goats

Some of the families were interested or had previous experience in rearing goats. One or two goats were given to such families, emerged as life saving measures

A point to note is that each family who get more than one goat needs to honour the conditions of receiving the animal - that is to pass on the first-born kid to another needy family. And the gift continues.


These poor families live in dilapidated housing conditions. They do not have the financial viability or capacity to borrow money to undertake even minor repairs. This resulted in poor health conditions and children not able to concentrate in their studies. CRUSADE with the support of Action Rural Housing provided help to repair such houses.

Read our stories to learn of the community’s struggles and CRUSADE’s approach to reconstruct their houses and bring in visible changes in their lives


The poor community in Sholavaram and Minjur neglect their health due to dire financial hardships. In order to promote growing awareness of the importance of staying healthy and preventing illness, CRUSADE offers medical support to the poor.

They are referred to specialised institutions for proper treatment and are given lifesaving drugs on a continuous basis.

To 35 year old Ashna who is a widow, prosperity means nutritious food for her two daughters and a simple house to live and most of all, the opportunity to educate her youngest daughter. With the initial support of CRUSADE’s goat rearing project, she now has four big goats and five small ones, which are worth about Rs14000. She plans to sell the goats during the festive season to fetch higher returns. She is proud that her investment has multiplied in a short span to meet her expenditures.

Nagabhushnam of Attapalayam village standing in front of her new house built with the support of CRUSADE. “It’s very good now – there is ventilation, no leakage and my children can study comfortably.”

Left alone to take care of herself, the goat rearing scheme brought in much relief to Mariammal. Mariammal says that the goats have yielded three kids now. She says “Previously, I had nothing to eat. But now I have all three meals and have money for my other expenses.”