Services

Our Services


1. Visitors and Volunteers

The work of the ITWWS is now widely known and our centre in Thandarai receives visitors from all over the world. Photographers, journalists, film makers, botanists, sociologists, anthropologists and educators are some categories of regular visitors.

School and college groups come to see and work in our nursery and other units. Government officials from various departments are brought on tours, or come individually. The network of community based organizations is wide, nationally and internationally, and these visits are a good chance to dialogue about the many social and economic problems that face adivasis.

Visitors with a mission (such as making a film) can stay overnight for a reasonable fee. There are rooms with basic facilities, and simple vegetarian food. Thandarai, our base, is a village about 9 kms from Chinglepet town, Tamilnadu (roughly a two hour drive from Chennai city, or a 40 minute train ride).

It is a beautiful area surrounded by reserve forest. Night sounds include jackal and nightjar, while peacock and partridges are often heard in the morning. Volunteer applications are welcome and there are several “regulars” who come every year. We try to make the volunteer experience mutually enjoyable and useful. Activities would normally include visits to Irula villages, documentation and reporting, nursery and packaging work, office routines and maintenance.

There are opportunities to go “hunting” with the Irulas; no longer for snakes, but for termites, rodents and other small game. However, plenty can be seen and photographed, including snakes.

The best time of year in Thandarai is January to March. These are the cool(er) months, but any time is good if you don’t mind the heat. This area has two monsoons, the south-west (July-September) and the north-east (November-December). Yes, there are power cuts! A flashlight is a great help.

2. Sponsors

Our first donor was Mr Shankar Ranganathan, a conservationist from Mumbai who was impressed with the idea of such a project. The Thandarai land was partly funded by his donation. There have been several other individuals who have given the ITWWS time, money, useful contacts/information.

The Madras Crocodile Bank generously allowed us the use of its premises in the early days. Dr Kate Young, then director of Womankind Worldwide, decided to back the organization and apart from the funding, helped us visualize and plan the mission of the ITWWS. The following list of funding agencies may not be complete and if there is an omission, please inform us.

  • Madras Crocodile Bank
  • Womankind Worldwide
  • Oxfam India
  • NESA
  • Ford Foundation
  • Wastelands Development Board, GOI
  • Action Aid
  • Oxfam Australia
  • NOVIB
  • KNH (Kinder Not Hilfe)
  • NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development)

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