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Building a better future for young people

The agricultural Tirunelveli District, home to around three million people, in southern Tamil Nadu is famed for its rich, beautiful and diverse landscape. However, the pristine region is marred by serious social problems. Recurring drought, a lack of industrial development, and prevalent inter-caste violence led an increasing number of men to migrate away from the overwhelmingly agricultural area from the early 1990s onwards because of widespread unemployment and poverty. Although patterns of migration are shifting, the total number of emigrants continues to rise – draining the area of many of its educated and skilled people.

Young people in the region in particular suffer from a chronic lack of opportunity, and face immense obstacles in gaining access to work, training, and even healthcare. For those who are HIV positive, orphans, disabled, or members of so-called ‘untouchable’ castes, this marginalization can extend to daily discrimination with lifelong consequences.

Together with its local partner organization, Malteser International has been working in the region since 2006 in order to help give these vulnerable people and their families the chance of a better future.

The economic and social fate of most people in Tirunelveli is governed by the caste system. The social position of a family determines its members’ access to capital, employment, training and even healthcare. For young people from vulnerable groups – like members of the ‘untouchable’ castes, orphans, disabled people, or people with HIV, this can mean daily discrimination with lifelong consequences. The effects of this discrimination, both directly, and in the form of economic inequality, mean that only a comparatively small proportion of these groups continue in school. Most receive very little or no support from their families, and are left facing a future full of uncertainty in very poor state of physical and economic health.

Since 2006, Malteser International has been working with its partner organization ProVision in order to improve the quality of life for these vulnerable young people and their families, as well as to create sustainable ways in which they can help themselves. Together, the partners are currently supporting 3,000 adolescents from particularly difficult backgrounds, as well as their families, in order to raise their chances for better health and education.

To support vulnerable young people into a healthy adulthood by giving them the chance to for an education, improved future employment prospects, better quality of life, and the opportunity to support their families – making a long-term contribution to lifting them out of poverty.

  • Psychological support for young people and their families
  • Social exchange platforms including youth groups and ‘get-togethers’ for young people and their families
  • Life skills education for young people
  • Advising young people on further training and careers
  • Financial support for the education of disadvantaged young people
  • Establishment of a fund for medical emergencies
  • Providing support for HIV/AIDS positive young people to manage their treatment
  • Training young people with disabilities in self-care and independent living
  • Mobilizing the community to provide support to disadvantaged young people
  • Participation in the community, cooperation with a range of governmental and civil society stakeholders to ensure increased effectiveness and sustainability

Country info

Capital: New Delhi 
Area: 3,288,000 km²
Population: c. 1.25 Billion

Project data

Project duration: since August 2016
Donor: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Partner: ProVision

Last updated: September 2016

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