Reaching the Unreached (RTU) is a far-reaching grassroots organisation that has already achieved an enormous amount in empowering the most marginalised and disadvantaged people, especially children and their families, in rural South India.

Our services are provided entirely by people from the local area in Tamil Nadu. Many of our staff are former beneficiaries or grew up in our care, so they are well placed to understand how Reaching the Unreached can be as effective as possible. We work predominately with people who belong to scheduled castes (also known as Dalits or untouchables) and tribal populations. 

Focusing on children, where possible Reaching the Unreached supports them and their families within local communities. If this fails, our four Children’s Villages act as a safety net, providing care in a community setting with a foster mother, brothers and sisters. Children admitted have often lost one or both parents to diseases such as TB or HIV, to accidents, alcoholism, suicide or domestic violence.

The other main areas of our work are:

Basic needs: Housing, water and sanitation

Many families live in inadequate housing, built of thatch, polythene or mud.

They also have limited access to running water and toilets. In India as a whole, 59% of the population in rural areas lack access to sanitation facilities and 140,000 children under 5 die of diarrhoeal diseases every year.

Over the last forty years we have built over 8,800 houses and dug 2,500 bore wells in rural villages in our area.

Providing opportunities for the future: Education

National statistics show that children from scheduled castes are much less likely to finish primary or secondary schooling, often due to financial pressures on their families. If a breadwinner is unable to work, children may have to leave school to earn money, or take on caring responsibilities at home. These children risk missing out on the long-term opportunities education provides. 

Our schools and educational outreach programmes provide financial and practical support to allow children to continue to attend school and move on to college.

Working towards self-sufficiency

We believe that the poorest people in South India have a right to support to enable them to have a better life, one where there is hope, security and opportunities for the future, especially women and children.

Through more than 120 self-help groups, we have helped set up micro-credit schemes to allow women to pool financial risk, set up rural enterprises in their villages or pay for significant events such as medical care or weddings.

Stigma and exclusion

The first case of AIDS in India was in detected in Tamil Nadu in 1986 and the state has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS.

Reaching the Unreached is one of very few organisations in Tamil Nadu to care for children from families affected by the disease. 

We look after HIV+ children in our Children's Villages, as well as others who have lost one or both parents to the disease. Our healthcare facilities also help support those living with HIV/AIDS.

Stigma against AIDS remains. Once a diagnosis is disclosed, families are often forced out of their local communities. We run training camps in rural villages to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and help counter this discrimination.

With your help, we can reach beyond the children, families and communities we are already supporting to ensure everyone gets the opportunities they need to survive and thrive.

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