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Self help groups formed and supported, with 6000 members



Villages supported in improving farming methods in Kodaikanal Hills



Home toilets have been built by our groups under Government Schemes

About Us

Our organization, India NirmanSangh, has been working in the hills around Kodaikanal and Palani in Tamilnadu, India since 2004. In these fifteen years, we have been working primarily for women’s development in the backward hill villages and the towns of Kodaikanal and Palani. 

Winning the trust of people in the areas we work in, we form small thrift and savings groups (called Self Help Groups) and then arrange for microcredit through local banks for these groups. The groups use this money to give loans to their own members who may need the loan for a variety of reasons including repaying loans taken from moneylenders at exorbitant interest rates, a sickness in the family, a festival, education fees, buying fertilizer, a wedding etc. Peer pressure among the members ensures a very high recovery rate. 

Currently, India Nirman Sangh has formed and is currently supporting more than 450  Self Help Groups (SHGs) among the women in some of the villages around Kodaikanal and Palani. Each group consists of between twelve and twenty women. Hence a total of around 6000 women are members of our groups. So far, INS has facilitated loans worth more than thirty crore rupees for our groups from various Indian banks. Currently, we are business correspondents of NABFINS, a financial organization set up by the Central Government specifically to finance microloans. On our recommendation, they provide microloans to our SHGs.

Our Support

Over time, the groups also begin to take up local issues such as sanitation, drinking water supply, the problems in the local ration shop, etc. and they are often able to bring about positive changes. They also help ensure the proper implementation of government welfare schemes. They also voluntarily came forward in  2007 in three panchayats to take up and implement a government scheme to build toilets for each home and eliminate open defecation. So far more than 600 home toilets have been built by our groups under these government schemes.

Some of the groups have also started tiny businesses – running grocery shops, ration shops, tea shops, distilling and bottling eucalyptus oil, processing, and packaging Kodaikanal coffee, manufacturing inexpensive sanitary napkins, etc. India Nirman Sangh incubates these businesses and helps them run profitably and professionally.

Organic Farm

A new project we started in 2014 is to set up a model organic farm near Kodaikanal. Farmers in India tend to be averse to formal training methods but are receptive to learning from success stories they see in their vicinity. We would like our organic model farm to be a place where new techniques and methods of farming are used and can be imitated by other farmers. The farm is located about 26 km from Kodaikanal in a beautiful forested area and we have begun to successfully raise crops without the use of any chemical fertilisers or pesticides.


A related project we have started in 2018 with the support of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) is to help improve farming methods in the Kodaikanal hills. This involves setting up a Horticultural Resource Centre which provides technical expertise to farmers in the four major crops in the Kodaikanal hills – Potatoes, Garlic, Carrots, and Beans. In this project, we have also set up small demonstration plots in 20 villages in the Kodaikanal Hills. We hope to get the vegetable farmers to form an FPO (Farmer Producer Organisation) by June 2021.

Gandhi Centre for Values


A project we have initiated in 2016 is to set up a small Centre for ethical education. This Centre which we call the ‘Gandhi Centre for Values’ teaches basic human or Gandhian values to laypersons, particularly the disadvantaged in rural areas. These values include adherence to truth, tolerance, respect for all religions, willingness to go beyond selfish goals, cleanliness, simplicity, and the need to limit our needs. Today, values, ethics, and civic behavior is only taught sparingly in most schools. As a result, a whole generation is growing up without a firm ethical foundation. The Gandhi Centre hopes to contribute to addressing this issue.

Over time, the Gandhi Centre hopes to be a place where people meet to think critically about the world we live in today and discuss Gandhian and other alternatives.


Our latest course is a two-day residential workshop open to all on ‘Introduction to Gandhian Thought and our lives’.


The Centre is housed in a small building on our farm in a beautiful valley near Vadakavunchi in the Palani Hills. We inaugurated this Gandhi Centre on the 2nd of October 2016.

Carpentry Workshop

India Nirman Sangh has started a carpentry workshop in 2017. The workshop employs mainly women and produces artifacts that are sold to tourists in Kodaikanal.

In 2018, with support from the Rotary Club of Kodaikanal, we have started a tailoring training centre to train women in tailoring. At this centre, women are also producing cloth bags for a variety of customers. In 2020, they have also ventured into reviving the traditional Kodaikanal craft of lace making. 

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