NGO: Swami Vivekananda Rural Development Society (SVRDS)


Swami Vivekananda Rural Development Society (SVRDS) was set up to empower the rural poor, by providing them educational, social development and humanitarian services. SVRDS works in the rural parts of Tamil Nadu, where people are extremely poor, and also suffer from high rates of malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment and perpetual cycle of poverty.

IDRF Partner Since: 1996

Focus Area(s): Eco-friendly Development, Health, and Disaster Rehabilitation

Location: Tamil Nadu

Project Title: Village Ponds Desilting Program and Village Energy Program


IDRF has started a project in partnership with Swami Vivekananda Rural Development Society (SVRDS) to desilt ponds(removal of bed-sand, weeds, and debris) in the villages of Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur districts. These ponds have been choked with silt and weeds as a result of annual flooding over the years. This has contaminated the water and made it unsuitable for human consumption and other household needs. The thick layers of silt have also reduced the storage capacity of these ponds.

These village ponds are about 0.4 to 0.8 acres in size and benefit about 5,000 to 9,000 people each. The villagers help in the desilting process by providing manual labor and it takes about 7 to 18 days to desilt one pond. The mud and debris removed from the ponds are used to strengthen the pond-bunds and plant tree saplings. Once desilted the ponds collect water through Rainwater Harvesting during the rainy season.

Please click on the links below to know more about Swami Vivekananda Rural Development Society.

A pond has been desilted in Maduramangalam village in Kancheepuram, where the entire community participated and the work took only 8 days to complete. 5,500+ people from this village and other nearby villages have benefited from this pond as water starts to collect in it.

Villagers participated enthusiastically by offering manual labor

Pond desilting program information session with villagers in Ramalingapuram

Bihar Floods 2019

Tens of millions of people in India’s northern state of Bihar were badly affected by the storms and floods caused by heavy monsoon rains. Thousands of villages were flooded and people rendered homeless. Several people lost their lives, thousands of animals swept away and croplands submerged due to floodwaters. IDRF promptly launched the disaster relief and rehabilitation programs through its reputable partner-NGO: Manav Seva Sansthan (MSS) and decided to send 100% of the donations received for flood victims.

NGO: Manav Seva Sansthan

IDRF’s partner-NGO Manav Seva Sansthan has past experience and extensive knowledge of the Madhubani district, where several villages faced the worst impacts. MSS targeted three blocks of the district that were severely affected due to heavier rains and remote locations in the foothills of the Himalayas. Even though the local government agencies sent help, there were several remote areas where it took longer for their teams to get to the victims. With the help of generous donors, IDRF was able to raise funds and provide Relief Kits to 150 poor families. These Relief Kits included: personal hygiene items, candles, non-perishable food items like lentils, flour, rice, oil, spices, etc.

NGO team packing 150 Relief Kits for flood victims

Distribution of Relief Kits to 150 poor families

People taking the Relief Kits back to their villages

Due to stagnant waters for several weeks, the water-bodies in the area got contaminated and people were using that water to drink and cook, thus, resulting in skin and gastrointestinal diseases. Access to health centers was disrupted due to damage to roads and the situation was particularly serious for children and pregnant women. In order to provide urgent health-care services, IDRF supported five Mobile Health Camps in the worst affected areas. Free medical checkups and distribution of medicines were done for the poor flood victims. In addition, 75 hand pumps were repaired and the water supply was restored in them for use by the local people. These low-depth hand pumps were also chlorinated to provide water for drinking and other household uses.

Free checkups and medicines for poor flood victims

IDRF also started a program to rehabilitate 150 families in Madhubani district whose only means of livelihood is small scale agriculture. These families were provided high-quality seeds of high yielding crops like wheat and potatoes, etc. to start over again.

In addition, the following items were also provided to 150 poor families who have lost all their belongings due to the floods:

Item Quantity (per household)
Quilts (for winter uses) 2
Water filters (manually operated) 1
Emergency lights (solar-powered) 1
Mosquito nets 2

Rehabilitation and livelihood support provided to 150 poor households

Quilts, water filters, solar emergency lights, and mosquito nets, etc. for 150 flood-affected families



Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University (S-VYASA), was established in 1986 and is a charitable educational institution promoting the role of Yoga in the modern medical sciences and research. Based on the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the four streams of Yoga, that are the key essence of Indian culture, are now being applied to bring health, harmony, and peace to people all over the world. Suggested by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the United Nations has declared June 21st as the International Yoga Day in 2014. The mission of S-VYASA has been to combine the best of the east (Yoga and spiritual lore) with that of the west (modern scientific research).

S-VYASA has supported and enabled thousands of students with an interest in yoga and its connection to medicine to conduct research, both independently and in collaboration with dozens of medical institutions around the world.

IDRF Partner Since: 2002

Focus Area: Women Empowerment and Health

Location: Karnataka

Project Title(s): Construction of Women’s Hostel


IDRF partnered with S-VYASA to help construct a four-floor women’s hostel on the campus in Bengaluru. The Lakshmi Amma hostel constructed in 2010, provides safe accommodation to 500 students of all ages and academic levels (Bachelors to Doctorate). The parents of the girls feel a sense of relief in sending their daughters to study and live on the campus. Since 2017, IDRF has been supporting the construction for the expansion of this hostel.

Please click on the link to learn more about the S-VYASA’s various programs.

Lakshmi Amma Women’s Hostel on the campus

Hostel accommodates 500 students

Spacious and furnished rooms in the hostel

Super Cyclone Fani, Odisha-2019

About 15.09 million people in India’s eastern state of Odisha were badly affected by the “extremely severe” Cyclone Fani, in May 2019. There was widespread destruction from heavy rains, powerful winds and storm surge as the category 4 cyclone tore through 14 districts in the state and moved north in the Bay of Bengal.

Indian Meteorological Department’s early warnings helped government authorities conduct a well-targeted evacuation plan and minimize the loss of lives. A total destruction of thatched huts, major damages to roads and uprooting of power poles, etc. resulted due to sustained winds of about 155 miles per hour when the cyclone made a landfall. Dozens of people were killed and tens of thousands were rendered homeless.

NGO: Sri Sathya Sai Trust, Odisha

In order to provide immediate relief to the victims of the tropical cyclone, IDRF sent funds to serve 1,000 cooked food packets at the Leprosy Colony in Puri.

In the aftermath of the cyclone, water sources in several villages were found to be saline and contaminated. With the help of funds from IDRF, the ground-partner NGO Sri Sathya Sai Trust is installing Reverse Osmosis (RO) water plants in the affected villages to provide safe and clean drinking water to the people. Each of the RO water plants will cater to the daily needs of around 500 families.

Several trees in the state were badly damaged or uprooted as a result of sustained wind speeds of 150 miles an hour. The local government is providing tree saplings at a very nominal price to the NGO under their Green Revolution program. IDRF is providing funds to plant, fence, and manure and maintain at least 39,000 trees in different parts of the state.

NGO: HOPE Foundation

The fury of the cyclone left behind a trail of destruction in Bhubaneswar, where ‘Velji Keshar Ben Popat School’ building was badly destroyed by the storm and heavy rains. More than 20 trees were uprooted in the school compound, electricity poles were damaged resulting in compete for power outage in the building, the water-pump house collapsed, the drinking water supply and sewage pipes were disrupted, kitchen and dining hall were flooded and equipment like computers, school supplies, and sleeping material, etc. were destroyed.

IDRF has started the program to repair and rebuild the school and its infrastructure. This school is attended by children from extremely poor families and the damages to the building and utilities have disrupted their studies.

Several poor families have lost all their livestock which were their only means of sustenance. IDRF has started a program to rehabilitate the livelihood of these victims, by extending micro-credit to 50 families to rebuild their lives. In addition to loans, 400 + fruit-bearing tree saplings and vegetable seeds would be provided to the poor households to supplement their income.