Thozhamai is a resource agency for human rights especially for those working among children, youth, women, disabled, Dalits and other vulnerable sections of the people. It was established in the year 2006 at Chennai by A. Devaneyan and late Mr. Suresh Dharma. Both of them have been working in this area for over a decade and felt that there is a need for such a resource centre especially in the state capital of Tamil Nadu, at Chennai. As a resource agency, it provides support in the following areas:
• Advocacy including media advocacy
• Skill based training on Rights Based Approaches
• Developing resource materials including posters and other dissemination materials
• Developing audio-visual materials
• Research on rights based issues
Areas of Work
1. Child Protection
It is a key area of intervention for Thozhamai. It proposes to train various actors who are working among and with children on monitoring of violations of the rights of children and on intervention strategies. It also takes up important issues on behalf of the victims and for other NGOs for advocacy & lobbying with various National Human Rights Institutions in Tamil Nadu. Thozhamai also endeavour to train various actors on the utilization of government schemes for improving the livelihood and levels of living of the poor families.
2. Youth as Human Rights Defenders
A number of international and national organizations have been working in the area of child rights among various stakeholders. But very few organizations consider and realize the importance of working among youth for the protection and promotion of the rights of children. The youth play a crucial role because they, as yesteryear children, had experienced violence but never realized that their rights were violated. Thozhamai realized that it is essential to work among the youth of this vast country so as to protect and promote the rights of children because they are the future parents.
Thozhamai envisages to address this issue by conducting training programs to college youth on child rights. It aims to break the myths that people have about children and to create perspective and awareness on child rights among youth; create an understanding that denial of the rights also amounts to violation of the rights of children; transform the youth as Child Rights Defenders in their own communities; and create a child friendly environment in their localities.
3. Advocacy
Thozhamai has been taking up a number of issues related to children, youth, women, Dalits, disabled and others with various National Human Rights Institutions located in Tamil Nadu. It also takes up issues that were identified by other organizations and NGOs for advocacy at the state level. Thozhmai has been very closely with all forms of media including print, electronic and internet at various levels. It is one of the greatest strengths of Thozhamai, which is well understood by various organizations that work in association with it.
4. Training Programs
Thozhamai is well known among rights based NGOs for its training programs. It has conducted hundreds of training programs in the areas of child rights, discrimination, advocacy, use of Right to Information (RTI) Act, human rights, economic & social rights, etc.
5. Preparation of Resource Materials
Thozhamai has taken up the responsibility of preparing resource materials, posters, training materials, audio-visual materials, documentary films on rights based themes for a number of organizations from all over Tamil Nadu.