This
programme was started by Dr. Spencer Hatch in 1921 at Marthandam (place nearer
to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu) with the help of YMCA (Young Man Christian
Association). The main objectives of this project were five-fold, namely,
mental, spiritual, physical, economic and social development.  The main stress
was given on the principle that people should not depend on Government for
support and work to meet their own requirement through self-help and self-
reliance. The objectives of this programme was that the YMCA should work in the
Villages to eliminate poverty. For Demonstration of various activities, a centre
at Martandam had a demonstration farm, prized animals, equipment for the honey
industry and other cottage vocations in its campus. In this centre, model
bee-hives, demonstration plots for improving grain and vegetable seeds,
poultry with prize laying hens, prize bulls and goats, a weaving shed, etc.
were maintained. The project also worked for
improving literacy and formation of cooperative societies. On weekly market day,
it set up a portable tent with teaching equipment,
and exhibits with better poultry and livestock. The project assisted the people
for marketing their produces through cooperative organisations. In 1939, the egg selling
cooperative society become a self-governing body. There were bull clubs, weavers’
clubs, egg selling club, honey club, weaver’s club, etc.
were organised under this programme in the villages. The programme encouraged development
of cottage industries like mats and basket making, poultry keeping, bee
keeping, etc. The major achievements of the programme were
the change in the attitudes of the rural people, formation of a desire to improve
the spirit of cooperation and self-respect. This experiment was followed by
other States and its workers helped the States of Baroda, Mysore, Cochin and
Hyderabad to set up Centers of Training for Rural Reconstruction.

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