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  About CHASS  
  The initial interventions of CHASS were focusing mainly on helping the poor through various charitable activities. Save A Family Plan programme, started in the year 1968, was the . first systematic programme of social work implemented by CHASS. Under this programme poorest of the poor selected families were given a regular support for their sustenance. During the days of severe economic crisis in the 70's poverty and food scarcity became glaring issues in Kerala. In this critical situation CHASS in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services(CRS) distributed wheat, milk powder and vegetable oil to economically weaker sections.  
  1972 was an important year in the history of the social apostolate of the Archdiocese. This year Archdiocesan Charity Fund was established in commemoration of the Episcopal ordination of the auxiliary Bishop Mar Joseph Powathil. Collection made on the Xtmas day was the main source of the charity Fund. This fund was mainly utilized for helping the poor people for treatment, education of the children and self employment. 1972 also visualized the appointment of a full time Director for social work. Fr. Joseph Chirakadavil was the first fulltime Director. Another important event during the same year was the formation of Kanyakumari Social Service Society to look after the development programmes in Kanyakumari mission area. Presently this society is functioning under Thakala Diocese.  
  A major shift in the concept of social work took place in the year 1975. This shift was from charity to self-reliance. COPTAC tailoring cum production centre was the first step towards this direction. Second shift of priority was introduced in the field of food material distribution. Integrated nutrition education programme, Mother & Child Health Education Programme etc. were organized with the help of Catholic Relief Services in order to make people more development conscious.  
  A significant break through in social work scenario took place with the entry of CHASS in the employment generation sector. With the support of Khadi & Village Industries Board various employment generation programmes have been started. Khadi weaving and spinning were the pilot programmes in this sector. A few village industry programmes such as curry powder, Bakery, match making, fiber handicraft making, carpentry etc. were also introduced for providing ample opportunity for vocational training employment generation.  
  Drawing inspiration from the keen interest showed by the people in various places CHASS started Khadi weaving centers at Amalagiri, Athirampuzha, Thrikodithanam etc. within a short span of time. In 1983 Khadi & V.I Commission, Govt. of India recognized CHASS as an institution directly financed by KVIC. As subsequent step, KVIC sanctioned a Khadi Gramodog Vidyalayam at Mallappally for imparting training to unemployed rural youth in various employment oriented trades promoted by KVIC.  
  In 1979 as part of extending he activities of CHASS, another organization called Kuttanda Vikasana Samithy(K.V.S.) was registered to look after the special needs of Kuttand. Another innovative programme introduced in the beginning of 80’s was the Mar Antony Padiyara Jubilee Memorial Loan Scholarship. A corpus fund was created with local funds for giving interest free loans scholarships for professional education to students hailing from poor families. This move towards local fund mobilization may be visualized as a shift towards self-reliance.  
  Establishment of Samrudha agricultural Centre at Kurumpanadam marked another milestone in the history of CHASS in 1981 which quite recently celebrated its Silver Jubilee. This centre was started with view to help the farmers by the supply of quality seeds, seedlings and plant materials.  
  CHASS introduced various development schemes for those living in colonies and remote rural communities. Health awareness campaign in Kuttanadu areas and renovation of house at colonies, formation of women groups were few of the activities implemented during this period.  
  Two major programmes initiated by CHASS during the middle of the 1985 are CHASS Credit Union and formation of Mahilasamajam. Both these programmes have been introduced immediately after the closure of the CRS food distribution programme. Her we can visualize a paradigm shift in the activities of CHASS. Capacitating the people's organizations, to take up their problems, has become the major thrust during this period.  
  Another note worthy event during the late eighties is the opening of a major Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan at Kottyam. This was the result of the conviction that training and production alone will not be enough to make the Khadi programme a success. Only a well-designed marketing strategy can make employment generation programmes a success.  
  In 1990 CHASS took a bold step of federating the various Mahilasamajams organized in villages under an umbrella organization called Associated Women’s Association for Rural Development (AWARD).The following year witnessed the introduction of two major interventions of CHASS such as Child development programme and Accept de-addiction center. Aiming the integrated development of children CHASS introduced 56 Nursery schools in the rural areas. With support from Ministry of social welfare a de-addiction center was also started at Alappuzha. Along with these programmes various community health programmes also have come to the center stage of CHASS activities during this period. T.B. Eradication programme, Integrated community health programme, Community Orientation on HIV/AIDS prevention, propagation low cost sanitary latrines etc. were some of the health projects implemented during this period.  
  From 1993 onwards we could visualize drastic changes in the vision and mission of CHASS activities. In line with the theme of Animation imitated by Caritas India CHASS also introduced animation as an integral part of every development intervention. An innovative programme launched during this period was promotion of Kitchen garden. The message of self-reliance in the case of vegetable spread very fast through the villages and more than 5000 families have come forward to become members in this programme. Seeing the success of the programme the state ministry for Agriculture also launched similar programme across the state in the following year.  
  Housing for the poor has been one of the favorite programmes of CHASS all throughout its long history of service. More than 15000 housed have been completed with the help of several funding agencies and donors including Caritas India. HDFC housing, Mar Joseph Powathil Jubilee housing, Rehabilitation housing, Great jubilee housing, Indira Avas Yojana, Mar Mathew Kavukattu Housing, Ruby Jubilee housing etc were the major schemes implemented under housing desk.  
  Another major paradigm shift in CHASS activities took place in the year 1996. It was during the second half of 1996 CHASS started experimenting the concept of Self Help Groups(SHGs) in its operational area. It was a great move towards women empowerment and self-reliance. The subsequent years visualized the fast spread of the SHGs throughout operational area of CHASS. More than 1000 self Help groups of women have come into existence within a short period of time. Considering efficiency exhibited by CHASS in organizing the SHGs and linking them with local banks, NABARD honored CHASS with Best Performance state Award for three consecutive years from 2000. Now there are 1150 SHGs and 250 Men SHGs are functioning under the umbrella of CHASS.  
  CHASS is one of the pioneer organizations which came to the forefront of water harvesting sector as early as 1993. It went another significant step forward to Natural resource Management programmes through the implementation of Water Shed Management programme with the help Caritas India in 1996. Construction percolation pits, water-harvesting tanks, stone bunds. Social forestry, Gully plugging etc are the major components of the programme.
 
  In the year 2000 CHASS made a revisit to its Credit Union programme which was already in deteriorated situation due to various inherent drawbacks. A study conducted with help of few experts revealed the need for a total rejuvenation of the system. Accordingly a new set of bye law was introduced to make the Credit Union programme relevant to the modern period. These changes attracted unprecedented acceptance and recognition from the general public to the Credit Union system. Now there are 47000 members in 110 units spread over five civil districts. Another major programme started during this period was Community based rehabilitation of the disabled person. (CBR) Hundreds of disabled persons were helped to come to the mainstream of life thorough programme.
 
  The water Literacy campaign programme(Jalanidhi-2003) launched by CHASS during 2003 in connection with International Water Conservation Year became a very popular programme, which attracted great appreciation from the public. Many social organizations and media persons came forward to follow the example set by CHASS. Two lakhs percolation pits were dug with people support during this campaign.  
  Collaboration with Panchayat Raj institution was another move made by CHASS during 2004. A total sanitation and Drinking water project was implemented in Thakazhy Panchayat in Alappuzha district with the financial support of Netherland Royal Embassy. It was become a model of a successful and replicable NGO – PRI collaboration.  
  During the last few years few major cross cutting themes have become part and parcel of CHASS development interventions. Environmental impact assessment (EIA), Gender Impact assessment (GIA) participatory Planning, monitoring and Evaluation (PME) Participatory Technology development (PTD) etc. are some such themes that have influenced the total development approach of CHASS during the current years.  
  In 2006 CHASS completed 40 years of its service to the people in the area. Drawing inspiration from the last 40 years of successful development intervention with people participation CHASS is looking forwarded to new horizons for grater achievements for the benefit of the poor and marginalized in the area of our operation.  
  It is another landmark in the working milieu of CHASS is the launching Community Based Disaster Preparedness ( CBDP) in 2007. The program includes variety measures such as Role specific Task Force Formation, Grass root group formation and Disaster management training, Bio-shield development, Alternative income schemes, Family insurance, Children’s training, etc. besides providing for emergency medical camps and other contingency measures.
 
  The Jeevan Madhur Program started in the year 2008 in collaboration with LIC was a unique one, mainly intended to extent a helping hand to the lower middle class and BPL families to attain the fruits of life security.  
  During the same year, CHASS instrumental in the promotion of seed bank in order protect and promote indigenous seeds which eventually lead to food security.