Habitat India has focused on the needs of the Irula tribe. Pictured is Masilamani and her family, who are all Irula.
Irulas belong to the Negrito (or Negroid) race and are one of the most marginalized tribes of Tamil Nadu in India. There are estimated to be 203,000 lakh Irulas in Tamil Nadu, spread across 13 districts. As per a study conducted by National Adivasi Solidarity Council (NASC), about 64% of Irulas live in extreme poverty with no house or regular income. They constitute 99% of the bonded labor from Tamil Nadu. 30%-35% of the Irulas have settled down. Less than 10% of the community is literate and the high school dropout rate is 80%. The Irula Community is categorized as one of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Tamil Nadu: The PVTGs (earlier termed as Primitive Tribal Groups - PTGs). These groups are among the most vulnerable sections of society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development and generally inhabit remote localities, having poor infrastructure and administrative support. Habitat India has decided to work closely with the development of the Irula tribe families. The Solid Ground advocacy campaign, which emphasises on land for shelter has in the past year (2017) been successful in bringing together close to 50 NGOs and the community to liaison with the district administration for land title and community certification. To date, Habitat India has built close to 150 Irula homes.