TAPD grew out of a "community change" program initiated by St. Mark's Cathedral to help the Tilaknagar slum dwellers. TAPD was registered as a society in 1977, with two basic objectives: 1) to organize the Tilaknagar residents to undertake their own development as a community,  2) to initiate projects that help them improve the quality of their lives. It works on the principle of grassroots decision making and democratic functioning. Since its inception, TAPD has implemented a number of programs - setting up of cooperatives for sale of agarbathi and toiletries, addressing neighbourhood problems like sewage, drinking water, roads, etc., community health programs, vocational training for teenagers, low-interest loans for residents' petty business schemes.

TAPD also cares for the education of Tilaknagar children. Over the years they have arranged coaching classes for school going children, as well as organized an open classroom for those who don't attend school. In 2002, Terre des Hommes, Netherlands (TdH-L) agreed to fund their child development projects, and so their "open classroom" became a concrete project. It is now an Early Childhood Care Programme for 2 ½ - 5 years.

This is a classroom-based program that focuses on five areas of child development: language, cognitive, social and emotional skills, creativity and physical development. The teachers do this by holding a class for children daily from 9.30-3.30, where they focus on a particular theme (say, "market" or "myself") and divide their day into slots. In each slot, they do an activity concerned with developing one of the five areas listed above, but each based on the chosen theme, using low-cost materials.

They operate two such classrooms, one on the office premises and the other in Arasu Colony in Jayanagar East, with a total strength of 59 children (29 in the first, 30 in the second), two teachers and one helper.

They also provide nutritional supplements for the children prepared on medical advice. In addition, they meet regularly with the parents, once a month or every two months to discuss the child's development. They also monitor the health of the children with yearly check-ups. When the children reach school-going age, the teachers help them secure admission in one of the local schools.

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