What is CORD?
Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD) is a non-profit organization that offers sustainable development programs in the rural villages of India for the past 30 years. The organization initially began as a healthcare center in Himachal Pradesh. But as the voices of the villagers were heard and their challenges extended beyond healthcare, CORD expanded its programs to focus on improving health, education, support for the disabled, social justice, local self-governance, decreasing poverty, environmental issues, and much more. CORD’s strength and success is a result of empowering the local community, who are direct beneficiaries of its services. Villagers are taught modern techniques of agriculture and crop intensification, sanitation and hygiene, rainwater harvesting, micro-credit and income generation activities, financial literacy as well as health improvement and awareness.
CORD now extends beyond Himachal Pradesh and now exists in Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Sri Lanka. CORD’s programs and services have impacted over 700 villages in four provinces of India and it has touched the lives of over 550,000 beneficiaries through this integrated transformation. CORD has also become an inspirational training center for individuals and institutions across India and from other parts of the world to train and successfully guide their programs. Its micro financing programs within the villages of rural India have been nationally recognized and become a successful model for urban banks to train their employees in these villages.
Dr. Kshama Metre, affectionately known as Doctor Didi, is the national director of CORD. She completed her medical school and residency in Pediatrics in Delhi. She continued to build a successful practice in Delhi; however, in an effort to pursue her guiding principles of simple living, high thinking, and service to the nation, she left Delhi to provide healthcare services in rural Himachal Pradesh in 1985. As she met and talked with villagers, she refocused her efforts on community development initiatives and became an early pioneer of the successful self-help movement. Dr. Kshama Metre has won several awards and recognitions including the Padma Shri Award in 2008 and the 2012 UK Guardian International Development Achievement Award. She was featured in "Prophets of New India" a book that celebrates twenty transformative social workers and she was also nominated as "Woman Of the Year" by the Week in 1993.