Bullock-cart Workers Development Association (BWDA) was established on 2nd October, 1985 with the primary objective of rendering selfless, dedicated and yeomen service to the bullock cart workers, labourers, rural artisans, poor and needy women and children in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. BWDA is registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.
In 1988, BWDA started forming self help groups (SHGs) of bullock cart workers’ families, especially women to build self sufficiency and facilitate empowerment and poverty alleviation. In 1992 BWDA started working with other low income households. BWDA also linked SHGs to local banks to meet their credit needs for managing their livelihood and income generating activities. Later in 1998, BWDA started direct lending to improve access to finance to empower the underprivileged in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands and to supplement loans from banks. In 2003, BWDA acquired an NBFC, renamed as BWDA Finance limited (BFL) to streamline its financial inclusion operations.
BWDA also implements various development programmes and projects focussing on holistic growth and development of the society. Some of the areas of work include: Health, water and sanitation, education, advocacy and lobbying, capacity building and livelihood development, child welfare, women welfare, social awareness programmes etc. BWDA has taken long strides in social development and appreciates the fact that a great deal can be achieved through education. Ensuring good education is essential for the survival of our nation and the sound growth of the younger generation. However, majority of our members are unable to send their children for higher education, due to economic inabilities. BWDA Arts and Science College, BWDA Polytechnic College and BWDA Schools were started to address the disparity in access to educational facilities for the poor and lead the marginalized towards intellectual prosperity and thereby empower them.
BWDA has facilitated 30090 SHGs with 5,22,044 members to develop income generation programme to their members. BWDA and BFL have disbursed micro credit of 11,27,32,87,500 to 14,21,585 members in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.