In early 1997, when speaking to John Bowis, Executive Director of SCFNZ, elected functionaries of the Bagepalli Coolie Sangha shared the feeling that they were not doing enough for marginalised CSU Members. While the Coolie Sangha was effectively reaching out to the majority of small and poor peasant families, the needs of certain disprivileged sections with sociocultural handicaps were not being taken care of. Primary among these were single Coolie women — i.e. young widows and deserted wives who had children to take care of.
ADATS wrote a concept paper and SCNZ appealed to the general public in New Zealand through a direct mail campaign. Though the response was very positive (helped also by Dame Catherine Tizard who had, in the meantime, visited ADATS from 16 to 19 May 1997) the moneys mobilised were not quite enough to solve the problems of single, nearlandless women headed households in about 500 villages.
In January 1998, during yet another annual visit of John Bowis to ADATS, we together finalised a VASS application to supplement the moneys mobilised by SCNZ with New Zealand government assistance. It was decided to start with Chickballapur taluk and then extend the project to Bagepalli, Siddalaghatta and Chintamani in the coming months and years.