Modern Architects for Rural India (MARI) was started by a team of young professionals with social work background having a desire for heralding change towards egalitarian society. The founding members of the organization come from rural and tribal areas; who have undergone various hardships to complete higher education in social work. They made a conscious choice of investing their professional knowledge, skills and experience for improving quality of lives in rural areas, in particular marginalised people, to achieve sustainable development.
Immediately after establishing of MARI, R. Murali, Executive Director of MARI received one year fellowship (1989-90) from Gandhi Peace Centre (GPC). The fellowship was used to select project area and identify needs and priorities of local communities. Parvathagiri mandal, a remote and backward mandal, in Warangal district was selected for initial intervention of the organisation. The GPC fellowship, thus, laid foundation for initiating organisational activities.
Additionally, in-depth study was carried out on the experience of the NGO sector in dealing with development action; and gathered experts’ inputs on developmental priorities. All the above helped MARI to better inform and equip on issues and concerns of the poor and marginalised sections, and find solutions thereof. The strategies, approaches and interventions of MARI were thus evolved based on infelt needs of people.
During the course of more than 28 years journey, MARI has implemented a range of programmes to help people manage their own affairs sustainably, whilst simultaneously focusing on improving their living standards. MARI has also consciously made effort to link its work with other processes. Hence, macro-political and economic policies are closely observed, studied and assessed for understanding their impact on MARI’s work and its target population. In the process, it could influence people centric policies and programs.
MARI envisions empowerment of vulnerable sections of the society to fight against poverty, injustice and the environmental degradation that threatens their basic livelihoods. This should lead to establishing conditions in favour of sustainable growth of the poor and marginalized sections and ultimately of the society.
Promoting strong community based organizations of the poor and disadvantaged, enabling them to mobilize resources from within government and other agencies and guide them to work together for sustainable development.
- To organise and build capacities of people to engage in community development, whilst ensuring harmony and collective actions
- To empower people to access various resources and entitlements including the state/central government services meant for their welfare
- To improve educational opportunities and quality of children for children belonging to the poor and marginalised section
- To improve access to and quality of basic services (i.e., housing, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihood and financial services, social infrastructure, etc) to the weaker sections
- To cater to health needs of people, particularly prevention, control and care on HIV/AIDS among HRGs
- To work on all the issues concerned with environment, it being an integral to rural development
- To initiate disaster management actions during events of drought, floods and other natural calamities
- To promote the use of appropriate and relevant technologies in all fields of development e.g., non-conventional energy
- To initiate any other action in furtherance of objectives of the society as and when decided upon by the Governing body of the society