Giving vulnerable women a voice
Talamai isn’t sure how old she is because her birth was never registered, but both of her sons are now adults. She grew up in the Indian state of Jharkhand, and is part of the Adivasi community - a minority group that regularly faces discrimination and oppression. As a result, Adivasi people experience some of the highest levels of poverty in the country.
Finding work in the area is all but impossible, so for the past 25 years, Talamai’s husband has been migrating to Mumbai to work as a manual labourer - over 1000 miles from his wife, children and home.
Whilst he’s away, Talamai and her family must rely on what food they are able to grow in order to survive. She and her sons work hard farming the land to ensure that the whole family has enough to eat.
Being an Adivasi woman…
Women are essential to the functioning of Adivasi communities. They farm the land, gather produce from the forest, go to market, rear livestock, bring up children and maintain the family home. Yet they are not equally represented in community discussion and local decision making. Their opinions are often overlooked and they struggle to make their voices heard.
Without the means or opportunity to speak out, they are left vulnerable. Without sufficient representation, Adivasi women are frequently denied access to the rights and services they are entitled to, such as the right to own land, and the right to education. All Adivasi people struggle to gain access to other basic services such as healthcare and social security.
Find Your Feet works with women in India in order to create opportunity – to give vulnerable women a voice and the power to create change.
Find Your Feet has been working in Talamai’s village since 2009, helping to set up support groups for local women. The support groups provide training and information on public services, and support local women to lobby for their rights.
As word spread through the village about these groups, more and more local women began to attend. For the first time they were coming together with other women like themselves. For the first time they were becoming stronger.
Now the women from Talamai’s village are experiencing change.
With support, Talamai has fought for her right to own land under her own name…
“Because of the information about land rights I’ve received, I was able to get some land allocated to me one month ago. More people have begun to ask for their land allocations and the support group is putting pressure the government.”
Thanks to funding from the EU and other donors, last year Talamai was one of 5189 people in Jharkhand to benefit from support groups established by Find Your Feet.