Endemic poverty is typical in some areas of Tamil Nadu. This is especially the case for young girls and women of the Tiruvannamalai district whose parents rely on seasonal agricultural work; unreliable incomes mean unreliable lives, and so the daughters of these parents tend not to go to school and instead enter the same cycles of poverty as their parents. Some of these mothers, though, have worked hard to educate their daughters up to the level of a secondary school education.
Following a successful partnership with Tzedek in the past, Women For Women (WFW) are targeting 40 young girls from poor backgrounds to undertake a diploma, qualifying them to become nursing assistants over a two years programme. These girls and young women are the daughters of mothers who attended self-help sessions administered by WFW, and have thus come back to WFW asking for help with funding for the diploma. Each of the girls currently living in twenty villages around the town of Kannamangalam will have the diploma paid for by WFW, in addition to the cost of the text books, stationary and other learning materials they’ll require to complete the course.
Faced with a similar income to their mothers, young girls prior to the project, earnt an income of around £0.61 per day working in agriculture, unreliable seasonal jobs. With a diploma and the training that comes with it, the young girls will have the equivalent of a secondary school education and a vocational skill. The end result is that they are qualified to be a nursing assistant, with a monthly salary of roughly £800. The result is that a mother on an income of a nursing assistant can afford to feed herself, her children, afford healthcare and send her children to school.
The Knock-on Effect
Firstly, socio-economic status is enhanced through the new skills these girls and young women will possess, which has implications for the caste and community they belong to. Secondly, the health skills they will be providing contribute to community health, in the end resulting in a stable income from a profession that benefits everyone.