Leaf Plates for Empowerment

Leaf Plates for Empowerment
Key Stats:
Partner Organisation
HNC Trust
Location
Tamil Nadu, South East India
Number of Project Participants
30 women
What's been said:
I am individually earning with my husband's cooperation and I kindly want to thank HNC Trust and Tzedek by whom I got my husband free from alcohol and now my children go to school and my children have started new relationship with both of us
Mrs Punithavalli
I gathered self confidence and started working hard
Mrs Punithavalli
Now I am easily manage [sic] my family. I have admitted my oldest child to school. My family is feeling very happy
Mrs Vinnarasi (another participant on this programme)

Leaf plates, made from dried palm leaves, are traditionally used in India to make biodegradable and hygienic disposable crockery. These are often used at large gatherings, such as weddings, and have proven to be the key out of extreme poverty for 30 women in rural Tamil Nadu. 

Raising four children with a husband suffering from substance abuse was never easy and living in poverty meant that her children had no choice but to drop out of school. Mrs Punithavalli told us that, before enrolling on our partner project, she found herself “in great depression, sadness and sorrow and how also led me to a state of helplessness and hopelessness as to my future livelihood [sic]”.

Today, Mrs Punithavalli is one of 30 women who have started a business making and selling leaf plates, earning a stable income and supporting their families.

Our local partners at HNC Trust in Tamil Nadu, India, trained these women to make leaf-plates out of locally sourced materials, while also providing them with the necessary skills and seed money to start their own businesses. Together, these newly empowered women also established a women’s self-help group to support each other.

Our partners also provided Mrs Punithavalli’s husband with intensive counselling and psychiatric care. He has now stopped drinking entirely and even helps her run her business, supporting this new venture and their family’s income. HNC Trust have offered similar support to many other women on this project, even freeing one from bonded labour and then providing family counselling.

Mrs Punithavalli’s hard work has allowed the couple to enrol their children back in school, educating the next generation and breaking them free from the cycle of poverty.

Mrs Punithavalli says, “I am individually earning with my husband’s cooperation and I kindly want to thank HNC [Tzedek’s local partner organisation] and Tzedek, UK by whom I got my husband free from alcohol and now my children go to school and my children have started new relationship with both of us“.