At 27 years old, Mrs Vinnarasi is a participant on a Tzedek project in partnership with a local, grassroots organisation: the HNC Trust based in Tamil Nadu, India. This project trains women to make biodegradable leaf-plates and establish their own businesses.
Mrs Vinnarasi never attended school and started working at a local farm at just 12 years old, before entering an arranged marriage at 16. For years, she has been working long hours in agriculture and struggling to feed her two children as her family’s sole income earner. She had no choice but to take out loans at high interest rates and, desperate to settle her debt, was forced into bonded labour in 2017. She worked 12-hour days with no rest and no leave, struggling both physically and mentally. In 2019, Tzedek’s partners at HNC Trust and government officials raided the workshop, rescuing Mrs Vinnarasi and her fellow workers.
Mrs Vinnarasi joined the Tzedek-funded vocational training programme, while also receiving counselling from HNC Trust. Along with 30 other women, our partners have trained Mrs Vinnarasi to create and market biodegradable ‘leaf plates’ made from semi-dried palm leaves, which are traditionally used for large gatherings like weddings.
Today, Mrs Vinnarasi has a good and stable income. She and her husband are now able to care for their family and have even enrolled their eldest child in school, an opportunity Mrs Vinnarasi never had.
“Now I am easily manage [sic] my family. I have admitted my oldest child to school. My family is feeling very happy.”
For 30 years, Tzedek’s partners across India and Ghana have been transforming the lives of so many women like Mrs Vinnarasi. Projects like these are tripling the income of participants and equipping them with the knowledge to channel their earnings into profitable investments.
We have invested in 144 projects since 1990, empowering thousands of people to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of extreme poverty.
This Chanukah, as we celebrate 30 years of reducing global poverty, you can support women like Mrs Vinnarasi by giving £30 a month. Increase your current monthly donation, or start supporting us now by setting up your regular donation today, and give a gift this Chanukah.
Mrs Vinnarasi told us, “I have regular work order and a good income… I express my sincere thanks to HNC Trust and Tzedek, UK for the ideas, guidance, support“.
Your gift can help us transform the lives of even more women and families.
Wishing you and your family a happy Chanukah.