All women of the world worry about the same things: themselves, their family, their work. Sometimes the lived daily experience of this is quite different. This is Meenadutta’s story, as told to Geraldine Visser.
“I wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning, 4 at the latest. I first do all the household work: the different activities like cooking or taking care of my in-laws. I then send the children to school so they get there at 8. Then I take some food.
I have time to do all the income generating activities like honeymaking or knitting from 12 until 3. I was trained [By another NGO] to knit different designs. After 3, I am busy with household again; I take care of my in-laws and children. I go to bed at 11.
Before the project we were in the 4 walls of the house. Now we are involved in different activities: beekeeping, and also vegetable growing. We can also go out: if there is a honey fair, we all go and sell the honey there. We make good profit and it is very helpful to the family. We are feeling very proud because we are mixing with you people [NGO members from the state capital city and European volunteers].
We are not alone.
I would like to use my savings to buy a sewing machine. My dream is to unite all the women members and bring a strong platform to start a wool production centre where we all work together getting good income to support our families. We could sell our wool products at the market with the honey.’’
Tribal women find they face less discrimination when they act in a group. Despite India’s booming economy Meendutta has problems getting credit from the bank for her business. With perseverance and the support of our NGO partner JRP that should change. Communal Self-Help groups provide a supportive atmosphere for livelihood activities.
To help Meendutta and other women like her