Page 1

UnionAID Fact Sheet 3 Supporting real change: India

A true life story of a union member Kaleeswari (left) is one of the leaders of the Tribal Agricultural Workers’ Union  in Tamil Nadu, South India. The UnionAID project has enabled more than 30,000  Dalit (untouchable) and Tribal (indigenous) workers like Kaleeswari to unionise  and  improve  conditions  for  themselves,  their  families  and  their  communities.  This is her story: 

My name is Kaleeswari and I live with my family  in a small village on the lower hills of Kodaikanal  in Tamil Nadu in South India. There are 32 families in our village. We  are all poor and own no land to grow our own food. Because 

Lack of roads, transport, and

of this we work for higher caste people, collecting and selling 

water are some of the basic

wild grass,  berries,  honey,  gum,  nuts  and  herbs.    I  take  my 

features of poverty. Roads and

children to the fields as there is no school and we need them 

transport keep people in touch

to work for the family. Our village has many health problems  and  many  children  die  before  the  age  of  five  due  to  malnutrition.  Because water is scarce and dirty, we get sick  from  common  illnesses  like  diarrhoea,  measles  and  chicken  pox.  Often  there  are  no  doctors,  nurses  of  medicines  available to help. We felt that no one cared about us because  we are untouchables. But now things have changed.  

with one another and also increase the prices people can get for crops and products. Roads, even just to the next village give people more choices and also provide access to services like schools and health care.

I am  President  of  the  village  women’s  committee  and    we  meet  regularly  to  discuss  and  make  plans  to  solve  village  problems.  We  learn about basic rights and the government services which can help  us.    We organise rallies and protests to demand equal wages,  education  for  children,  health  care  services  and  clean  drinking water.  We have also formed a women’s bank so  we  don’t  have  to  borrow  at  high  interest  rates  from  money lenders. We now have a voice and we are changing  our lives by taking part politically and economically. 

UnionAID Fact Sheet 3  

I am President of the village women’s committee and we meet regularly to discuss and make plans to solve village problems. We learn about ba...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you