Women Development Movement, Kanyakumari – Women Empowerment
The women, in the beginning, gathered under village level associations to address the basic livelihood problems. However, they soon realized that there had been wider level issues, say, right to land and wage and it required wider level mobilization. HEAL, once again facilitated them with additional training to network the grass root level associations. This is the context of the emergence of the Women Development movement, abbreviated as WDM. In short, WDM emerged as a felt need of the Dalit women to address and assert their right to land ownership and a minimum basic wage.
In the process, WDM addressed issues like Land ownership title (Patta), Rights of persons with disability, Consumer rights, Rights of children, low wages for women, longer hours of work, basic amenities, gender discrimination in work place and sexual harassment. The WDM subsequently become self reliant at functional level and at financial level and has been active in the district.
Rural Women Awakening Movement, Thisayanvilai, Tirunelveli. – Rural Women Reformation.
Radhapuram Block in Tirunelveli District is a most backward area in the District which faces a number of social atrocities like early marriages, domestic violence, social discrimination, child labour, alcoholism, child diseases, exorbitant rate of interest etc. The WDM members shared their experience with the women in this Block. They motivated the Radhapuram Block women to form a Federation as a result of which the Rural Women Awakening Movement was formed. This Movement was successful in solving 17 disputes relating to women issues. HEAL is in the process of conducting 25 cases on behalf of women abandoned by their husbands. Out of these 12 women received justice in the form of compensation. The Movement is functioning actively in the District.
Federation for Rural Disabled Sanghams, Kanyakumari – rehabilitation of disabled
HEAL also involved in protecting the rights of the people through lobby and advocacy measures. When the Government announced the Persons with Disability ACT, HEAL noticed that the ACT was not people friendly and constituted a team of advocates to analyze the ACT and identify the inadequacies. Based on which, HEAL submitted 17 recommendations to the government where 14 recommendations were incorporated in the revised Act.
Kanyakumari District Sea Shell Workers Federation
The Kanyakumari District Sea Shell Collectors who belong to the SC community are also one among the community who were greatly affected by the tsunami that occurred in December 2004. Unfortunately the Government did not take into consideration the loss of livelihood, lives or property borne by this community. Hence these people approached HEAL Movement and expressed their problems. As HEAL was already working among this community, immediate steps were taken to unite this community people so that they can fight for their rights. As a result of this initiative the “The Kanyakumari District Sea Shell Workers Federation” was formed. Recently the sea shell workers/collectors community got recognition and was included in the Fisheries Welfare Board as a result of the active role played by the Federation in this regard.
With the help of the Federation the community is able to find solutions for many problems relating to economic, social or education. They have been successful in getting Identity Cards, Education, housing benefits etc and the problems faced by the women and children are directly dealt by the Federation. Now we are engaged in providing alternative employment training programmes to women and youth so that they can earn an income even in off seasons.