The lives and livelihoods of nearly three thousand Dalit and Tribal workers and their families in the Madurai area have been significantly improved through their active involvement with the Tamil Nadu Labour Union (TNLU). Projects funded by UnionAID have seen 2,790 scavengers, cobblers, basket weavers, street vendors, flower growers and handicraft makers – to name but a few – move out of bonded labour and establish worker cooperatives which they govern and manage themselves. Our field survey data shows raised incomes, less debt, extended education for girls, and higher savings. Just as important, they claim a sense of dignity and worth.
With borders closed to us, UnionAID has contracted Dhan Foundation to work with our partner Manohari Doss and the TNLU team to evaluate outcomes of the latest project. Because they speak the language and understand the local conditions, we look forward to useful recommendations for future work. Watch this space.