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Helping Break Down Social Barriers and Prevent Exploitation and Abuse

Provide nomadic people of the Kattunaickar Tribe with the skills needed to mainstream into society

The Situation

Nomadic children and women in Kanyakumari are often found begging, and the children are exploited as child labor. They are outside of mainstream society and have significant social barriers that must be overcome to save them from abuse.

Sisters’ Response

Sisters established the Vasantham Children’s Home in 1999 to bring nomadic people of the Kattunaickar Tribe into the mainstream of society. Educating these children and the most impoverished and abused women is the priority for this program. But, to accomplish this goal, the social barriers must be overcome.

The Sisters provide three layers of programming:

1) Residential school: This most intensive program provides basic education and opportunities to learn skills that enable cultural inclusion. It also includes vocational training. After their time in the residential program, most of these children can become successful in the government school system.

2) Awareness and Livelihood Assistance: This consists of tutoring on educational basics, and classes and self-help groups on vocational and social skills. The families of these children do not value education, especially for girls, and due to the extreme cultural differences of their nomadic lifestyle, they are not easily accepted into the school system. Both the awareness program and the residential program help young girls break these barriers.

3) Vocational Skills For Impoverished Women: Using the same building, the Sisters also work with impoverished women to build skills such as tailoring and embroidery, helping them to get loans from banks to begin small businesses, motivational and leadership training, saving habits, and understanding their human rights.

Funds Needed: $3000.00

Systemic Impact

Nomadic children and women survive well in mainstream society.

“People were not open to accepting mingling with the nomads because of their stealing, unhygienic habits, and rudeness. Within a year we could see a great change in the children of the home and in the attitude of the people around. For the coming two years we wish to motivate the abandoned and battered women and the economically (challenged) women to be self-sufficient and to bring them up as women of hope for their families. Our aim is to encourage women to get a loan from the bank to do their small business in selling goods so that basic needs are met by the income they get.” — Sr. Celine Mary

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