Preventing Exploitation of Nomads, Kanyakumari, India


The Situation

Nomadic children and women in Kanyakumari are often found begging; 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.

“The children are trained to earn at a very early age begging or rag picking. This keeps them deprived of access to main stream of education and social development.” Sr. Celine Mary

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 for these priority people.

  • Residential School

The first level is a residential program for 25 children. 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.

 “People of the place were not open to accept 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. Many people came to our help to maintain the home like firewood, milk, rice, dress materials, medical camps and small donations in kind and cash.” Sr. Celine Mary

  • Awareness and Livelihood Assistance

The sisters and their staff also provide what they call “Awareness and Livelihood Assistance” for 100 children. 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 the young girls break these barriers.

“Our experience of the years, prompt us to give them vocational training in their spare time and weekends. We hope to equip them for greater job opportunities and self-employment by the time they finish their schooling.” Sr. Celine Mary

  • Vocational Skills for Impoverished Women

Using the same building, the sisters also work with 300 impoverished women to help them build skills such as tailoring and embroidery work,  helping them to get loans from banks to begin small businesses, motivational and leadership training, saving habits and understanding their human rights.

“For the coming two years we wish to motivate the abandoned and battered women and the economically backward women to be self-sufficient and to bring them up as a women of hope for their family. Our aim is to encourage women to get 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

Funds Are Needed

Your donation would go towards these items that can be used in all three programs:

  • Purchasing a sewing machine………..$100
  • Purchasing material……………………….$500
  • Purchasing a computer………………….$500

Or support these programs

  • Village animator for Women’s Program…….$840/year
  • Awareness Program for School Children….…$250/year

Immediate Charitable Response

$20,470.00 in the first year, decreasing funding in following years


Systemic Goal

Nomadic children and women survive well in mainstream society


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