Twice before many of you, my friends and well-wishers, came forward to support the Tribal Health Initiative (THI) in their mission to provide basic healthcare and empower the people of Sittilingi- a village in South India and a home for 10,000 tribal men, women and children. Our collective efforts helped build the first ICU in Sittilingi! Having laid the groundwork for basic healthcare in the village, THI has identified other key problems in the valley that are common to rural areas in India. The villagers are highly dependent on an agricultural income, and changes in climate and policies in the last two decades has left several of them impoverished and resulted in massive migration into the cities in search of alternative livelihoods, which in addition to breaking families up has historically only added to the urban poor as very few manage to find their ground in the cities they move to. To counter this problem, THI has started initiatives to help the villagers sustain their lives in the village and to promote financial independence among tribal women, because traditionally Sittilingi women have been dependent on men as the sole breadwinners.
The Porgai Artisan's Association is an effort spearheaded by THI to organize and financially empower the talented women of Sittilingi skilled in the dying tradition of tribal embroidery. Although tribal embroidery has been dwelling within the community for generations, the association provides a structure to organize the women and translate their skills into enterprise. In the last few years, the artisans have traveled to several exhibitions around the country to sell their finished products and have been received with enthusiasm. With an additional 20 artisans joining the association this year, this program is expanding!
This initiative has the potential to support hundreds of tribal families and like any new venture, it is in severe need of funds to be able to sustain itself. This is a great opportunity for us to get together in this new year and continue to help these women take control of their lives, and support their families too. Please come join me and AID Houston in empowering families of this tiny, under-resourced yet hardworking village of Sittilingi! Any size contribution can go a long way!
To help you understand the impact of your contribution:
Rs. 1500 buys a year long supply of raw material for one artisan
Rs. 3000 supports travel and rental costs for 2 artisans for craft bazaars in three different cities
Rs. 5000 can buy 2 used sewing machines for garment tailoring
Rs. 9000 supports year-long travel and rental costs for 4 artisans for craft bazaars