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Theirs is a daily battle for keeping the wolf away

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THE TOIL SHOULD GO ON: Tribal women from Anantagiri district working for road construction in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R.Deepak
THE TOIL SHOULD GO ON: Tribal women from Anantagiri district working for road construction in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R.Deepak

Nivedita Ganguly

Millions of women struggle against discrimination, poverty

International Women's Day has no impact on the lives of tribal women They migrate to city in the absence of work during summer

VISAKHAPATNAM: Their eyes reflect a life of dreary existence as they toil hard in the blazing sun. Groups of tribal women relentlessly work throughout the day in the busy streets of the city. While the world celebrates International Women's Day on Tuesday, millions of women like them still battle against poverty, discrimination and unequal access to education, training, credit and technical assistance.

There is a whole, separate world of people without a roof -- a microcosm of the invisible underbelly of society.

Their journey from the vast green lands of the tribal belts bordering Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Visakhapatnam has been one of extreme struggle and determination.

Tales of woe

Kamala has come here all the way from Anantagiri leaving her husband and son behind in search of a livelihood.

She does manual labour and manages to earn a paltry Rs.60 per day for 12 hours of work. The contract work extends only up to a period of 15 days.

"We practise podu cultivation and somehow manage to survive. But during summer, there is no source of income. So we have to come to the city to earn some money,'' she laments. Women of all age groups constitute the majority of labour force. There are more than 100 tribal women who come to the city from Paderu, Anantagiri and Orissa, in search of greener pastures. Tribal girls of tender age are forced to move out and join these women due to extreme poverty.

What makes things worse for them is that most of the times, they have to stay away from their near and dear ones. For these tribal women, poverty and rejection have become a part of life. But there is a will to carry on with life, despite all hardships.


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