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Karathittu is predominantly an Irula tribal hamlet in Tamil Nadu. The region is geographically very vulnerable due to its close proximity to the coast and backwater. The Irular community is primarily engaged in agriculture labour, rat and snake catching and other menial and low income jobs. The community faces extreme poverty as they have very limited skills and options to secure their livelihood. The rate of illiteracy is alarmingly high and people from the tribe are often ostracised by other caste groups. All families are largely dependent upon unstable and irregular work and their financial security and well-being remain a matter of concern.Few families in the tribe are currently rearing and raising livestock (cows and goats) for lease from non-tribal communities. In return, they are given the first calf. This highlights that the tribe has experience in rearing livestock but the dearth of opportunity to own livestock due to financial constraints persists.

Looking at the condition of the tribal people in the region, Bank of America (BoA) aided and OneStage supported NGO Udayam came to their rescue. They identified Karathittu village for their rehabilitation work and initiated formation of collectives and village development committees. Two collectives were formed and strengthening of two existing groups was undertaken. The women members of the tribe who were keen to own and rear livestock and were financially supported through the project. INR 25,000 each was given to two groups for alternate livelihood activity. Plenty of grazing land is available within the village and it is easier for women to take care of their household as well as livestock.

Laxmi is one amongst the many beneficiaries from the project who claims that the initiative has helped her to sustain her basic livelihood. She said, “We feel great to own our own livestock as being from the Irula tribe becoming an owner of an asset is not an easy job.”

Udayam is a OneStage validated and supported NGO aided by our corporate partner Bank of America (BoA) under their CSR initiative.

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