The Freedom Fund’s southern India hotspot is helping to reduce bonded labour in the textiles industry by supporting frontline organisations that protect adolescent girls working in spinning mills. One of our southern India partners, Don Bosco, is promoting children’s rights in 40 villages where a large number of adolescent girls work in mills. Among its services, Don Bosco offers education assistance and career guidance to vulnerable teenagers. Usha is one such teen; this is her story:
My name is Usha, and I live in Kakkaveri. I am 23 years old. My father passed away due to illness when I was a child. My mother was working as a wage labourer.
I dropped my studies in high school because of the poverty situation in my family, and I got married when I was 16 years. I have two children. My husband was an alcoholic and was troubling the family every day. So I left him for the sake of my children. After which I resided in a women’s care home for three years.
I was thinking of joining the spinning mill to earn money to raise my children. As I was about to join the mill, I attended the Don Bosco life skills program for adolescent girls who work in the spinning mills. I joined their program and decided to continue my studies. The Don Bosco staff paid special attention to me and encouraged me to pursue my education. With their support, I passed all my exams and scored high marks. Now I am pursuing my first year of nursing training at a local hospital.
I am very thankful to Don Bosco who lifted me from my difficult situation to make my life beautiful. I am grateful to the Freedom Fund who supported me for my studies.
In the poorer communities of southern India, the textile industry provides vital jobs and incomes. However, instances of bonded labour and other abuses are often found within the industry, especially among adolescent girls. The Freedom Fund’s southern India hotspot helps reduce bonded labour in textiles, with a focus on women working in spinning mills and garment factories.