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.
Seventeen-year-old Radha’s father works in a spinning mill in southern India and her mother works in a poultry farm, but their income is not enough to feed their family of five. Radha was studying in 10th grade but she dropped out, deciding she had to take a job at a local mill, earning Rs. 130 ($1.95) per day. She became malnourished as she was working long hours, sometimes without eating meals. In addition, Radha suffered frequent verbal abuse from her supervisors and dreaded going to work each day.
One of the coordinators of a Freedom Fund NGO partner met Radha as she was coming home. She was hesitant to speak about her situation but agreed for the NGO worker to meet her and her parents. The worker spoke about the importance of Radha continuing her education and offered to link her with health and counselling services. Within a few weeks, Radha enrolled in a bridge course offered by the NGO to support her transition back into school and was registered for her 10th-grade exams. The NGO is helping her parents access government services to improve their income, and Radha is excited to be studying once again.