Our local partners in the southern India hotspot, located in Tamil Nadu state, aim to tackle forms of bonded labour in spinning mills through targeted community-based interventions. Despite the importance of the garment industry in providing local jobs, workers face many risks. Up to 80 percent of workers in cotton spinning mills in southern India are female, and most are adolescent girls from low castes. They are often recruited to work under fraudulent pretences and lack basic employment rights and protections.
An innovative approach using film to empower adolescent girls and women is being trialled by partner NGOs across 405 villages in Tamil Nadu, India. This intervention will reach over 10,000 participants, delivered through community adolescent girls groups.
The film, Call Me Priya, and accompanying curriculum were specifically developed for this program by Novo Media. The story in the film, based on interviews with over 60 mill workers and the life stories of 308 individuals in bonded labour, centres on a girl who experiences family troubles and goes to work in a spinning mill. The combined media and discussion program involves a range of activities to facilitate peer dialogue around ways to tackle gender-based violence suffered by young women in the workplace and at home. The aim is that through this process, girls will be better able to challenge the pervasive discrimination they suffer by creating resistance, building negotiation skills and pursuing legal action where necessary.
We are currently evaluating the effectiveness of this new approach through a study assessing whether the participating girls have developed new knowledge and skills, increased their confidence to discuss difficult issues within the household and taken actions to protect themselves or other girls. The results of this assessment are expected later this year.
Learn more in our new report: ‘Her freedom, her voice: Insights from the Freedom Fund’s work with women and girls‘.
The Freedom Fund’s southern India hotspot helps reduce bonded labour in textiles, especially among girls and young women working in spinning mills and garment factories.
Pictured: A still from the film Call Me Priya