“Basically we are trying to ensure that the children do not become child labourers.” Semmalar Selvi, Tamil Nadu, India
This past year has brought unprecedented disruption, economic insecurity and collective grief, around the world and in Australia. In listening to our local partners, it is clear that women and children are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Lock downs have made it harder for women to work, to access health care and to seek protection from family violence. Many of the children our partners work with have not been able to attend face-to-face school for much of the last 12 months and are at risk of falling out of education altogether. In the face of these challenges, our local partners have shown resilience and strength in spades.
Your donation will mean we can back our local partners to not just survive, but grow, meet urgent needs in their communities and have a bigger impact in the coming year. It will mean:
Semmalar Selvi, our PEAB Liaison Officer in India, is determined to keep Dalit and Adivasi children engaged in learning, despite schools being closed for much of the past year. The network of after-school tuition centres run by our partners are on the frontline of the impacts of Covid – they are vital to ensuring that children remain in school, rather than dropping out to take on insecure, dangerous and underpaid work as day labourers.
Help grow our impact in Afghanistan – with new support for female teachers and literacy programs for women in Kabul
This past year has been one of the most challenging to date for our long-standing partnership in Afghanistan. Tragically, over a third of the population is reported to have contracted COVID and the planned withdrawal of foreign troops has led to increased fighting and instability. For the first time in over 15 years, our partner was forced to suspend school building works in 2020.
Thanks to the perseverance and commitment of our partners, we expect work across six schools (with over 1500 students) will begin next month – including building one new school building and working across a further five schools to ensuring existing classrooms have desks and chairs, separate male and female toilets and access to clean water. We have seen from our experience that improving school infrastructure means that schools can operate for the full school year, rather than learning out of tents or old buildings that must close in harsh weather. It means stronger results for students, more students entering university and more girls attending school.
As well as supporting school building works, this year we want to help our partner ensure more girls and women have the chance to be educated. In Ghazni province, this means investing in supplementary salaries for 20 female teachers. Female teachers are important role models for girls and help families feel comfortable to keep their girls in high school.
And in Kabul, this means getting behind a new program put forward by our partners and the newly established Afghanistan Rural Women’s Rights Protection Network to support literacy and life skills programs for up to 500 adult women who are breadwinners in their families. This program will be led by 20 female instructors across seven centres in Kabul.
Help our partners in India stand strong in the face of a devastating Covid outbreak
India is in the grips of a devastating Covid outbreak. In the urban slums and rural villages where our partners work in Tamil Nadu, there is limited access to medical care and clean water, and social distancing is not possible in crowded homes and slum areas. Our partners report that they are literally afraid for their loved ones and their communities. Guna Vincent, Director of Mahalir Sakthi shares “The situation is worse than last COVID. Many many are affected. Friends, family members, neighbours got infected. Facing difficult times and fear to go to hospitals which are already crowded.”
Through this, the teams at Mahalir Sakthi and PEAB are doing everything in their power to support highly marginalised women and children in their communities – distributing masks, personal hygiene supplies and health advice. And perhaps most importantly, they are working hard to provide ongoing tutoring to keep over 200 students engaged in learning across a network of classes.
Many of the children our partners work are the first in the families to continue beyond primary school. With schools facing prolonged closure in Tamil Nadu and increased hardship for families, there is a serious risk right now that kids will drop out of school and slip into insecure, dangerous and unpaid works as day labourers.
This month we have committed to support Mahalir Sakthi and PEAB for a further three years – with increased funding to see them through and beyond the Covid crisis.
Help kickstart a new partnership in Kiribati
We are excited to share that we are launching a new partnership with the Nanikaai Village Association in Kiribati. Kiribati is on the frontline of climate change and its remoteness, lack of arable land and reliance on imported food has had a detrimental impact on the health of the population. Kiribati experiences some of the highest rates of gender inequity and gender-based violence in the world. Over 70% of women report experiencing physical or sexual violence – and around 90% of women report experiencing some form of controlling behaviour. This often results in married women or adolescent girls having restricted movement, preventing their participation in sports and recreation activities.
The Nanikaai community, a small urban village on the main island of Tarawa, has a vision. A vision that allows girls fair and equitable access to exercise and sport without the threat of body image shaming or ridicule. A vision to develop leadership and teambuilding skills across the community. A vision for a future where women and girls are able to participate equally in all aspects of village life. We want to work with you and the Nanikaai community to make this vision a reality.
In the first year, your support will mean that a male and female member from each Nanikaai community committee will graduate from a train the trainer course in coaching and leadership. It will support action research into the barriers to women’s participation in sport, fund sporting equipment and sporting events and support the community to deliver gender-focussed workshops to redefine masculinity and build respectful relationships. This new program will improve health outcomes and build teamwork and leadership skills across the community, with a focus on getting girls and young women active and more engaged
Your support is vital:
With your support, we will continue to work, as we have for 20 years, trusting the knowledge, resourcefulness and tenacity of our community partners. Our partners are mobilising and doing vital work to help their communities confront the health and livelihood impacts of this pandemic – and to keep their eye on programs that make a long-term difference.
Why indigo foundation?
When it comes to international development and human rights, we know you have choices about where to direct your support.
With indigo foundation, the power of local community development is unleashed through respectful long-term partnerships. For over 20 years, indigo’s valued supporters have helped some of the most marginalised communities in the world to build schools, train teachers and establish community gardens. Helped them provide scholarships and training opportunities for students and women. Supported communities to confront gender-based violence and taken steps to improve sexual and reproductive health. Together we have built respectful, community-led, long-term partnerships that enable communities to lead and implement their own solutions. We are a small and nimble team with big goals and we are 100 percent focused on the impact communities can achieve. Your donation will make an exponential difference in communities not reached by other non-government organisations and donors.
Thank you for believing in community-led development and thank you for being an important part of indigo foundation.