The power of Kudumbashree

Kumari died on September 1. She had contracted leptospirosis while doing relief work in Kerala after the floods, away from her own home which had not been affected. She was a health volunteer and prominent member of the Kudumbashree Mission in her panchayat in Ernakulum district. Kumari’s work and life symbolises the spirit of Kerala reflected in the inspirational way in which the people of the State have faced the worst disaster in a century. United in relief work Among the heroic stories of selfless community service are those of the Kudumbashree women, who have perhaps not got the attention they deserve. The attention is necessary not just to accord women relief helpers like Kumari recognition and appreciation, but also to understand how such an enormous, effective and well-planned intervention could be made across the State by women through their own initiatives. One got a glimpse of the process at a district-level informal review meeting of around 60 key coordinators of Kudumbashree in Kozhikode, which suffered landslides and heavy rain. Women from working class families, women from the lower middle class and middle class, Muslim women and Dalit women were present. They were a microcosm of the 2.43 lakh groups functioning across the State. Within a day or two of the deluge, the Kudumbashree members started contacting each other to discuss what they should do. They divided themselves into squads of five to six members and started relief work. They were helped by the district coordination team of five women, who were on deputation to the Kudumbashree Mission from the government. Within a short span of time, there were 7,000 women volunteers engaged in various tasks. When the situation in their district improved, some of them set out to neighbouring districts like Thrissur and Wayanad to help. Many of these women have family responsibilities, but they convinced their families of the urgency of the work at hand and set off with all the equipment required for cleaning which they themselves had collected through sponsorships. Some of them went to relief camps to distribute relief material; others went to tribal areas which had been badly affected by landslides.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/the-power-of-kudumbashree/article24963546.ece

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