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Survivors equipped to join the fight against injustice

On July 27 and 28, 14 community leaders from multiple districts across Tamil Nadu participated in interactive, activity-based sessions at the community leaders training workshop conducted by IJM. Elected by vulnerable community members themselves, community leaders serve as an important link between the community and government authorities, representing them on several day-to-day issues.

"While there are a variety of factors leading to rebondage, one of the main reasons is that labourers begin to feel helpless and alone when confronted by the challenges of daily living," says Loretta Jhona, Director of Aftercare. "This is where community leaders play a crucial role. We aim to develop action plans with tangible and measureable outcomes that these leaders can implement in their communities. While we don’t want to hand-hold them, we do want to equip these passionate leaders with knowledge and skills.”

Loretta said the focus of these workshops included defining bonded labour so community leaders would be better equipped to raise awareness in their communities, teaching survivors how to access government benefits--not only for themselves, but for other survivors in their communities--and activities that encourage a collaborative effort towards achieving goals.
Survivors also participated in team building games and were equipped with strategies to share their stories with different audiences.

“Ultimately, we want these leaders to be able to share their stories because their testimonies are a powerful tool in the fight against ending bonded labour ,” says Loretta.