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Empowering communities to find their feet

India Programme / Partner story

Photo: © Find Your Feet

The Indian Government provides safety nets for the most vulnerable. We recognise that it will take time to make these provisions readily accessible for everyone and hope to assist in this process.

Poulina Tudu (featured in the photo above) is a tribal woman who lives with her husband in a village in the Godda District of Jharkhand. For their livelihood, the family is dependent on a small piece of agricultural land and on gathering produce and materials from the nearby forest.

Like other community members, Poulina relies on the government-run Public Distribution System (PDS) ration shops for basic food security for her and her family. The PDS system ensures grains are provided by the government at a subsidised rate, so that they are affordable for poor families. However the local distributor had stopped providing the food supply to ration card holders for several months for seemingly no reason. Complaints about this to the local government officials were going unheard.

Poulina decided to act. As she is an active member of the Tribal Rights Forum group, she attended a District Tribal Rights Forum (DTRF) meeting at the Panchayat Bhawan (village council) in Tilabad, Jharkhand. She explained that members of her village had not received ration supplies for months. After deliberating on the issue, the DTRF escalated it to district level authorities.

To support this action, Poulina organised a petition that was signed by community members in writing or using their thumbprint. She presented the petition to the block development officer who immediately investigated. As a result of the findings, a new dealer was appointed for food distribution. Ration card holders have since been receiving their food grain supplies without any issue.

Since Poulina sought justice for her local community through collective action, her experience has taught her of the power and strength of collective action. The organisation Find Your Feet (FYF) empowered Poulina to act on behalf of her family, community and herself. FYF helps poor, rural families to help themselves, speak out against injustice and change things for the better.

This work falls under Oak’s India Programme by aiming to improve the lives of the most marginalised groups. Read more about this part of the strategy here.

Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report 2018