India: What can women do? Rebuilding lives post-tsunami

Originally published


Some attempts to recover and rebuild since the 2004 tsunami have been successful, while others have been knocked down by constraints or unwillingness. Each tsunami-affected village has had its own problems and its own way of dealing with them. However, some recurring themes can be seen:

- Self Help Group membership has helped to increase women's independence. Women feel more secure and less afraid to venture outside their houses.

- For the first time, women are approaching government and NGO officials to submit formal complaints or applications for village improvements.

- Women are active in spreading health and sanitation information within the villages.

- Women have actively sought alternative livelihood sources

- Traditional gender roles are still restricting women from participating in village decisions and accessing village information.

The following four village profiles are accounts of both success stories and failures in NGO, community and women's initiatives in the posttsunami period in Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu.