This is Malu. She belongs to the Kattu Naika tribe in Wayanad and lives in the tribal hamlet of Ponkuzhy Kattunaika with her husband and three children. When the Family Development team visited her family for the selection process they found that Malu, a tuberculosis patient, was not receiving proper treatment, food, or care. They were not living in safe housing – their home was a single roomed shed – and they had no safe drinking water or sanitation facilities.
Malu had stopped going to the temple and public functions and was reluctant to visit relatives. Malu and her husband, Vellan, are both illiterate like many adults in the area, and they were living in a place where they had no food or regular income. Being withdrawn from society created additional barriers to their ability to support themselves.
In 2017, the family was selected to be part of the Family Development Program by Shreyas, the local NGO. They only speak and understand their tribal language, but luckily the coordinator Lilly Varghese also speaks this language. She was able to listen to Malu and hear about her struggles and her needs.
The FDP team contacted the tribal department and public health services, and helped Malu to get immediate medical attention. Lilly met with Malu and her community to discuss their rights and benefits that they can obtain from the tribal department and the local government, informing them of subsidies, grants, etc.
Malu and her family started a goat rearing business with the help of SAFP. They also secured the housing support from the Save A Family Golden Jubilee Housing Program in order to build a safe and comfortable shelter. Through the SAFP trainings, they learned to prepare organic manure and used it in their flourishing vegetable garden where they can now get chemical-free and pesticide-free vegetables.
Their children Sandhya and Sandeep are getting an education, and their health has improved. Their house construction is progressing and is projected to be completed before July 31st, 2019. Not only is the family is doing well, they are role models in their village. Malu, who was once reluctant to engage with the community, has been selected as the sangam leader, a community leadership role within their tribal hamlet.
Special thanks to our Partner NGO Shreyas and volunteer Lizzie Larabie for their work on this story!