Chitamma – India

Linked with ProPoor.org, and with Fish trade: women join hands against middlemen menace.

Chitamma is the driving force behind Samudram, a federation of fisherpeople in 21 coastal blocks of Orissa that trains women to be economically independent and demands entitlements to education, public health, PDS and water … (full text).

She says: (about Koturu, a very small village). “If there was anything aplenty here, it was the staggering number of alcoholics. Even women were drinking!” … “People were constantly borrowing money from sahukars for medical expenses, marriages, festivals, even to buy food. Borrowing for food never struck them as unusual. Money borrowed to meet health or marriage expenses was, to them, real borrowing. It all added up in the end, but people never really saw the connection” … (full text).

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Chitamma – India

Chitamma was the natural choice for president. “Everyone unanimously nominated me, and I couldn’t refuse, not after having come such a long way,” she says, a little embarrassed. “Samudram has 11 executive members, including the president and secretary, and a total membership of 3,080, all traditional fishermen. Members can join by paying a lifetime membership of Rs 150” she adds … (full text).

Assisted by over 7,000 volunteers from around the world, Charity Focus and its ProPoor network offers an impressive database of news, information and job searches on the Internet … (full text).

Clad in a simple cream-coloured sari, blue blouse and matching blue bangles, 65-year-old B Chitamma greets us with a warm smile as we step into her spartan office.

There’s a prosperous feel to the village — a new high school building, the (gaudy pink) cyclone shelter, concrete bylanes, and the general hustle and bustle of a small, close-knit fishing community going about its business. “It was not like this 10 years ago… we have seen our livelihoods and food security disappear faster than the fish in Chilika,” Chitamma quips. “There was a time when we told the government: either you kill us, or you give us our fishing grounds back (from the non-fishermen). But it didn’t make a bit of a difference to the government!”

Born in Visakhapatnam, Post Gandhigram (in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh), Chitamma is fifth in a line of three brothers and three sisters. Her parents worked with the Scindia Shipping Company in Visakhapatnam city, her father a mason and her mother doing odd jobs with the company. With everyone away at work and her sisters married off, Chitamma had to drop out of school while still in Class 5 to take care of the home.

Marriage to P Potadu, a fisherman, at 20, meant relocating to her husband’s village of Koturu, in Orissa, from her native village of Sanolianuagan in Andhra Pradesh. (full text).

LIVELIHOOD AND MICRO-ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
FOR WOMEN IN COASTAL FISHING COMMUNITIES IN INDIA
Case studies of Orissa and Maharashtra, 80 pages … (full text).

OUTPUT AND IMPACT MONITORING STUDY OF KAWAD PROJECT, 186 pages.

Secretary of United Artiste Mangaraj Panda and president of `Samudram’ Chitamma opined that women leaders had a greater role to play, for they could be catalysts in the emancipation of women of their community. (full text).

links:

Sethusamudram;

Sethusamudram info;

The Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project;

Art of Celebrating Life;

NDA conceived and planned Setu Samudram, Congress;

Chitamma: a huge amount of pictures and receipts on cooking;

Voice of the people, January 2, 2008.

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