Livelihood Programs for the Irulartribe: An Initiative Led by the Department of Social Work, Madras Christian College
Located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Irular was once a self-sufficient agricultural tribe. Natural disasters and becoming involved in bonded labour changed all that, and for generations they were mired in this lifestyle. Eventually, the local Indian government and the International Justice Mission (IJM) rescued them from bonded labour and they were relocated on plots of land safe from such dangers. Since then, Madras Christian College and its Social Work students have got involved with a range of intervention programs and lifestyle training to help re-establish the Irular to someday becoming self-sufficient once again. This has been done through livelihood training and the provision of clean water, building homes, and training to reignite interest in their own culture and discovering new ways to bring in an income. These interventions have improved the capacity of the Irular people in several ways including in the agricultural, educational, and economic spheres.