Story of the Month Archive

Each month we highlight the story of one woman who is making a difference in the world.  We invite you to celebrate these women, learn from and be inspired by their stories. We also invite you to share your stories of women leading the way, so that we might share it here.

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August 2010: Meet Juliet Theresita, Tamil Nadu

Juliet Theresita
We are delighted to introduce Juliet Theresita and her work as our first story. Juliet is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Community Services, a non-profit organization that advocates for and serves marginalized and vulnerable fishing communities along the coast of southern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu.  From early childhood Juliet has lived within the community and experienced first hand the social, economic and educational needs.  She also recognized that women and children especially needed social and economic support in a society that was male dominated.

Here is a story Juliet recently sent us:

The Centre for Community Services (CCS) has organized a youth club to motivate and encourage youth in youth led activities in health, education, skills, sports and entrepreneurial development.  Our youth club is affiliated with the District level youth led federation called Nehru Yuva Kndra.  We have involved our youth (health workers) in taking care of natural health by traditional herbal medicines, Yoga and acupressure.

The CCS also runs a tailoring and computer centre which initiates the children and youth in skill development and entrepreneurship.  We also initiate the youth in sports and games.

Last month we organized an indoor and outdoor games and competition for the youth from our Centre and from Nehru Yuva Kendra.

International Collective in Support of Fish Workers
International Collective in Support of Fish Workers

Protest Demonstration
Juliet addresses the crowd at a Protest Demonstration
sponsored by the Centre for Community Services

Juliet’s work is varied and her influence extensive.  In January, 2009 she supported women fish vendors in a demonstration demanding that the National Policy for Urban Street Vendors be put into practice in the state of Tamil Nadu. This policy requires among other things:  access to bank loans and credit opportunities, basic facilities for preparing their fish for market, clean drinking water, toilets, and personal safety and security.

In the summer of 2009 she participated in facilitating workshops for Local Government Women Presidents.  While women may hold office, the power is often dominated by male family members – husbands, fathers or sons.  The workshops enabled women leaders to understand their own power and to create and adopt resolutions that will support them in acting independently.

Juliet is clearly a front line leader.  She says living with the people and responding to their immediate needs is the best strategy for community development.  It is also, she says, what keeps her going when the challenges seem overpowering.

Juliet demonstrates another key leadership quality – she is continually developing her own skills.  In 2009, she was selected as an iLEAP International Fellow and studied in the U.S. for three months. Through connection with Fellows from Zambia, Liberia and Uganda, as well as Seattle area organizations and Antioch University, she deepened her understanding of community development, ecological sustainability, social justice and service.

Game Day Gallery:

kolam Kolam
    Tug of War!