Muthulakshmi is a 39-year-old single mother who has been working as a garment worker for over 21 years. She used to earn around 6000 Rs. per month (around 74 Swiss francs), which were essential to support her two children and her mother, who lives with them.
Due to the spread of the Covid pandemic, the Tamil Nadu government has issued an order to close all companies. Muthulakshmi lost her job and was struggling to get a new one to meet her family's basic needs. She was not able to feed her children just two meals a day and couldn’t pay rent for their house.
Muthulakshmi had been managing her family’s survival for 4 months in these difficult conditions with the help of the free dry ration distribution programs supported by ActionAid in coordination with the local Tamil Nadu government.
She then started working in catering for marriage banquets. In this job, she was being sexually harassed by her contractor. At ActionAid, we worked with the community mobilizer of Shivraj Patel Foundation to support her and overcome this frightening and stressful situation.
After six months, she finally found a different job for another garment company, but she has to work for less pay due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many women working in the garment industry are facing similar situations like Muthulakshmi. They are requesting the government ensure that grants are given to support garment workers. As ActionAid, we ensure that workers as Muthulakshmi have access to food for their families. We also work so that the voices of garment workers in India and elsewhere are heard and supported.