Newsletter September 2020

Welcome to the September Newsletter for Action Village India. We are happy to share information on Madras Cafe Unlocked, COVID-19 updates and announce the launch of the new AVI website.

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Dear Friends,

Across India today the social and economic crisis being felt and lived by millions of women, men and children is accentuating and exacerbating the inequality, exclusion and injustices that were at the heart of their lives before Covid-19. Inequalities included those rooted in caste and between men and women have become deeper and wider.

The vulnerabilities experienced by the millions of informal workers made unemployed overnight with effectively no rights or social protection, forced them to migrate to the villages they had left months and often years before. As Action Village India partner Ekta Parishad poignantly share, “these millions of migrant workers are ‘Nowhere People’. The laws, policies, schemes, and institutions been made to protect their ‘Rights and Dignity’ have locked down much before the political reality of today.” 

The work of Action Village India is rooted in partnerships and solidarity, principles which have been a vital foundation for our work across India and at the core of our many initiatives and activities responding to the challenges of 2020.

Our partnerships have been strengthened in a range of ways. We have responded positively to partners’ priorities and when they have revised activities in the context of the social and economic crisis facing the communities and women, men and children that they are working with. We have been a respected bridge for your solidarity, enabling support to their vital initiatives.

Ekta Parishad has played and continues to play, a vital humanitarian support role for stranded, returning and returned migrant workers.

We have provided and are continuing to provide platforms for partners to share and exchange their work and learning on how they have evolved since lockdown started in India. These exchanges have included our series of online discussions as part of Madras Café Unlocked. We are also discussing a transformed, and appropriate, Partners’ Forum.

It is very clear that the social and economic effects of COVID-19 and the related local and national responses will have ongoing and lasting impacts on the lives and livelihoods of marginalised communities.

The staff, volunteers and trustees of Action Village India are more committed than ever to work with partners across India striving for more just, equal and inclusive communities. The support and solidarity of our supporters are at the heart of enabling this to continue to be possible. We and our partners warmly value and respect this.

2020 has also seen the cancellation of WOMAD and the huge contribution of the Madras Café and its passionate and committed volunteers to create their delicious dishes for over 4,000 people. As a result, we have lost out on over  £25,000 which they would have contributed to Action Village India.

Instead, we worked together to offer the inspiring Madras Café Unlocked, a wonderful online festival of food, festivities, music, solidarity and shared humanity in support of rural communities in India, which was an uplifting and exciting success on many levels. In addition, we received £5336.62 in support for Action Village India. This is so valued. Thank you to everybody who participated and made this possible.

The events of this year have shown the strengths of Action Village India and how we express our solidarity with partners working with communities across rural India.

We recognise the challenging times that we are all living in. We, therefore, ask you to, please, share what you can to enable us to support our partners in their vital work.

Sincere thanks,

Andy Rutherford
Chair of Trustees, Action Village India

Newsletter September 2020

Partner Updates

ASSEFA, Tamil Nadu
On last Sunday, the busy streets were deserted due to lockdown. The man-made discipline, made us isolated from other human beings. We decided to move out of urban to rural areas and reached a village near Sivakasi, the fulcrum of fireworks. We crossed a sewage channel which divides the lower and upper caste communities and sat down on a stone bench where I spent many days three decades ago. continue reading… 

CRUSADE, Tamil Nadu
As of end-August ‘20, there are 158 groups of people with disabilities (PwDs) in the four blocks with 1532 members. Of these 1185 persons (77%) have National ID cards and 834 receive monthly maintenance allowance of Rs 1000/month from the state. Around 100 groups have their own bank account. continue reading… 

Ekta Parishad, Nationwide
According to the Census of India (2011), the number of migrant workers in India is around 139 million. Among this estimate, the largest numbers of migrants are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Bengal. continue reading… 

Lakshmi Ashram, Uttarakhand
This Sanchar tells about the corona virus situation in India and in Lakshmi Ashram. The students were sent home to their villages in April and May, when India locked down. They came back to the Ashram in July. Two of the eldest girls tell about their experiences from the two and a half months at home. continue reading… 

NBJK, Jharkhand & Bihar
48,778 cotton masks stitched by SHG/Inclusive SHGs, 8,114 needy persons were provided with Dry Ration kits with 15 days food, Breakfast Kits were provided to 10,000 migrant labourers staying at quarantine centres of Hazaribag and Ramgarh. continue reading… 

RCDC, Odisha
Odisha is experiencing a hard time with regard to reverse migration due to lock down and shut down of a lot many business institutions, cottage industries, small and medium scale industries that are labour intensive in nature. continue reading… 

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Madras Café Unlocked
We are slowly coming to the end of Madras Café Unlocked, with only 3 more events lined up. It has been a great summer of food, festivities, music, solidarity and shared humanity and a great partnership between Action Village India and Madras Café. Luckily all the events are still available to be viewed until May/June 2021 and you can still join us for the last 3 events:

  • Wednesday 23rd September, 12:30: Engaging young women and men towards a gender-just society Panel Discussion
  • Thursday 24th September, 18:00: Food Justice – a grassroots perspective from the West Midlands, UK
  • Saturday 26th September, all day: The Meal – a virtual, distanced international meal to support Jai Jagat’s vision of global and local Justice and Peace.


Supporters Day, 7th Nov
We are organising our Supporters’ Day (previously known as the social part of our AGM), which we originally planned to take place on Saturday 7th November. Due to COVID-19 and the restrictions currently in place, we are looking into organising an online supporters day. We have been coming up with some ideas, but are really interested in getting your input. We would therefore like to kindly ask you to fill out our questionnaire so we can organise the event better. Thank you.



AGM, 7th Nov
This year our Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 7th November 2020 at 13:00 online. If you would like to attend our AGM, please get in touch with Aneeta on [email protected]. If you would also like to vote at our AGM, please make sure you become a member. You can now set up a regular payment through our website.

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Other News

New Website
Over the last 2 years, we have been working hard together with our web developer Mat on a new and improved website. We are very happy with the result and hope it will enable people to get a clearer view of our partners’ work and what we do.


Annual Report
2019-2020 has been a great year for Action Village India and our partners and we are happy to share our annual report with you.



As part of our new website, we have also developed a new webshop. All our carefully selected products are hand-made by artisans in India, many of whose craft is under threat. 100% of profits from the products’ sale go to Action Village India’s development projects and partners in rural India. All products are traceable to their origin.


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