|Posted by bibiddream on November 29, 2017 at 2:10 AM|
Each afternoon the men of Thennamadevi leave their village and head for the surrounding fields, many carrying bottles of high-strength home-brewed alcohol. Hours later they stagger back home through the paddy fields of the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.
Thennamadevi is racked by alcoholism. Most of its 150 male inhabitants participate in ruinous daily drinking sessions. Around 90 women with families in the village have been widowed. The youngest husband to die was 21.
However, over the past six months something remarkable has happened to break the cycle of squalor and despair: the teenage daughters of the drunken men have taken over the running of the place. And it’s working.
A self-titled “young girls’ club” has fixed the street lights, completed a health audit of the village and ensured that mobile clinics visit Thennamadevi. A library is being built where well-thumbed books promote the virtues of learning and independence. The phenomenon of teenage female self-help has made aid agencies and politicians across the state sit up and take notice.
In the communal building, beneath the glow of a single lightbulb, the girls assembled earlier this month for a debate on further improvements. A petition urging better transport links – no buses pass near the village – has been drafted to be put to the local council.