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Indian women in rural health care fight to be recognized as workers -- not volunteers

Image: Anganwadi women workers checking children's health

There are hundreds of thousands of rural health workers in India that monitor and support the health and welfare of mothers and their children.  The workers are called Anganwadi, which means 'courtyard shelter'.  The Anganwadi program was started in 1975 to combat hunger and nutrition in children in Odisha (formerly Orissa), one of the poorest states in India.

While they are implementing government programs, Anganwadi workers are not employed directly by the government, but are treated as volunteers and given an honorarium instead of wages.

Tens of thousands of Anganwadi women have being on strike for over 45 days, demonstrating in New Delhi, demanding that they be employed as regular workers and receive the benefits that they are entitled to.  The interview is conducted with an Anganwadi labour activist, who preferred to remain anonymous, and the interpreting is done by Vrishali Shruti.

Asia Pacific Currents provides updates of labour struggles and campaigns from the Asia Pacific region. It is produced by Australia Asia Worker Links, in the studio of 3CR Radio in Melbourne, Australia.

Image: Anganwadi women workers checking children's health

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Community_health_worker_gives_a_...(8380317750).jpg

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