Forty three year old Tamrichilvi considers herself a happy woman. Since the last six years she has been working at Women on Wings’ partner Farm Harvest and she feels that thanks to her job, and the income it brings, she shares an equal status as her husband. A mother of two daughters and one son, Tamrichilvi makes sure that her income is used for their education.
Hit by COVID-19
Tamrichilvi comes from a village near Farm Harvest’s processing unit in Salem. Farm Harvest is the brand name of social enterprise Sri Jayashree Food Products, also known as ‘the king of sweet corn’. It sells all sorts of products made from fresh corn which are processed by women like Tamrichilvi. Tamrichilvi is happy to talk to the Women on Wings’ team who worked with Farm Harvest’s management last April on reviewing its strategy, since the COVID-19 pandemic had created some challenges for the social enterprise. Tamrichilvi shared: “We all had struggled during the first lockdown when there was a complete shutdown, but later me and my family managed to work and get an income. Nobody in my family got corona, but we were scared since people around us were dying.”
Income pays for education
She looks sad when she recalls that period. But soon she is all smiles again when she starts talking about her youth and her children. She remembers well that she was a happy girl who wanted to be educated. Said Tamrichilvi proudly: “I loved going to school and I studied till class 12. And then soon after I got married. Now I love to work. That really makes me happy. I feel independent when I go to work. At home I am more dependent on my husband. And I may not have full control over my income, it does pay for the education of all my children and that’s most important. I want my daughters to be married in good households.”
Tamrichilvi has an arranged marriage: “I was seventeen when I got married to my husband. He had a good job at TATA Magnesite. I don’t think my life changed a lot after getting married. I remember I was really happy on our wedding day. I have a good family. And I like all those special moments with my family, like weddings of the younger ones.” Her relatives see the change in Tamrichilvi since she started working at Farm Harvest and they are inspired by her. Tamrichilvi can be seen as a role model, not only for her children but also for her relatives. One of her relatives also got a job at Farm Harvest alongside Tamrichilvi.