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A Helping Hands for Fishing Communities When Disaster Strikes

OMCAR Foundation

Following the passing of her husband in 2013, she faced multiple personal problems which were further exacerbated by climate and health crises faced by the fishing community, which she is a part of. The family’s income is unstable.


Thilakavathi and her family have benefitted from several OMCAR Foundation initiatives.  The OMCAR Foundation aims to conserve the Palk Bay ecosystem through participatory marine resource management. They do this by raising community awareness about nature conservation, enhancing community engagement in conservation efforts, and conducting research on coastal resource management in collaboration with the government. 


Thilakavathi shares that staff members from the Foundation first came to her house as part of a survey and collected data. At that point, she did not understand what the data was being collected for. The surveyors explained that this data would help map her house in terms of risk during natural disasters. Given the good work they were doing, she requested them to help her in any other way they could.


Thilakavathi’s community is hugely impacted by cyclones, floods, and other natural disasters. This affects their livelihood as well as their homes. They depend upon daily wages for their needs and seasonal unemployment and crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and cyclones make life even more insecure. Ever since participating in the survey, her family has benefitted from their engagement with the OMCAR Foundation in multiple ways.


She recalls that the OMCAR Foundation helped her a lot during Cyclone Gaja in 2018. Their house was flooded and they had to evacuate. OMCAR Foundation provided her family, along with multiple other families, with food and shelter for a month till they could return to their homes. OMCAR foundation also provided the family with relief materials, which included groceries for a month, when she and her family were down with COVID-19. Thilakavathi mentions how it was only due to this relief material that they were able to get anything to eat at all during that time, as there was no way for them to earn an income then.


Both her daughters, Anushree and Priyadarshini are able to pursue their higher education with the help of the scholarship that the OMCAR Foundation has provided them with. The fact that they can pursue their education despite the hardships brings great joy and pride to their mother, Thilakavathi.

“ When we earn, we eat; if we don’t earn, we can’t eat ”

R. Thilakavathia, a single mother of two daughters and a person with a disability. She lives in Thanjavur in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu

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