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The use of money

A story of Local Response by Thirunangai Gunavathy

My name is Gunavathi and I come from a transgender community. I visited the village Manmallai where I spent some time talking to a women’s group as part of the SALT visit. I learned so much from this exchange. I learned that saving is very important for communities that are vulnerable because that money enables them to have power. And that was very clear in the village. 

I also learned that because the community was working together they were able to build houses and roads. Collectivisation helped them to feel that they had enough power to ask for their rights from the local government. One of the members of their community has been elected as a councillor. That election has helped the community to build water tanks and new roads and to have a housing scheme.
Even more that that, there was a lady who stood up and said, “Now I do not depnd upon my husband, because I am saving my own money and I have the power to protect myself. Now my husband is dependent on me because I save.”
I was so surprised to see women from the group stand up to say, “I am not dependent on my husband, my husband is dependent on me.” Because in Indian culture, it is very, very rare to say such a thing in front of their relatives and their fellow-women. That made me feel so happy. If these women can come up and say things like this, why is it not possible for a transgender community to organise itself like this community and do the same.
The concept of a SALT visit is something new for me in my community work. We work with a federation of vulnerable communities. So I am going to refer to my community leaders that we should also have this kind of process. We will have community interactions through SALT visits so that we can do things more productively.
This was so helpful for me. I will definitely do it. 

In this video clip, Gunavathi tells her story in her native language and a translation follows:


In this video clip, Gunavathi tells her story in her native language;


...and in this video clip, there is just the translation of Gunavathi's story: