• Short Summary

    Women in the Indian village of Jhajha are trading their work as day labourers for food grain rations distributed by voluntary relief agencies.

  • Description

    GV Women with baskets on heads(2 shots)

    SV Women collecting earth(3 shots)

    SV Women throwing rocks onto pile for dam wall (3 shots)

    SV Children playing while mothers work(2 shots)

    GV Dried up river bed(2 shots)

    SV Members of Cassa supervising work at wall project (2 shots)

    TV Men digging well(2 shots)

    SV Women volunteer talking to women

    SV Wheat distributed into workers' containers(4 shots)

    Initials SGM/2259 SGM/2245

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Women in the Indian village of Jhajha are trading their work as day labourers for food grain rations distributed by voluntary relief agencies.

    The "food-for-work" programme, operated by the Catholic Aid and Social Service Agency(CASSA) is one of several stop-gap solutions, being used to meet the hardship faced by several Indian districts, some of which have been without rain for four years.

    Leaving their homes -- and very often their children, to fend for themselves -- the women spend their days carrying earth and stones, for a well-digging and reservoir project.

    The people of Jhajha, and other districts like it, need grain as much as water. The recurrent failures of monsoons have meant that bone-dry fields, and the men who cultivated them, are idle.

    Now the men and the women are working to dig wells and build barrage wells, to catch and hold the monsoon water when it comes, and to head off similar disastrous droughts in the future.

    For a day's work, each worker in being given 2 kilograms(4.5 lbs approx.) of wheat and 100 grams (4 oz), of vegetable oil.

    The programme in Jhajha, in Myngher district, and in similar hard-hit areas, is expected to keep about 10,000 workers for a month or more. Much of the grain provided under the "food-for-work" scheme comes from outside relief agencies. For example, the United States' government authorised a grant of 7 million dollars(GBP 2.75 million sterling approx.) to buy wheat, soya milk and vegetable oil for the aid programme.

    SYNOPSIS: The women of the tiny village of Jhajha live one of the drought-stricken areas of India faced with starvation as the sun-baked land lies idle.

    Water is in desperately short supply, but so is food. And to get food for their families, these women are involved in a food-for-work project run by one of the many outside relief agencies operating in India.

    For a day labour-carrying earth to build water-holding reservoirs and rocks for dam walls -- the women are paid in precious what and vegetable oils.

    The village children must play and live alone by day as their parents work to get even the barest minimum amount of food.

    Some areas of India have seen the vital monsoon rains fail for years. Parched earth lies idle in Jhajha.

    The well-digging and water conservation work is being carried on by relief agencies hopeful that the rains will soon return.

    The men who would have been tilling dry fields are now digging new wells, to guarantee against future droughts.

    The Jhajha project of "food-for-work is similar to several others in drought areas and is administered by a Catholic relief agency.

    Each worker on the Jhajha project receive two kilograms of wheat and a hundred grams of vegetable oil for each day worked. The project was expected to employ and feed about ten thousand workers and their families for a month or more. But beyond that, there is only more hardship until the rains come.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
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