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Issue No.48
  • :0973-1156
  • :March
  • :2015

March 8, or International Women’s Day, is an occasion for women across the world to gather in solidarity to mark women’s ongoing struggles for equality, freedom, dignity and a violence-free life. For more than a hundred years, ever since the historic protests of New York’s garment workers forced the commemoration of this important day, March 8 has also been an occasion for women on their long road to freedom to take collective stock of gains made and setbacks suffered, and to plan ahead. As examples from across the world in this issue of Yemaya illustrate, so it is in the case of women in fishing and coastal communities, whose lives are a daily testament to the spirit of struggle and resilience underlying International Women’s Day.

Q & A

Interview with Bela Behera, fishworker and board member of Samudram, a federation of women’s self-help groups in Odisha, India

By Shuddhawati Peke (, Programme Associate, ICSF

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

My name is Bela Behera. I am from Balidia village of Astrang Block in Odisha, India. I am a board member of the Puri district-level federation of Samudram. My husband along with three other villagers owns a fibre fishing boat. I take care of his food and gear for the fishing trip, and I also sell fish, at the landing centre or door to door. Then, I look after the house work, our home kitchen garden and also the milk cows we keep to help support our children’s education.

Please tell us about Samudram.

Samudram is a federation of self-help groups of women in five districts of Odisha. It organises skill development programmes in record keeping, and awareness programmes on issues like gender equality, HIV, right to education and right to information. When I joined Samudram in 2008, it was to save money for household expenses. Samudram helped me free mysel

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