Tsurila – a beacon of hope for disadvantaged girls & women

C Tsurila, one of the recipients of Nagaland State Commission for Women 2024

C Tsurila, one of the recipients of Nagaland State Commission for Women 2024

Morung Express News
Kohima | March 14

Unbeknownst to many, a compassionate and dedicated advocate for women empowerment, C Tsurila has been tirelessly working to empower underprivileged girls and widows, and with her unwavering determination she has become a beacon of hope and bringing changes in the lives of many.

Her work is not only transforming lives but also reshaping societies to embrace gender equality and inclusivity. Tsurila’s indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment exemplifies the power of hope proving that even the most disadvantaged can overcome adversity and achieve greatness.

One of the recipients of the Nagaland State Commission for Women 2024 for her outstanding works, Tsurila hails from Muleangkiur village, Shamator district. Married with a daughter, she has been instrumental in creating awareness about women’s issues and concerns, health, digital literacy, livelihood interventions, leadership skills etc.

She has been instrumental in creating awareness about women’s issues and concerns, health, digital literacy, livelihood interventions, leadership skills etc.

Among many, one of her outstanding work has been facilitating women from disadvantaged backgrounds and drop out students particularly girls in linking them with various departments for skill development trainings, such as basket making (banana fibre), bamboo handicrafts, beadworks and weaving etc.

The beginning
Mentored under North East Network (NEN) through training and guidance, Tsurila speaking to The Morung Express said she has realised the crucial need to do something for the drop outs and underprivileged women of her community.

Though she could not complete her graduation, Tsurila said the experience of working with the underprivileged, drop out students and widows have been a great learning experience.

“This has not only allow me to understand a lot about womenfolk in general, but it has broaden the horizon for me,” said Tsurila adding with optimism that soon the society will be a better place to live in with bold, confident and independent women from all walks of life.

Persisting gender disparity
Through her years of experience, she noted how women are often neglected and expected to live and grow only within the demarcated circle that society expects women to live. Under that scenario, she said young girls, widows and mothers are unable to work for themselves and who have no source of income to support themselves even for their basic needs.

When asked on the scenario of drop-outs in her area and the reasons behind, Tsurila said, “it is never enough’ explaining ‘by the time we pick up one, another is thrown in.”

Most drop-outs, she cited are the outcomes of financial issue, parents negligence, lack of awareness on the importance of education, and the preference of educating male child over female.

Pointing out a sad reality, Tsurila said parents do all they can to educate a male child while keeping the girl child for household chores with the belief that a girl will be married off to another family and there is not much outcome by giving her education. Subsequently, most girls ended up early marriage, she stated. 

Hence, aware of the unique challenges faced by girls and women, particularly in her area, Tsurila said she made a decisive step to be the voice of the voiceless women when she got an opportunity working under NEN and SEWA. “I want women to know the importance of being independent and helping each other by voicing and working towards one goal.”

Encountering challenges
The biggest challenge according to Tsurila is time, communication, and lack of resources, infrastructures, transportation and non-implementation of government schemes. 

Coupled with bad roads, she said the lack of taxis and autos made it difficult to reach out more frequently to women who live far away especially the neighbouring villages. With most women engaged in farming, home based workers and vegetable vendors or have young children to look, lack of cell phone or no money to recharge are some of the challenges at the ground zero.

Further with lack of proper infrastructure, facilities and materials, Tsurila said it hinders in providing better skill training to them. “Often I’m disheartened when women especially old age and young girls approach me with their issue and most times I am unable to provide them with the help they need,” she said regretfully.

Success stories
With the support of NEN and SEWA, she informed that skill development programme is being conducted every year where women are taught with different skill like handicraft of bamboo, banana fibre, baking, knitting, organic farming and making pickles etc to at least create some source of income.

“I am happy to say that through this, over hundreds of girls and women today have started to implement these skills and are supporting themselves and their family to some extent,” said Tsurila with full of pride.

Citing an example, she said Tsüla, a mother of 6 children who was skilled in making bamboo cups and flask, foot wear making has made an income of Rs 42,000 recently, and she continue to receive orders from different people and neighbouring villages. She also now works as a trainer.

Another young drop-out, Kumkila is now giving free tuition to underprivileged kids of poor families wherein NEN in collaboration with Shamator Town Students Union sponsor her expenses in return for her services.

“It is one of those small steps of success that brings smile to many families and myself,” said Tsurila beaming with happiness.

This award goes out to every woman
Dedicating the NSCW Award 2024 to every woman whose struggles go unheard, she was grateful to NCSW for the honour and recognition. Encouraged to forge ahead for a better tomorrow, Tsurila said she will continue to strive towards the promotion and uplift of women and girls of her community and Naga women as a whole.

She also appreciated all individuals, local communities, organisations and churches for their support, cooperation and trust in making thus far.