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CHENNAI, INDIA – On Independence Day (15 August), the honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, bestowed a “Best Governance Award” to Dr. Alby John Varghese, the District Collector of Tiruvallur, for setting up a special income-generating brick kiln for survivors of bonded labour in his district.
To celebrate the award, Dr. Alby John invited IJM staff and the survivors to the district’s official Independence Day celebrations. This is the first time survivors of bonded labour were invited to such an occasion. Once marginalised in their own communities, these women and men now stood proudly in the forefront to celebrate their country’s freedom alongside senior government officials.
During the event, the district government highlighted the Siragugal Brick Kiln as one of the District Collector’s top three achievements. He then awarded the survivors for their dedicated efforts in running the kiln and presented certificates of appreciation to six IJM staff who helped contribute to the initiative.
Dr. Alby John also tweeted about the event to express his joy in receiving this award and celebrating alongside survivors of bonded labour. He said
“Proud and happy that our initiative – Siragugal Bricks, community owned brick kiln for rescued bonded labourers – got selected for Tamil Nadu Govt’s Good Governance Awards. More happy to invite Siragugal team to the Independence Day Program and to share happiness with them.”
Read more about the brick kiln and award in Indian Masterminds.
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