Human Rights Activist to visit campus

By Smriti Mishra

Asha for Education, a group that strives to bring basic education to children in villages throughout India, will host a talk featuring prominent social worker Siddamma on Thursday, February 16.

Siddamma is a grassroots activist who has been working in villages throughout the Indian state of Tamil Nadu for the past 12 years. Among her accolades, she has received Outlook magazine’s National SpeakOut Award in 1999, and India’s Best Social Work Award in 2003. She also started the Bharathi Trust, which represents approximately 50,000 people in four districts of Tamil Nadu.

Siddama said her goal is to help people organize themselves in their struggle for human rights. Her work recently led to the release of 300 bonded laborers. She also facilitated rehabilitation work throughout Tamil Nadu after the recent South Asian tsunami.

Siddamma’s current visit to the United States is focused on her presentation to the United Nations on the role of government in responding to natural disasters while protecting land and human rights.

“We are privileged to have her visiting Chicago and our university this week,” said Sneha Ramakrishna, a third-year in the College and member of Asha for Education.

The talk will be held in Stuart 101 Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and samosas will be served after the event.