Disaster Changed Her Life

Disaster Changed Her Life

 “I feel empowered to see how my contributions to our household income have increased significantly. Disasters cannot be stopped, but Oxfam taught me to fight adversity and emerge stronger than before.”

30-year-old mother of two, Sylvie is from Ennagaram village in Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu which was devastated by Floods in December 2015.

Sylvie recollects the intensity and unimaginable force with which the floods wreaked havoc in their lives. “My husband had just sowed the paddy. Floods destroyed our crops. We lost most of our household items. Our roof collapsed. We were left with nothing but debt.”

For Sylvie and her family, the months that followed were even more challenging than the struggles they had to endure during the immediate aftermath of floods.
“We took loans, but we didn't know how to repay them. We wouldn’t have managed without the Shelter and Hygiene Items we received from Oxfam India.”

Once the sowing period was over, Sylvie had no money to buy seeds for the next crop cycle. She spent days and nights making chain necklaces to sell which she learned through workshops.

From supplementing the household income, Sylvie had now become the sole earning member in her household with 4 mouths to feed.

“After Oxfam gave our workshop five jewellery-making machines, the production got doubled. Now, they are better in quality and fetch a higher price in the market.”


Oxfam India Disaster Risk Reduction Program

Oxfam’s focus following the December 2015 Tamil Nadu Floods was community-defined and -led recovery—versus simply short-term, traditional relief. 

After the Emergency Relief Phase, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Team stayed on in Cuddalore to address deep, pre-existent challenges—in order to assist the most vulnerable communities to rebuild their shelters, as well as to meet their food and other daily requirements, without having to resort to negative coping mechanisms. 

Oxfam’s livelihood interventions were planned after Detailed Livelihood Assessments and consultation with affected communities through Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) and Focus Group Discussions. The women’s group in Ennanagaram village came forward and expressed keen interest on improving the competitiveness and output of their chain-making venture. 

Earlier, they would sit together at their workshop and make approximately 50 chains per day by hand. Now with the introduction of 5 jewellery making machines from Oxfam to their workshop, they are able to manufacture a minimum of 100 chains daily.


Humanitarian Response and DRR

Oxfam India saves lives by building the resilience of communities to disasters and conflict

Read More

Related Blogs


Stories that inspire us

Humanitarian Response and DRR

04 Aug, 2023

New Delhi

Making Sanitation & Hygiene Facilities Accessible—Delhi Flood Response

While we watched the catastrophic visuals of rains, floods and the raging rivers sweeping away busloads of people, houses, trees and whatnot in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Yamun...

Humanitarian Response and DRR

22 Jun, 2023


Psychosocial Counselling for Balasore Train Tragedy Survivors

Parbati's 20-year-old son Gopal Hembram died in the Balasore Train Tragedy on the night of 2 June 2023. A migrant worker, Gopal was traveling to Chennai from his village in West Bengal in...

Humanitarian Response and DRR

30 Sep, 2022


Assam Floods | Our Response Updates

No humanitarian response should end with immediate relief. Rehabilitating communities is a long drawn process. We need your support. DONATE TODAY https://donate.oxfamindia.org/indiafloods...

Humanitarian Response and DRR

31 Dec, 2021


2021: Your Journey With Oxfam India

2021 was a year of unprecedented humanitarian crises. It was also the year of unprecedented resolve and response by Oxfam India. Just when we were beginning to plan for the future, the se...