Social and Cultural Anthropology

Conservation and Indigenous Healing: Internship with the Irula Tribe Women's Welfare Society

The Irula tribes in north-eastern Tamil Nadu are mostly jungle dwellers and have special knowledge about the use of forest herbs and other natural resources. The Irula Tribe Women's Welfare Society (ITWWS) aims to preserve and promote this traditional knowledge. In a spacious area in Thandarai (Chinglepet District), the non-governmental organization has provided seed plots and function rooms. Members, mainly Irula, grow medicinal plants there and inform, advise or treat visitors according to their own methods. Volunteers can actively help out here, writing theoretical papers on Irula medicine or biodiversity conservation, or assisting with projects in the surrounding villages. These include the formation of self-help groups, animal husbandry or livelihood programs, such as the establishment of small stores. ITWWS provides guest rooms on campus.