Anupama Kumar’s internship in India

Kudumbashree logo. During the summer after her first year as a grad student, Anupama Kumar traveled to Thiruvanathapuram, India to intern with Kudumbashree NRO as a part of her fellowship from the Institute for Regional and International Studies National Resource Center (IRIS NRC).

Kudumbashree is an organization in Anupama’s home state, Kerala, which was set up by the government to help eradicate poverty. The community-based organization invites one woman from each household to join together to save money and participate in local politics. Their website explains, “the fundamental premise of Kudumbashree was that the poor need to be active agents in their own development. Poverty, especially of women, goes beyond the absence of facilities and services, it also concerns with rights, entitlements, responsibilities, justice and equality.” This structure has been so helpful for the four million women who participate in Kerala that other Indian states have worked with Kudumbashree to expand into other states, too.

At the end of her internship, Anupama learnt that she was interested in how states in the Global South think about women and how state institutions shape the economic opportunities available to women. She hopes to continue to study the links between states, community organizations, and families in her graduate school career. Anupama is grateful to have had these realizations early on in her grad school journey, and she encourages other grad students to apply for the Scott Kloeck-Jenson fellowship through IRIS in their first or second year so they can have similar guidance as early as possible.