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How Tribal Women Stop Witch Hunts

Indian village women, organized around a small, low-interest loan program, aren’t just making money, they are helping prevent the fatal witch hunts that can target their neighbors, according to researchers who worked in the tea plantations of Jalpaiguir, India.

Tribal women here form support groups when they receive the loans. These groups typically of about eight to 10 women have protected other women from these hunts, according to Soma Chaudhuri, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, who studied witch hunts in her native India for seven months.

Witch hunts are a long-standing practice here. The tribal plantation workers are poor and illiterate, and have a desperate need to make sense of rampant diseases in villages with no doctors or medical facilities, Chaudhuri said.

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