Sr. Josephine Amala Valarmathi, ICM

Social activist works with domestic workers, children and migrant workers


We all long in life to achieve something, nurture a passion but very few persons translate it into action. Passion for God and compassion for people let Sr. Valarmathi, ICM to journey her life in committing to God and people through the Congregation of Missionary sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICM). She nurtures the dream to serve the humanity specially the migrants who struggle in life.

Sr. Valarmathi is the State coordinator of National Domestic Workers Movement, a Movement working for Domestic workers, underprivileged children and Migrant workers in Tamilnadu.  Sr. Valarmathi, who is based in Chennai, said she often gets such distress calls from migrants and domestic workers.  Millions of people from the region work in the Persian Gulf countries, Malaysia and Singapore as construction workers, drivers or cattle ranchers, or doing domestic work and unskilled work.


“I am quite familiar with the problems of Indians working overseas,” said Sr. Valarmathi. She said providing awareness programme on safe migration, awareness campaign and free legal aid services to migrant workers who are in distress is necessary to end their exploitation by employers and employment agents.

She feels numerous cases could be avoided, if Indian embassy officials would join civil society organizations in those countries to educate workers on local laws and procedures of safe migration.

The nun said her priority since 2003 has been to organize awareness programs for migrant workers on safe legal migration procedures so that they could avoid exploitation and fraudulent recruitments.

“Workers going overseas must be given pre-departure orientation and training. This will make a huge impact on their lives and work in a foreign country,” she said. She also wants bilateral policies to respect international conventions that could prevent abuse and exploitation of migrant workers.

2In addition to the training and policy work she was doing, she takes up the tedious and time-consuming rescue operations after she started receiving complaints about exploitation overseas. Through the NDWM she helps Migrants dead body to reach home whenever she receives the news form the volunteer associations abroad such as Indian Frontliners-Kuwait, Kuwait human rights society.

The children are another target with whom The NDWM Works where Sr. Valarmathi works. The domestic workers’ children from various slums in Chennai, who need care, concern, support to come up in life. Through her organization 19 evening tuition centers are run in different slums to educate the children. Children are provided with educational support, special trainings, and motivational classes to come up in life.  The idea behind these children were they were vulnerable kids falling prey to abuses, drops outs etc. Sr. Valarmathi discovered the zeal among these children to do something meaningful in their lives where they can shine in life to stand on their own legs.

3The organization also organizes domestic workers, conducts workshops, trainings with the domestic workers, to make them aware on their rights, duties and responsibilities.  Since 2006 she has been engaged herself in the activities of the domestic workers, children and migrant workers.

Valarmathi also engaged in a number of social welfare activities like educational support, health, domestic workers empowerment, empowerment of children and giving helping hand to those migrants who struggle in the destination countries. She rigorously aimed at implementing effective solutions to improve the quality of life of the domestic workers, migrants and children.   

Sr. Valarmathi considers fondly recalls the people who inspired her life. "I feel blessed that, I have been able to touch the lives of many people, making a difference - small or big - in those lives," she says.