Domestic Workers Movement
Samata Foundation endeavours for the development of the under privileged and unorganised sector viz., construction labour, migrant labour, domestic workers, Dalits, economically backward people through its various projects. It envisages strengthening the society to achieve substantial growth, progress and development through education, skill development and vocational training and social awareness.
“According to the International Labour Office (ILO), “tens of millions” of domestic workers provide essential services that enable others to work outside their homes. Thus domestic workers help keep labour markets and economies working around the globe. Most, though not all, domestic workers are women. The vast majority are from the poorer sections of society (ILO 2007).
Domestic work is an important avenue of work for semi-literate or illiterate people, especially women in India since 73 percent of the female workforce is illiterate or educated only up to the primary level. This sector is significant to the economic progress of the country since it absorbs low-skilled or undereducated and acts as an enabler for educated women to enter the workforce or the labour market, as they can outsource household chores to hired domestic help. However, the sector is unorganised and domestic workers are unaware and do not understand their rights, unlike their counterparts in other organised sectors.
Domestic helps in India do not enjoy protection from labour laws and suffer from lack of dignity, as society usually perceives them as ‘servants’ doing inferior work instead of recognising them as paid professionals who manage household chores. This affects the aspirational value for such roles, which decreases the propensity to spend on training. The rights and the regulated work conditions, wages and conditions of employment, which are available to other class of workers, are currently not available to domestic workers. This is largely because the domestic workers undertake work in private homes rather than commercial establishments forming a part of the care economy. They work in appalling conditions, with no coverage under the existing welfare measures and schemes for social security, old age pension, health and maternity protection etc.
In the Final report on the Task force on domestic workers presented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment it was felt that domestic workers require special attention rather than exclusion. This was because the underestimated, underreported statistics and the gendered nature of work make the domestic workers invisible. Domestic workers lack organizational strength and voice and comprise largely of unskilled women, who enter the labour market without any technical skills. erdis becomes necessary to introduce skill based training for women to optimize their delivery of work and in doing so help them develop a sense of dignity and respect for their work. It is also important that this occupation of domestic be perceived by individuals who choose it as a gainful productive occupation, both to the individual and the economy at large and not a last resort.
The Mission of the organization covers various aspects in relation to community development, they are;
- To help people reach upto their rights through various schemes provided by the government.
- To conduct employment and self-employment programme through various skill development courses and assist individuals and community to create jobs for themselves by starting a business of choice.
- To provide under privileged children and youth with learning opportunities through educational materials, teaching aids, healthcare and vocational training.
- To bring about awareness in the under privileged through various programmes for gender equality, social justice, and secularism.
Some of the projects and activities undertaken as briefly mentioned as follows;
- Women Empowerment Project
Samata Foundation currently working with 1000 women domestic workers and other unorganised women worker from eastern suburb of Mumbai. In this project we are working on following issues. Some of the activities under this project were to organise women domestic worker and to assist them information of their association. Alsoto set up Free Legal Aid and Counselling Centre (Crisis Intervention Centre) for needy women and children from the community.
- Umang: Community Youth Development Program
Samata Foundation currently working with community youth to engage them on the issue of education and career guidance. They have also worked to train the youth on using Right to Information Act on the various issue of local governance & community development.