Last December a group of 26 students from the IIM (Indian Institute of Management) Ahmedabad (see blogpost → IIM students at Saath) have visited our organization. They got a 360 degree insight the home-managers programme currently run by our sister organization ‘Empower Pragati’.
We received some very valuable and useful feedback from tomorrow’s managers. Most of the students were positively surprised by the home-managers programme. The programme identifies poor unemployed women, trains them as home managers and finally places them with reliable employers.
As one student shared with us: It was indeed a great experience to learn about SAATH and EMPOWER. I got a lot of insights and the visit made me understand the various initiatives taken by SAATH and EMPOWER in particular. I truly appreciate SAATH for their contribution to society and thank SAATH for making our visit an enlightening one. I wish SAATH reaches more and more people.
Another student says: The visit was very fruitful in terms of being able to realise the realities of stratification and socio economic deprivation wrt the domestic workers. Empower Pragati as a business model is a very powerful opportunity to strengthen the livelihood of the workers while fulfilling the requirements of the employers. Moreover its the sense of self esteem that the “Home managers” have in this program that is certainly life changing.
We also received some valuable advice to improve the programme. Two students point out the importance of a good marketing strategy: I suggest empower pragati should consider some cheap way of marketing campaigns to spread the home manager program among the masses.
And: “Empower” home manager project gave an insight into how the seemingly impossible task of bringing the organized sector into the mainstream sector be accomplished. My suggestion for the project would be to increase its visibility by broader routes of marketing, instead of just relying on the word of mouth.
We conclude this post with a macro-level analysis of one student that stresses the importance of recognizing domestic work as a profession: I think to take this movement on a large scale, we lack on two key aspects. One is the government apathy, that doesn’t include domestic work at the same level as other jobs. The evidence to this is that domestic work is not covered under the minimum wages act and also it was not recognised under the purview of protection for women sexual harassment bill’ 2008. Secondly, to ensure that the power by the law is exercised its important that such groups come together and form institutions such as unions to be able to voice themselves. I believe Saath can play a very crucial role in bringing up the issue on the government’s table and also guide groups in realising their power by helping them organise.
We would like to thank the IIM students for sharing their thoughts with us!