Nirman – Constructing the Change

Shantaben Amruthbhai is a resident of Behrampura and has a family of seven  members. To supplement the income of the family; she worked as a helper/labourer at different construction sites for a few years. Shantaben felt that there was no scope to grow for her and learn new skills as nobody was willing to teach her. Moreover the wage was seasoNew Picture (3)nal. She had lost hope that things would change for her. Shantaben came to know about the Nirman Training Programme through the road shows conducted by the SAATH team. She visited the center to get more information about the timings, the structure of the course and the fees. The course was tempting to her since the fees were meager and the timings appropriate. At the training center she got a formal training in Masonry like how to use the tools, how to make cement-concrete mixture and sprinkle water on the plastered walls.

She explains “Along with the training given in the masonry department, I also received training in development of soft skills and was given information about the importance of savings and the necessary safety measures that need to be taken into consideration while working. The training has helped me to enhance my income by Rs.50 per day. I have become more independent then before. I am in a better position to bargain for my wages and work hours. It has enabled me to strike a balance between motherhood and work”. She hopes to become a skilled worker someday. Shantaben has become a role model for other women of her community.

Started in 2011, Nirman works with people who are unskilled or skilled labourers in the informal sector. Nirman aims at improving their skills, working efficiency and proficiency enabling skills enhancement and perfection. Once proper training is achieved, placement opportunities are identified given to these workers. 4 trades are taught currently namely Carpentry, Plumbing, Masonry and Electrician. Till date Nirman has trained more than 400 individuals and helped them in getting better employment opportunities.

The state of Gujarat has over 80,000 women working in the construction sector and almost all of them are working in unskilled jobs (carrying and transferring materials).  Women have to shoulder much greater responsibilities then there male counterparts. They struggle to strike a balance between motherhood, housework and there role in supplementing the income of the family. Their work is hard labour and at the end of the day they suffer from pain in limbs, hands, joints and headaches.They have no job security and owing to their occupational risk factor they are also affected due to lack of insurance coverage. The wages of construction labourers are very low and many times they are exploited by their contractors. Also, the average daily income of female labourers is low as compared to their male counterparts. They are not given benefits such as bonus or leaves.

Nirman is the platform through which we desire to give voice to these women.

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