According to National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), In 2009-10, estimated total number of domestic worker in India is around 2.52 million out of this 2/3 reside in urban areas and 57% of them are women. So in the last 10 years there is almost 75% increase in domestic workers mostly accounted for by women. Domestic work has historically been viewed as the realm of the woman with crucial household chores continuing to be either being unpaid (if performed by a household’s women) or underpaid (if outsourced to a domestic worker). Though Gujarat as a State is booming economically, the informal sector and amongst these, domestic work is still a sector where there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Their situation remains the same as for many across India – no bargaining power, no leave, no legal access, sexual harassment, over worked, and underpaid. Moreover there is no platform through which these women can come together to demand their rights.
Saath’s Urmila Home Manager Programme attempts to bridge the gap between domestic servants and urban households. The main objective of the project is to empower slum residents from simply being “housemaids” to working professionals, Home Managers, with a significant increase in incomes, and to provide reliable, efficient and professional home managers for the clients. SAATH aims to develop a fair and formal platform to train and place women and men who work as house-help. We offer a reliable, efficient and professional domestic service, highly sought after by the households looking to employ domestic help. The programme also makes the clients aware of the rights and duties of the home manager, and vice versa. Further, it gives women from underprivileged households a sense of pride and achievement from the fact that they are now able providers to their families, they feel empowered.
Here’s the story of one our trainees of the Urmila Programme:
Rekhaben Manishbhai Solanki started working as Home Manager in the month of June. She has five members in her family, her husband, two daughters and a son. She has studied till 7th standard and is able to read and write. Her husband is working in the marketing field and earns only Rs. 5000 per month which is not enough money to fulfill the requirements of her family.
She was looking for work to support her family. Her dream is to buy a loading rickshaw for her husband, so that he can work independently for their livelihood. When she came to know about Urmila programme she immediately joined it and after completing the course she was placed. After finishing her household work in the morning she goes to her employers place. She works from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and earns Rs.4500/- per month. Currently she is taking care of a 5 month old child.
Rekhaben Says “Before, I was dependent on my husband for any necessary expenses, but now I will be able to manage expenses well through my own earning and become more independent. Now in the family and society all members are giving me more respect because of my job.”