Tag Archives: Urmila

Urmila Home Manager – Dignifying Domestic Work

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 housIMG_0230eholds. 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 New Picture (23) 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.

Rediscovering my potential through ‘The SAATH Experience…’

Intro:                                                                                                                                                          Devina Sarwatay is currently studying Masters in Development Communication from Gujarat University. She spent the summer of 2013 with SAATH, working for four different programmes – Griha Pravesh, Nirman, The Saath Co-operative and Urmila – in her roughly month-long internship. This period, which was full of challenges and hence learning, will be cherished by her for many years to come.

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Devina Sarwatay [on right ;-)] thinks she makes a good photograph only with her canine brother, Buddy Sarwatay!

I told my mother, who I am really close with, that I will be starting my NGO internship with SAATH on the 13th of May, 2013. She declared immediately that the internship was going to be a grand success, as I was starting on the pious occasion of Akshay Tritya.

Looking back at the entire experience, today, I sure can say that she is some gifted fortune-teller! For me, the internship has indeed been a grand success for several reasons which you will find, if you read on…

Firstly, SAATH is one of the few NGOs, which spends time after its interns to introduce them to the organisation, its work culture and the programmes it works with. They have a dedicated Research, Documentation and Communication Cell which has an impressive orientation programme. It solves any doubts you might have as well as freely answers queries that pop up in your mind. They also take you to visit a few of the programme centres, so that you get a hang of the kind of field work that is put into their programmes.

Secondly, they pretty much give you a free hand to pick up programmes that you would like to work with, along with the intern requirements that they have of you. This means that you can not only have the satisfaction of completing tasks allotted to you which will help them cover ground with their work, but also get the opportunity to work with an issue you really feel for.

Thirdly, they show massive support and patience when you have doubts about something and want to ask questions. In case you have an emergency, in my case it was my mother meeting with a serious accident, they ask you to leave everything else and focus on the right things that allows you to put your 100% where it’s needed, when it’s needed. SAATH sure gave me ‘saath’ during my tough times!

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Devina Sarwatay [standing in white, on right ;-)] interacting with Umeed students

I worked on diverse, particularly interesting issues all through my internship. My first project was for Nirman. I had to figure out the intricacies of the Modular Employable Skills Programme and translate the necessary details that could be used for Nirman. The second project that I worked on was the photo-documentation of their Urmila Home Manager’s programme.

The third, and probably the longest project for me, was for Griha Pravesh. I had to rewrite their manual, since the programme has undergone an evolution. The final project, which I personally enjoyed quite a lot, was making the very first annual report of The Saath Co-operative – a microfinance institution which is a sister organisation of SAATH. I met a host of interesting people at SAATH as well as through it and learnt a lot from them. There were a few individuals who really touched my heart with their inspiring life stories which will remain with me for a long time.

A facet, of why the internship was so successful for me, is the fact that I managed to make the most of the chances that SAATH gave me, despite being at strife at the personal front with my mother’s health. I couldn’t have done this without the help and support of everyone at SAATH. Nonetheless, I would like to show my gratitude, specifically, to three extraordinary individuals – Jenny Parekh, Shikha Gupta and Keren Nazareth – who have inspired me to learn and do some great work during my internship and in future.

I wish all the current and future interns all the good luck and hope they have an exciting SAATH experience!

Urmila Home Managers

SAATH’s home managers programme; Urmila, on 18TH May felicitated their women work force with a kit which would help them in their future endeavours comprising of all the essentials.

Urmila, started in 2004, trains women who are unemployed and belong to the weaker section of the society, the well-being to be maintained in the house and then places them accordingly after thorough On-the-Job training. Such a set up guarantees their share of earning and social comfort. Hence granting them financial independence as well as restoring dignity in their lives.

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The felicitation program started at around 11:00 in the morning where first the women were tested upon their skills that they were trained in such as ironing the clothes, bed arranging etc. Once tested, the Essential’s Kit was distributed among the women which consisted of water bottle, Lunch Box, grooming kit, Telephone Diary and a handy pen. The women were also equipped with Aprons and gloves to maintain hygiene while working and a watch was given to each member to keep a track of time and help them reach on-time to their specified houses. Along with all these necessities they were also given a utility bag which would come in handy daily to them.

A health check for these ladies set in collaboration with Civil Hospital next week where necessary tests like Blood test and cardio check has been duly arranged.

To see the pictures of the ceremony you can visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/saathahmedabad.

Picture Time Saturdays: Urmila at Work

Urmila is Saath’s home-managers programme excecuted in co-operation with Empower Pragati. Women are trained to deliver home-management services to urban households. Services include child-care, patient-care, cleaning, cooking The formula addresses two needs:

1. the need for decent livelihood options for underprivileged women from slum-areas, and
2. the need for reliable and high-quality domestic services for urban households.

For hiring, training or general information, contact us through the Empower website.

Visitor Thursdays: Feedback of tomorrow’s managers

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!