Under Women@work, vulnerbale women are trained for non-traditional trades such as electrician, mobile repairing and petrol pump service for acquiring a meaningful employment or start their own micro-enterprise. The programme was started in June 2015, has trained 72 women and 92 are undergoing training right now.
Recently Women@work, successfully placed 18 women trainees at a Petrol Pump in Ahmedabad. The welcome gesture of this MNC petrol giant, has grabbed the attention of the passers-by at the petrol pump. One of them is Neema Ben (Name has been changed), who has been hired, despite the fact that her husband is suffering from HIV AIDs. Her husband lost his job and she is the sole bread earner now taking care of the entire family. She will be getting a salary of Rs. 8,500/- which will help her sustain her family needs, especially when the family is going through tough times. The program has been successful to bring change in the mind-set of some, as we see in this case the recruiters have thought beyond conventional norms and stereotypes for promoting work place equity and the right to work irrespective of gender and health issues.
Neema Ben defies societal baises to work for sustaining her family!
Khodiyar nagar is a small slum pocket with 4,000 households in Behrampura, Ahmedabad. Mostly people there are involved in labour work and auto driving for a living. Neema ben, 25 years old also lives in this area with her husband and mother-in-law. She has two daughters and one son. Her elder daughter is studying in 1st standard and younger daughter is studying in Aanganwadi. Her son is 2 years old. Neema ben and her husband Kailash bhai have both studied till 8th standard. Kailash bhai was working in one of the shop with a salary of Rs. 6,000 per month. Two years back Kailash bhai was diagnosed of AIDS, as a result he couldn’t continue his work. The family is in financial crunch as Kailash Bhai’s medical expenses are increasing day by day. All the responsibilities suddenly came upon Neema ben Ben’s shoulders, so she started searching for work. Neema ben’s mother-in-law also started labour work at this ripe age. By the stroke of luck, in November 2015, Neema ben met the Mobilization team of Women@Work Programme of Saath focused on training women in non-traditional trades. Neema ben keenly acquired the information about the program, and she saw a ray of hope for her family’s future, thus joined the 15 days training. She got hired at Petrol Pump along with 18 other women near her area after her training. She has a 9 to 6 job with a salary of Rs. 8,500 per month. Neema ben says with a sense of satisfaction, “Women@work has not only shown me a way for solving all the problems of my family but also it has empowered me to stand on my own feet”. (Names of the beneficiaries have been changed)
Shaikh Nilofarbanu Muhammad Hanif (13 years old, studying in 7th standard) lives in Juhapura area of Ahmedabad. She lives with her mother who is the sole bread earner of her house. Her mother earns her livelihood by doing household work for which she gets a mere 500 rupees / month. After her father’s death in 2008 the financial condition of her family worsened and her mother was forced to put her two elder sister’s (age 17 years and 15 years) in orphanage. But then also poor financial condition didn’t deter Nilofarbanu to pursue her studies.
During that time, for the development of under privileged women SAATH started a Women Development Center (WDC) in Juhapura area so, when she read the pamphlet of WDC she visited the center and showed her interest in English speaking course. Later on she was enrolled for the course. Initially for few days she came to class but then she disappeared and never again came to the center. To know the actual reason behind her absence center coordinator visited her house. “When I visited her house and asked Nilofar about reason behind her absence from the class she told me that she really wants to learn English but her mother only earns 500 rupees a month so she could not afford the programme fee (500 rupees)of English speaking course. “ says Zaheeda Shaikh, Center Coordinator, WDC.
Women in WDC Computer Course with their teachers Shahin Shaikh(In the front) and Menaz Saha(In the Back). Menaz first joined WDC as a student and later seeing her enthusiasm she was hired as a teacher.
After listening to her story and looking at her enthusiasm and willingness to learn English, center coordinator decided to give her a special consideration and eventually her course fee was exempted. Now Nilofar comes regularly to the center. When Zaheeda asked about her aspirations in life she told her that she just want to complete her studies first.
Established in August 2012, based out of Juhapura, WDC is a community based women empowerment and livelihood center ‘Falah-e-Niswa’ as the women themselves have named it, aims at linking vulnerable women to various ‘sources-of-income’ which at the end of the day uplifts their power and dignity. Currently providing trainings in English speaking, Computer Courses and Beauty Parlour Courses. The vision of programme is to provide the information to women on issues like Domestic Violence, Educational and Health issues etc. and try to guide them to overcome those. Centre will also create linkages with other programmes of Saath like Micro Finance, CFS, Urban Resource Centre etc. This will holistically support the women approaching the centre.
A total of 97 women have been trained till date in the courses of English Speaking, Computer Course and Beauty Parlour.
“This kind of centres should open for not just women from minority group only but also for the underprivileged women of all the sections of society so as to empower them and give them a voice” says Zahida Shaikh, Coordinator, WDC