Connecting local responses around the world
“Our biggest dream is that our employers treat us with love and care and dignity. They trust us and value our work. They do not discriminate against us. We have the same blood as them.” That was the comment by one of the domestic worker in her early thirties. This dream was echoed by 20 domestic workers of Kalyanpuri area in outskirts of Delhi. They said that some employers are nice but some are very harsh. Some even keep different utensils for them to eat. It takes both sides to build a relationship they noted. “ We have to work in a professional way to gain the trust of the employers and simultaneously they should have faith in us.”
Where do they see themselves in the year 2020 in terms of their working conditions? “I used to leave my son sleeping at home when I was young. I don’t want other young domestic workers to face this insecurity about their children. We hope we will have affordable creches in five years time”, mentioned a middle aged domestic worker. “ I hardly get work now. I am old. I hope we can have higer salaries and also older domestic workers should get some form of work,"added a domestic worker in her late fifties.
We would like fixed four days of leave in a month. Even if the employers pay us more we need and time with our families. At times the domestic workers need large amount of money for marriage, illness and wish that their employers can lend them if and when required.
We were impressed by the community spirit of the domestic workers. They support each other during times of need. In case anyone dies in one of the domestic worker families, or falls sick, other domestic workers are first to reach
We have three self help groups they proudly share which help them save money and we hope that in five years their will be 10 self help groups in our area
They shared several ways they could achieve their dreams. How can others support you to achieve your dreams? What we want is that uur work is recognised both by the society as well as the governmentWe should take lead for our issues but the NGO can link us up with others and show us the way
On 27th May 2015 I did a SALT visit with team mates from Institute of Social Studies Trust, Delhi – Rajib Nandi, Amita Joshi, Kamlesh, Tanisha and Shiny . The photos are courtesy Shiny Saha. The aim of the meeting was to listen, learn and appreciate the domestic workers.
ILO has invited ISST the organisation I work with on evaluation for developing a participatory monitoring tool for domestic workers on their working conditions. We are using CLC for this and the event is on 6th and 7th June. As we do not much experience on the subject we did a SALT visit last week. The participants of the coming event will be domestic workers, their families, employers, placement agencies, Trade unions, NGOs and ILO staff. Developing a common dream and a joint self assessment will be a challenge but I think it will be beautiful to see a common dream emerge. Your inputs for the event would be nice.
Do you think it possible to build a common dream, by domestic workers and their employers together? After all they "all have the same blood"?
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