A one day training programme on gender and labour rights for leather homeworkers was organized by Cividep on 11 th June 2016 in Ambur. The objective of the training programme was to create awareness about gender and labour rights among the women homeworkers.
34 women homeworkers from three villages – Thuthipattu, Melpati and Navidhiyampatti participated in the training programme.
The programme consisted of three sessions. The first session was on gender rights, while the second session dealt with labour rights. The third session explained the need for registering the homeworkers under Tamil Nadu Manual Workers Welfare Board and its benefits.
Session 1: Gender rights, Ms. Annakili, Tamil Nadu Workers Collective
The session began with a group activity where the participants were divided into four groups and each group was given a topic for discussion. Role of women in politics, role of women in economic activities, role of women at a time of social and cultural change and role of women in health and education were the topics given for discussion. The groups deliberated among themselves and presented their collective views on their respective topic. Based on the views expressed by the groups, the resource person explained the importance of women taking up the responsibility for their own empowerment and emancipation. The resource person also explained with real life examples of how women are subjected to mistreatment in families, schools and in work places. So as to address these issues and to struggle for equal rights in places, the resource person said that the women should organize themselves and lead from the front. When the resource person pointed out how women elected to local panchayats are often represented by their spouses, some of the participants rued that such situation still prevail in their villages. The resource person said that this is the time to change that and stressed that women have to assert their rights.
Session 2: Labour rights, Mr. Antony, Cividep
The resource person began the session by explaining the difference between organized workers and unorganized workers. The participants were explained the important role that they play in the leather supply chain and the value that they create for the brands. The resource person also explained in detail how the supply chain works and where the homeworkers are positioned in the supply chain. The resource person also defined the role of the brands, the buyers and the middlemen in the leather supply chain. The participants were also shown the postcards that had pictures of homeworkers from across the world. The participants were told that they are so many women around the world involved in homeworking to earn a living.
Session 3: Benefits under Tamil Nadu Manual Workers Welfare Board (TNMWWB), Ms. Jaya, Hind Mazdoor Sabha
The resource person explained the need for the leather homeworkers to get registered under TNMWWB as it gives so many benefits to the workers like scholarships for children, marriage assistance, old age pension etc. The process for the getting registered under TNMWWB was also explained to the participants. Ms. Vaidegi of Cividep distributed the copies of the TNMWWB manual with the details for registration to all the participants and read out all the benefits that the registered workers would enjoy. Mr. Pradeepan of Cividep shared the experience of how informal waste workers in Chennai were registered under the board and benefited. Ms. Annakili of Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective also expressed her willingness to give assistance to the homeworkers to get registered under the board. Some of the participants said that they already have the TNMWWB cards but they have not renewed it. Ms. Annakili explained the process of the renewing the cards and said she could help them in that as well. One of the participants also asked if they will be eligible for other social welfare schemes of the government if they become beneficiaries under TNMWWB. Ms. Annakili said that when it comes to pension and marriage assistance they can benefit under only one scheme.
Follow up plan and conclusion:
Vadegi of Cividep told the participants that there will be follow up meetings organized in their villages to further discuss about the TNMWWB registration. Vaidegi also requested the participants to find out more interested homeworkers to form new SHGs in the villages. One of the participants said that it will be very useful if similar training programmes are organized every month. Mr. Antony of Cividep presented the vote of thanks and concluded the training programme.