Self Employed Women’s Association
May 2006
Celebrating May Day

SEWA celebrated May Day with a Sammelan (mass meeting) of over a thousand Construction workers in Ahmedabad. They demanded identity cards and social security benefits including health benefits, insurance against accidents and scholarship for their children immediately be given to them in a meeting called to celebrate May Day.

The Sammelan also demanded for the implementation of the policy for the Home Based workers and National Policy for the vendors. The National Policy for Vendors has been cleared by Government of India in the year 2004, but its still waiting to be implemented in Gujarat A delegation later presented the Resolutions passed to Additional Labour Commissioner

Finance Minister Of India Launches Sewa Bank Micro Pension Scheme For Sewa Members

Speech of Shri Chidambaram at the SEWA Bank

Finance Minister of India, Shri P Chidambram formally launched SEWA Bank’s Micro Pension Scheme for women in the informal sector .The scheme is introduced by SEWA Bank with UTI Mutual Funds. In the inauguration function held at the Town Hall at Ahmedabad, on 12th of April, the Finance Minister was presented with a Cheque of Rs. 175,0550 with an average investment of Rs. 70 by 25 000 self employed women. SEWA bank is the only bank of its kind in the country, which is owned, and run by the self-employed women working in informal sector. Its account holders include vendors, casual labourers, other labourers and home based workers

The Finance Minister said that this scheme was the beginning of “a Revolution” and assured the pension account holders of the safety of their investments and good performance of the scheme. Elaben Bhatt, chairing the function said, that this scheme would provide women security in their twilight years after they had contributed to the growth of the nation by their life long work. She hoped that hundreds and thousands of women would join this scheme in the coming days and secure their old age.

Speaking at the function Shabanaben said, “I am a home-based worker. I do stitching and embroidery work at home. I was the first woman to join this scheme. I would save Rs.100 every month and make my old age secure. Pension is like a walking stick in a person’s old age”

Geetaben Gadhvi said, "I am a domestic worker and I joined this scheme thinking of my old age. I have seen many people suffer in their old age. I saw my mother suffer after she stopped working and till the day she died I am determined not meet the same fate as my mother”.

Creating A Record—Unity In Embroidery

The SEWA women members of the Kuchh and Patan districts suddenly lost their employment and chances of village development when the Government of Gujarat compelled SEWA to withdraw from the IFAD funded “Jeevika” project. However, SEWA members are full of spirit. They believe their inner strength, their union and their undisputed crafts skills can lead them back on the path to development. As they say, “We are used to drought conditions. We will just tighten our belts and work hard”.

To prove their spirit the embroider women decided to create a new record for embroidery. On April 15th , Self Employed Workers day, 1000 crafts women of Kuchh and Patan district gathered at SEWA's Handicraft Museum at Radhanpur "Banas na Ana" starting from their respective villages early in the morning, they poured in even before the dawn. Hansiba of Kuchh district, declared- "Today we would embroider this 1000 meter cloth with our 2000 hands before the sun sets. We are united. Together with our strength we would accomplish this mission”.

The 1000 metre cloth was spread out and women took their position on either side of it. They began at 10 am and began to embroider with full concentration. In batches of 200, they took short breaks for a simple lunch for which each woman had paid Rs. 10. As they embroidered they sang songs, each woman creating her own design, but merging her voice in a common song.

The judges and onlookers watched anxiously unsure of whether the women could complete their self-imposed task. However, ten minutes before sunset, the women at work stood up spreading wide their thousand metre Masterpiece shouting "Hum Sab Ek Hain"( we all are one).

ICFTU Mission visits SEWA

A Mission from ICFTU (International Confederation Of Free Trade Unions ) lead by the General Secretary of the ICFTU, visited SEWA on April 10th , in response to its application for affiliation. The mission came to look into SEWA's work for the workers of informal sector. The mission met with the Executive Committee members and also visited the members at their workplaces.

The IFWEA Workshop

SEWA participated in the international workshop on "Workers Education and Workers in Media in a Global Economy " held at Cape Town. The workshop was organised by International Federation of Workers' Education Association from 4th to 7th April.

Workers unions coming from different parts of the world shared their experiences and opinions on role of print media, radio audio, video, Internet and films in the field of workers education. The participating organizations agreed to create International Labour Media Network to encourage exchange among each other. SEWA made a presentation on "Utility of Media in Workers' Education" 

Midwives Workshop

SEWA is working on mother and child health since last 30 years covering, Anti-natal care, and post natal childcare vaccination, family planning T.B. and AIDS . It organises different programmes. Recently 4 workshops of midwives were organised in different places in Gujarat. Besides creating awareness on health issues, and updating midwives on professional health care, these workshops aimed at strengthening midwives organisation in SEWA.It also aimed at qualitative networking with the government on health services
Self Employed Women's Association
SEWA Reception Centre, Opp. Victoria Garden, Bhadra, Ahmedabad - 380 001. India.
Phone : 91-79-25506444 / 25506477 / 25506441, Fax : 91 - 79 - 25506446, Email
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