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  • SEWA elected a Vice President of International Trade Union Congress leads the movement for inclusion of informal workers.

  • Victory to Street Vendors of Delhi

  • Annual general meeting of SEWA Bank: 2010

  • 20th Annual General Meeting of SEWA Health Co-operative

  • 10th Annual General Meeting of Video SEWA

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No. 30 | July, 2010
H2 Side SEWA elected Vice President of International Trade Union Congress leads the movement for inclusion of informal workers.

SEWA was elected vice president in the second congress of the international trade union confederation (I.T.U.C) held in Vancouver, Canada in June 2010. ITUC is a federation of 312 central trade unions in 156 countries having a member base of 17.6 million workers. ITUC was formed four years ago after the merger of the older international trade union federations ICFTU and WCL.

There were a number of burning issues which needed to be taken up at an international level. The representatives of Nepal's trade union Gefont said with grief," Everyday in our country 700 workers migrate to other countries in search of livelihood. And almost everyday we receive 7 dead bodies of such workers. Our only appeal to all the trade unions is to ensure the safety and security of such migrated workers. If you provide us adequate security and safety we will be happy to provide services."

SEWA, along with other trade unions emphasized the importance of organizing informal workers who are the majority of workers in the world today. The Resolution proposed by SEWA, Ghana Trade Union Congress and CROC, Mexico noted the devastating impact of the world’s economic crisis on workers in the informal economy and deplored the decent work deficit in light of the conclusions on “Decent Work and the Informal Economy” adopted by the International Labour Conference in 2002. It noted the urgent need to strengthen the effective and democratic organization and collective bargaining strength of informal economy workers and asked ITUC for a sustained program to co-ordinate support and development for informal workers trade unions and to provide a platform to member organizations in order to encourage their voice within ITUC itself. This resolution was not passed, but many of its elements were incorporated in other resolutions.

In the general council elections 3 posts were reserved for the South Asia region. It was decided in the discussion to elect women members for the titular posts. Jyoti Macwan, General Secretary of SEWA was elected, not only because of SEWA’s strong voice for women workers but also because its large membership base of 1.2 million workers. SEWA was also elected as a Vice President.

This is a victory of not only SEWA as trade union but also the victory of the informal women workers of this and earlier generations.

H2 Side Victory to Street Vendors of Delhi

Ashaben, Shobhaben, Sundriben and 259 other SEWA members have been selling old clothes every Sunday on Qutab road near the New Delhi Railway station. Sundriben is more than 70 years old and she says she has been selling here since she was a young girl. However, this year the police decided to remove this market, they gave no reasons only “it is for security”.

Fortunately Delhi is in the process of adopting the National Policy for Street Vendors and has appointed Zonal Committees. The Presiding Officer of the Zonal Committee is a judge and with the help of SEWA the street vendors approached her and presented their case. The Judge decided that there was no ‘security risk’ at all and on the contrary the presence of vendors helped increase the safety of the area. She ruled in favour of the vendors and ordered the reinstatement of the Qutab Road weekly market.

It was a great day and a great victory for the street vendors!!

H2 Side Annual general meeting of SEWA Bank: 2010

The 36th annual general meeting of Mahila cooperative SEWA bank was organized in the town hall of Ahmedabad. Almost one thousand members participated in the meeting. The meeting was initiated with the welcome speech by the chairman, Shri Manjulaben Vaghela where in she congratulated all the members on successful completion of 35 years. She explained the main objective of SEWA bank is the integrated development of our members." She informed the members of the starting of new branches in the Sanand, Gandhinagar and Vasna area of Gujarat. 50,000 new members joined the pension scheme this year.

Particulars Previous year Current year
Total members 64,756 67,883
Collection through shares Rs.3,99,96,040 Rs.4,53,10,700
Deposits Rs.96,14,69,000 Rs.1,05,04,94,000
Loan takers 1,15,944 members 1,26,510 members
Profit Rs.51,71,000 Rs.79,28,000

The impact of SEWA Bank can be marked by the words of Ritaben of Gomtipur," I had taken a loan of Rs.10000 initially, and then took Rs.50000 and finally Rs.80, 000 to buy a new rickshaw replacing the old one. When my husband had a heart attack the Bank was my main support."

H2 Side 20th Annual General Meeting of SEWA Health Co-operative

‘Shri Gujarat Mahila Lok Swasthya Sewa Sahkari Mandli’ had its 20th annual general meeting on the 25th of June, 2010 with Mirai Chatterjee as its head wherein 700 participants participated. There were members from all over India like Rajasthan, Bihar, Surat and Tapi.

The following are the details of the activities undertaken:

  • Information regarding various diseases and body to 2160 VimoSEWA members and 338 adolescent girls.
  • There are four medical shops run by the center sell medicines at a discounted rate.
  • Association has received license for making various Ayurvedic medicines. This year 31different types of medicines have been made. After receiving the training for the same 250 women were able to support themselves by selling the medicines. An earning of Rs.10, 29,016 were made through selling medicines.
  • Through the association 13,711 women, men and children with Vimo SEWA. The mediclaim of Rs.9, 03,563 has been settled with the help of the association.
  • The association has taken the agency of 'Jeevan Madhur' policy in which 80 women have enrolled and received the benefit of Rs.1,73,919.

In collaboration with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation the association has started organizing programs on T.B in the various areas of Ahmedabad Sewa's health workers coordinate with medical officers, nurses and other concerned people so that the medical services reach the concerned people.

H2 Side 10th Annual General Meeting of Video SEWA

On the 23rd of June, 2010 'Gujarat Mahila Video SEWA Mahiti Communication Sahkari Mandli', the first cooperative of its kind in India, formed by unorganized women workers, had its 10th annual general meeting. The discussions were focused on how the cooperative has grown from strength to strength with the help of its ever increasing member base of 257.Usually video I considered to be a male domain but Video SEWA proves it wrong. It is the result of the hard work and continuous persistence of the members that it has been continuously getting 'A' grade for the last 3 years.

The main aim behind forming the cooperative is to bring about a visibility amongst the policy makers at a macro level regarding their socio-economic conditions of the informal sector, the issues which are waiting to be addressed to and what remains to be done for their improvement. It also aims at trying to make individuals understand their economic contribution in the economy. Also the documentaries prepared by the cooperative aims at providing information aiming to educate them on various issues and developing them through various trainings thus providing them with opportunities of livelihood. It is also an important medium which tries and focuses on organizing them, improving their potential and thus through it making then economically self reliant which will lead to their social development.

Documentaries are showcased on various subjects like three generations of association with SEWA ,sanitation, the places of residences of the unorganized workers, saving water, importance of savings which not only creates awareness at a national level making their socio-economic conditions visible as well creating awareness among the workers pertaining hygiene. The cooperative also conducts video replay training and photography training creating an opportunity of earning livelihood and thus making them economically self dependant. Thus through the documentaries it is trued to capture the changes that have taken the place in the lives of unorganized workers during the period of time.



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