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  CONTENTS
 
 
  • SEWA Membership Figures

  • Profiles of Executive Committee Members

Side Divider
 
 
No. 38 | January 2012
 
H2 Side SEWA Membership Figures
 
 
Gujarat District wise Membership
Details Membership Percentage
Urban Union
Ahmedabad City 3,68,537 44.73
Surat City 7,680 0.93
Bhavnagar City 520 0.06
Total Urban Union 376,737 45.73
Rural Union
Ahmedabad District 40,000 4.86
Mehsana District 32,000 3.88
Banaskantha District 74,600 9.05
Surendranagar District 36,240 4.40
Kutch District 26,000 3.16
Kheda District 136,226 16.53
Vadodara District 38,160 4.63
Sabarkantha District 17,000 2.06
Gandhinagar District 32,000 3.88
Rajkot District 5,000 0.61
Panchmahal District 4,000 0.49
Silvassa 1,000 0.12
Tapi 4,920 0.60
Total Rural Union 447,146 54.27
Total SEWA Membership 8.23,883 100.00
 
 
Gujarat Urban-Rural Membership Ratio
Details Membership Percentage
Urban Union 376,737 45.73
Rural Union 447,146 54.27
Total SEWA Membership 8.23,883 100.00
 
 
State-wise SEWA Membership
Name of State Members Membership
Gujarat   8,23,883
Bihar   48,600
  Bhagalpur 25,650  
  Munger 16,750  
  Katihar 6,200  
Delhi 37,367 37,767
West Bengal    
  Murshidabad 3,000 3,000
Rajasthan   24,804
  Bikaner 9,300  
  Dungarpur 7,000  
  Jaipur 3,304  
  Ajmer 2,700  
  Jodhpur 2,500  
Kerala    
  Trivendrum 5,000 5,000
Uttarakhand    
  Dehradun 4,841 4,841
Madhya Pradesh 300,300 300,300
Uttar Pradesh   99,110
  Lucknow 97,060  
  Barelli 2,050  
Total 523,422 1,347,305
   
H2 Side Profiles of Executive Committee Members
 
 
  1. Kapilaben Bhailalbhai Parmar
    Village: Anand district
    Designation: President
    Before joining SEWA, my life was trapped within the four wall boundaries of my house. This changed after 1989. It has been 18 years with SEWA now. SEWA not only provided employment but also gave us identity. I benefited from many trainings but financial training made me learn to live life during difficult times. I received the true knowledge of farming after receiving agriculture-related trainings. I had taken insurance from Vimo SEWA. The real importance of insurance was understood by me after the death of my husband. The importance of educating children was understood. I learned about legal systems. With the support from village, I organized 1600 people of my village.

    Today, I engage in savings group work, insurance work, and initiate sell of Rudi products within my village. At regular intervals, I conduct agriculture-related meetings and provide necessary information. I was in debt of Rs 45000, which I managed to repay after I joined SEWA. I never expected myself - a tobacco worker, to achieve so much progress in life. There was a lot of tension due to debt but now I at peace with my life.

    SEWA is my family. My image as a widow has changed completely in my village. This year, I am elected as President in SEWA. I applaud the support of my fellow villagers, family members and especially of SEWA.

    I hope and pray to God for everyone's progress.

  2. Shantaben Vershrambhai Parmar
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: President
    Since 40 years I sell potatoes-onions in the Jamalpur market. I am one of the 9 members who started this market, today there are more than 900 vendors in this market. Within very short span of my becoming member of SEWA, I became a leader. I want not just the vendors of Jamalpur market but vendors of entire Ahmedabad to be able to sell their vegetables without any threat. It is the right of the vendor to sell their vegetables to earn a decent living. I always take leadership for issues of vegetable vendors, be it against traffic police, acquisition, customers or vending space. My motto is 'never accept wrongdoings and to do 'real' work…' I am elected as Vice President since past two terms.

    I am leader since past 26 years and SEWA representative since past 20 years. I am member of campaign team. I have organized 4000 vendors and motivated them to be members of SEWA. I have developed leaders from vendors. I am active committee member of NASVI and since past 2 years elected as the member. NASVI is a National Alliance of Street Vendors of India established by SEWA. I have always taken leadership at local level, national level for enactment of vendors act. I have been fortunate to visit vendors like me in Zambia.

  3. Jamuben Khengarbhai Ahir
    Residence: Patan district
    Designation: Vice President
    My name is Jamuben. I have 20 years old relations with SEWA. I engage in embroidery work and farming. Embroidery work is our ancestral art. We understood its importance after joining SEWA. Till then, we never recognized the importance of embroidery work. Earlier, we used to embroider for traders who used to give us fixed rate and so we were unaware about its value. The neighbourhood women started obtaining work from SEWA.

    After organizing Embroidery workers in SEWA, we understood the importance of organizing. I organized 300 embroidery workers of my village. They are all excellent artisans. The women workers not only engaged in embroidery work but also engaged in agriculture work, gum collecting work and salt pan work. I received Embroidery trainings and also provided the trainings to other embroidery workers. I started attending meetings and motivated other women to join me. Besides, Ahmedabad and Delhi, our art was recognized internationally. I felt contented with my work.

    I am illiterate but I am able to manage disbursing of wages to women. Through organizing we can manage bank account in our own name. We felt empowered and the confidence of village women increased. Women embroidery workers are progressing far beyond the boundaries of village. Various trainings like education, organizing, employment, leadership, empowerment and self reliance were organized in the village and we learned the meaning and importance of these words in our lives.

    I always recognize that the true value of our embroidery work was appreciated by SEWA. Today, our work is known world over.

  4. Yamini Parikh
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Vice President
    I am associated with SEWA since 1992. During earlier times, I used to work with SEWA Housing implementing the 'Parivartan' Scheme for development of slums along with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). In 1996, I started working for Rag Pickers. Every morning poses new struggles in the life of rag pickers. For example, the resolution for 'D' grade paper is passed from Collector Office in favour of our sisters and within 15 days the resolution changes, Collector changes, and means to sisters' income is seized… and the struggle continues.

    Around 150-200 women pick papers, from Sewage farm where the waste is dumped in Ahmedabad, to earn their living. There too women are allowed to collect papers for one month and are stopped the next month. The women become unemployed and then again daily visits to AMC, Pollution Control Board… But there is no guaranteed employment.

    The Solid Waste Management Rule-2000 on door-to-door waste picking is being implemented from Vejalpur Ward. With lot of efforts and follow up with Vejalpur Municipal Ward, 366 women benefited from employment in Vejalpur Ward. Everything went smoothly for 6 years and women received certificate for their good work and Vejalpur Municipal Ward also received award. But on morning of 14 August 2010, the telephone rings… 'Your cooperative is not supposed to work from tomorrow for Vejalpur ward. The work is given to another agency'. The women were out on work duty, what to tell them? No written word, no intimation! Besides, it was Diwali festival was approaching fast - women suffered a great shock! What about employment of women, future of children? The struggle goes on. And struggle to file the PIL.

    On one hand entire world's financial crisis where on our shoulders. The rate of wastes like paper, plastic, steel reduced up to 50%. There was no means of employment and the rates led to 50% reduction in income.

    Thus, we initiated a study on financial crisis and the topic was presented at World Bank, who further discussed about this issue in their forum and they came to the rescue of our sisters involved in paper picking. Gradually, employment was provided to sisters through Shri Geetanjali Cooperative. This is my experience of SEWA to continue our fight against unemployment towards ever challenging situations.

  5. Jyotiben Shashikantbhai Makwan
    Residence: Anand district
    Designation: Vice President
    Since past 6 years, I am Vice President of SEWA. After completing my Graduation in Commerce for 4 years I worked with Bharatiya Grameen Mahila Sangh as Programme Supervisor for their Childcare programme. As my mother was associated with SEWA, I started working with SEWA in 1986 for the childcare programme. Later, I worked as organizer for the same programme at Kheda, Anand district. During 1989, there were no childcare facilities for tobacco workers; I initiated childcare centres in such villages. I worked towards nutritious diet, health and growth of tobacco worker's children.

    I initiated savings-credit groups under micro-finance activities in 11 districts of Gujarat. I organized 4000 micro-finance groups. I provided them with trainings on financial planning.

    I worked as organizer of Kheda in 1992. I organized tobacco workers working with factories. Around 600 tobacco workers were facilitated to attain full employment in Kheda / Anand district. The women were encouraged to join SEWA's Child care and health care services. Through savings groups, many women could avail loan benefits. In the year 2002, I was elected as General Secretary of SEWA. And in the year 2011 also, I am elected as General Secretary. I am indebted to SEWA in its process of self empowerment.

  6. Shanta Dayaram Koshti
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Secretary
    My mother-in-law already a SEWA member encouraged me to join SEWA. Being a Bidi worker, I was aware about the exploitation of traders. There was no end to women's difficulties. During this time, Shardaben Koshti used to work as organizer in our area and used to organize many meetings. I started working with Welfare Board to provide identity cards to Bidi workers. Thereafter, I became their leader. Among other work, I used to take Member subscription and started visiting SEWA.

    In 1988, I worked with Miraiben for occupational study of workers. In 1990, when SEWA Academy was initiated, I was selected as Researcher. For 13 years, I worked as a Researcher. I worked in the field and also engaged in library work. Later, I also provided trainings to women on empowerment and research. In 2002, I undertook responsibility as the Coordinator of SEWA Academy. I also worked in earthquake affected Kutch, Patan, and Surendranagar districts. I got opportunity to participate in many national and international workshops, trainings and conferences. I represented SEWA at Beijing, Canada, London and South Africa.

    I worked as SEWA representative for 3 years. A journey of Bidi worker is progressing towards Secretary of SEWA! I am proud that one woman worker is working for other women worker's growth.

    I wish success to SEWA.

  7. Rehanaben Riyawala
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Secretary
    I joined SEWA in 2001 as Finance Coordinator. I got opportunity to work in Kheda / Anand district. I carried out my work with SEWA Gram Vikas. In 2007-2008, I became coordinator of Gram Vikas, especially for Kheda / Anand district whose membership is 1.3 lakhs. I facilitated various employment generation trainings, social security related activities, savings-credit facilities, etc.

    I got opportunity to represent SEWA member's work, challenges and struggles at national and international level. I learned about struggles of unorganized women workers after joining SEWA.

    Before joining SEWA, I worked as Senior Research Manager with Centre for International Analysis and Research for 10 years. After working for so many years, now I have a strong feeling to continue working for women workers. The opportunity to work in villages changed my perception towards life.

    Now, I am elected as Secretary, which has added to my responsibilities but I will try to give my best.

  8. Hinaben Nikhilbhai Bhatt
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Treasurer
    I was selected by SEWA for financial work in 1989. This was my first job. When I joined, all the work was done by hand i.e. in writing. There was no computer. To learn about accounts work, we participated in FCR workshop in Tiloni. As SEWA grew, so did my work. In 1998, I was appointed as the chief accountant of SEWA. Through various workshops we learned about different accounts related work and project-wise accounting. We also learned the use of latest software.

    I am elected as the treasurer of SEWA committee and I pray for sincerity and commitment towards my work. My association with SEWA of past 23 years will facilitate in my ability to perform.

  9. Ramilaben Jayantibhai Rohit
    Residence: Anand district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    I have just studied till standard 9. In 2009, when I was elected as the President in SEWA, I was very happy. I am associated with SEWA since 1994. I am tobacco worker. After joining SEWA, gradually I started working in development work of village. I received various trainings in SEWA. Later, I became a trainer and a leader. I initiated insurance, savings and health related work in my village. From 1997 to 1999, I initiated lot of agriculture related work. I not just organized women but also provided them employment generation trainings and motivated them to fight against injustice.

    I participated in agriculture related trainings and contributed in the development of village. I facilitated in providing market rates of crops to villagers. I made them understand the strength of organizing. The savings training helped women learn the planning of their income. During inauguration of Hansiba Mumbai, when I was introduced as President of SEWA, Hillary Clinton told me that she considers me very fortunate to be elected, as she could not win the Presidential election. This memorable incident was published a lot in the newspaper.

    The identity and respect, which I receive today from my village and family, is accredited to SEWA. I continue to encourage women to acquire other skills along with farming. I learned to articulate my thoughts because of SEWA.

  10. Ranbai Jemalbhai Rauma
    Residence: Patan district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    In 1990, Reemaben visited my village. I joined SEWA as gum collector. It's been 20 years since then. I participated in member subscription, member education, SEWA movement, leadership and organizing trainings at SEWA Academy. I initiated Sakhi Mandal and Sanskar Kendra in the village. I organized around 900 women. The women are not allowed to work outside home in our community. The work of generating awareness is still ongoing.

    I participated in animal husbandry training and also facilitated other sisters to benefit from the same. I am member of Mahila Dairy Committee of my village. I guide my village women in seeds, fertilizer, sowing, etc. I organize meetings in 20 neighbouring villages. As the school in my village is till standard 5, I highlight the need of school to the villagers.

    I assisted women to benefit from loan through our savings group. Around 200 women have availed loan benefits. I provide information about various schemes to stop women from migrating during famine. I also visited China along with Reemaben, which contributed to my work experience. I want my sisters to be able to contribute in development work.

  11. Anishabanu Ekbalbhai Sheikh
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    Since 25 years, I engage in Incense Stick making work from home. When I became member of SEWA, I started organizing meetings of Incense Stick makers at regular intervals. I organized 30 women engaged in this work. Through various trainings organized at SEWA, women became aware about their work and their identity as a worker, which facilitated in strengthening their group. I also developed strong leaders among the group. Today, 5000 incense stick makers are organized in a group.

    I have organized meeting with owners and traders for increasing the rate of incense stick for workers. I have been part of meeting with Incense stick trader's association, association in Labour office, and representation to form Tripartite board.

    It was decided by the association to increase the rate by 50 paisa from Rs 4 to Rs 4.50 per 1000 incense stick. Today, it is Rs 10-12 per 1000 incense stick. And strength of incense stick makers is 25000. With our contribution, Government formed Unorganized Worker's Board in which 7000 women were registered.

    I am elected in SEWA Executive Committee with support from SEWA.

  12. Kapilaben Mahendrabhai Jadav
    Residence: Ahmedabad district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    It's been 10 years, since I became member of SEWA. I used to participate in various trainings organized in our village. I participated in trainings like SEWA movement, member education, organizing, member subscription, and leadership to name a few. I clearly remember the situation of my house when I was not associated with SEWA, we could barely manage two square meals.

    I started my work with nursery and continued to sell plants for 3 years. For 4 years, I visited other villages to provide member education, SEWA movement, organizing, agriculture related, animal husbandry, etc trainings. I also worked for water campaign, hygiene and health in the village. There was not much income from agriculture work; I have never looked back since joining SEWA. I can now efficiently manage financial planning after participating in the training on the same. Today, I can efficiently manage my household and office related finance. My respect has increased tremendously. I love to cook and so I make snacks and sell it in the village. I also do insurance work. I have availed loan from SEWA Bank and purchased 6.25 acres land. I provide training on organic manure to villagers.

    Currently, I am Food Processing Master Trainer. From farm labourer, today I have become Master Trainer because of SEWA. Now, I am elected as member of Executive Committee and I wish to work for the empowerment of my sisters.

  13. Shardaben Fatehsingh Jhala
    Residence: Sabarkantha district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    I joined SEWA in the year 2001. I engaged as farm labourer. After joining SEWA, I organized meetings for village women and organized 25 women. I initiated Insurance work in the village and joined all the women with it. After joining the Spear Head Team in 2002, I started receiving wages for my work and my financial condition improved.

    I participated in agriculture related trainings, where I also learned seasonal farming techniques. Gradually, I worked for insurance, organizing, savings group, Rudi, manure, crops, etc. Earlier, I never used to step outside my house without my husband, but after joining SEWA, I started visiting Ahmedabad on my own to participate in various trainings.

    I purchased my own house in Indira Awaas Yojana. I have 2 cows and buffalo. Today, I am educating my children, and the credit goes to SEWA. I also travelled to Singapore because of SEWA. Today, the women of my village are well-known because of SEWA. I have understood the significance of organizing.

  14. Manjulaben Manharbhai Rathwa
    Residence: Vadodara district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    In 2002, SEWA members visited our village to sell plants; I went to buy plants and became member of SEWA. During the visit, they also oriented us about SEWA. I visited Sukhi Mandal office and seek detailed information about SEWA. I showed interest to work as leader. I received different trainings like member education, savings, insurance and health; I started providing these trainings in villages. I formed savings group in which 15 women joined. I was surprised to discover my strengths.

    Earlier, I was known as wife of Manharbhai, today I have my own identity and villagers give me respect and I am known as Manjulaben. I started helping my husband in his work. I also participated in 19 days MBA training course. I convinced my husband to initiate business and availed loan of Rs 2000 and started our own business. As required, I availed loan of Rs 5000, 15000 and 17000.

    My association with SEWA contributed in my personal and professional growth. I visited Delhi, Mysore, Rajasthan, Rajkot, and Maharashtra for various trainings and study tours. Today, I can speak in front of large group. SEWA has tremendously contributed towards my success.

  15. Pavnaba Vaghubha Jadeja
    Residence: Kutch district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    During earthquake in 2001, SEWA visited Kutch and started providing embroidery work to women. I came to SEWA to seek work. After providing necessary trainings, we were provided embroidery work. Although, I visited couple of times, I could not get embroidery work but I was engaged in water campaign. Being associated with water campaign, I received SEWA movement training. Thereafter, I received trainings on savings, photography, Rudi, MBA, etc. I participated in 8-days training at Coimbatore. Although, there was a lot of criticism from villagers, my confidence started growing with each training in which I participated.

    I decided to start my own business. Though, initially being a woman I was scared but I availed loan from Association worth Rs 25000 and started fodder business. I started earning Rs 4000 to Rs 5000 per month. I bought one cow and buffalo. Currently, I engage in animal husbandry. When I used to visit village to collect membership fees, I observed electricity was one of the major problem in villages hindering the growth of village and so I took solar light training and provided the acquired information to villagers.

    With an idea to initiate sale of solar light, I seek loan from Association worth Rs 90000. I sold solar light to 30 women. With the help of solar light, women could finish 15 day's work within a week by being able to work at night. Other avenues of employment increased. Children could study at night now. The stipulated time to sell solar light was 1 year but I could sell it within 6 months and repaid the loan. Thus, I addressed dual issue of employment and electricity with my work. The light spread in my life and also in my village, after joining SEWA. I wish to continue working towards spreading light.

  16. Devuben Jayantibhai Rathod
    Residence: Surendranagar district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    My life meant spending 8 months in desert and 4 months in village. I used to engage as Salt pan worker and agriculture worker both at my parent's and my in-law's place. I became member of SEWA and we formed savings group. I became leader. I am only daughter-in-law to have studied till standard 10. By visiting from village to village, I organized 3000 women.

    I underwent training on salt work in SEWA and became a Master Trainer. Now, I train other salt pan workers. I also provide employment generation trainings. This contributed in my income. I have become special in my family and became famous in my community. I started visiting Ahmedabad on my own. I also started organizing meetings and trainings with women.

    Recently, I sold Rudi products worth Rs 15000 in a day. I also join women to Rudi and contribute in their income. I am elected as member of SEWA Executive Committee. I want to contribute in the success of my sisters. Since past 8 years, I am associated with Salt pan worker's cooperative. The empowerment of my village women is my ultimate goal.

  17. Pushpaben Fakirbhai Suthar
    Residence: Gandhinagar district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    In 1991, SEWA organized Midwives training in our village. I participated in the midwives training and started doing this work. Later, I joined water campaign under which I formed water committees in many villages. I stopped water wastage in many villages and also trained them to save water. I also empowered women through various trainings.

    I also participated in Solar Light training and also learned repairing of the same. With this work, I was able to light so many houses in the village. Currently, under self reliance programme, I am solar light master trainer. The trainings which I receive in SEWA, I further provide them to labourer women like me.

    Midwife, Master Trainer of solar light, then Master Trainer, this is the journey of my life. Still basically, my main work is of animal husbandry but now I have became member of SEWA's Executive Committee. Such is my life!

  18. Saberabanu Ahmedbhai Ghachi
    Residence: Mehsana district
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    I am associated with SEWA since past 10 years, post Godhra riots. I used to work as Shantaben looking after women and children. Shantaben - work with riot victims towards providing savings, loan and credit facilities. We also provide employment generation trainings. Through various trainings like soap and powder making, making doormats, and incense stick making, we contributed in their self reliance.

    35000 women are organized in Mehsana district. There are currently 10 different activities which are ongoing. We initiated survey of farmers and provided them with certified seeds. I provide direct information about the market rate of various crops to farmers. The savings groups are also formed in Kadi taluka. I manage 17 such groups. We train women in savings. I facilitated loan disbursement in 7-8 groups worth Rs 7 lakhs. Many women started their own business after availing loan. One such sister is currently running her own Sari business. I facilitate members in availing loan for sewing machine, milk business, putting pipeline in the farm, etc.

    I motivated women to use Rudi products. We also take orders for Rudi during various occasions in the village. Many women were joined with insurance schemes. I work to spread information about SEWA services in villages.

  19. Sarojben Ravendrabhai Parmar
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    I earned Rs 7 to Rs 10 for 1000 Bidis. There were 150 to 200 Bidi workers in Rakhial area of Ahmedabad. After joining SEWA, I started attending various meetings. I facilitated providing identity cards to Bidi workers from the welfare board. I also provided information about welfare board.

    I am associated with Bidi workers group since past 25 years. And since past 8 years I am associated with campaign team and organize other Bidi workers. Since 2003, I am member of Executive Committee. I fight with traders on various issues of Bidi workers like issue of new identity card, death, opening bank account, children scholarships, and maternity benefits. I can efficiently manage the committee work.

    I am constantly in touch with welfare board schemes and make them available to Bidi workers. I keep updated with wage rate increase, PF for women and keep in touch with traders. I facilitate women in providing them with alternative employment generation activities. I have strong faith in organizing strengths.

  20. Champaben Naginbhai Patni
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    Since past 15 years, I am engaging in Vegetable vending at Chamanpura. This market was started 50 years ago by 7 fish vendors, in which I used to vend along with my mother-in-law. Today over 150 vendors peacefully engage in vending from this market under my leadership. The Municipal Corporation allotted a place at Chamanpura under bridge to the vendors. For this, I had to convince members to shift.

    I have organized over 5000 members in different areas of Ahmedabad. I have tried to solve various questions like acquisition. I have tried to solve internal disputes, to encourage defaulters to pay fines, to try reducing fines during mobile van visits, and to try to negotiate with police during disputes.

    I run training classes for vendors and try to educate them. I teach the vendors on their behaviour with customers. I also teach them about legal aspects. I registered 1500 members with Welfare Board. I have facilitated women to receive welfare board kits, health care trainings, and also facilitated them to avail insurance benefits.

    I have visited vendors of Zambia. I have now started working for Surat vendors. We organized one conference in which 2500 women participated and during the conference we highlighted on the strength of organizing. Today, there are 7,680 members associated with the group in Surat. I continue to work on the issues of Street Vendors.

  21. Dhaniben Ishwarbhai Parmar
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    Since marriage, I used to go for cooking work taking with me 10-20 women even on holidays. In 1999, I joined SEWA when it started trade wise campaign. I organized 4000 women from Ahmedabad and nearby villages. Today, 27000 members are part of this group.

    I organized Kitchen workers and also developed 100 leaders. I worked hard for workers in increasing their wages and for bonus of kitchen workers. In 2009, government formed Board for unorganized sector workers in which kitchen workers were included. I facilitated registering of 1000 workers in the board, and 100 workers also received kits.

    During 2002 riots, I used to visit members in areas having curfew and brought information about the workers who had suffered loss. SEWA provided them with shades, cement and bricks; and together we worked day and night for the riot victims.

    Recently, my son died and my husband having mental ailments have left home. Even after many efforts we have not been able to trace his whereabouts. In spite of this, I continue working with SEWA. SEWA has changed our lives and greatly contributed in our success.

  22. Ramilaben Narsinghbhai Rathod
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    I am associated with construction work since I was 12 years old. I used to work in different areas of Ahmedabad. In 1997, SEWA initiated organizing construction workers. I joined SEWA and organized 30 women. I facilitated the training of 15 days provided by Ambuja Cement Company on different ways of laying bricks and on plastering.

    Thereafter, the Bakeri Group work was ongoing in Vejalpur area where 30 of us trained on how to work on wooden stand. Construction Industrial Development Council, Delhi took the exam after the training and I stood first in the exam. In my certificate, I received Grade of Engineer and Carpenter. I joined as organizer and organized 5000 women from 50 different sites.

    For 8 years, I participated in all the meetings to represent the situation of masonry workers for the formation of law. I joined around 500 women in Welfare Board. Around 100 children received scholarship from the Board. I received various trainings like organizing, member education, SEWA orientation, legal and construction training from BWI. For these trainings, I visited Delhi, Agra, Chennai, and Kerala. I wish to continue working for better life of construction workers.

  23. Santokben Lavjibhai Parmar
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    I used to work with Mill. But when the mill shut down, I started picking rag from the road. After joining SEWA, I quickly became leader. I used to visit Sewage farm to solve problems of members. I wish that rag pickers can do their work be it door-to-door rag picker, road rag picker, or office rag picker, peacefully and with dignity.

    I am leader since past 20 years, representative in SEWA since past 15 years and I work with paper picker's campaign team. I have joined 5000 paper pickers with SEWA. I have also developed leaders from paper pickers. I fought for Social Security of paper pickers. The Welfare Board was formed after 25 years of continued struggle, in which paper and rag pickers were included.

    Around 5000 women were registered with this board. They also received various trainings, identity cards, tool kits, medical benefits, etc. I am proud to be elected as member of Executive Committee.

  24. Kherunisha Ishakbhai Nagori
    Residence: Ahmedabad
    Designation: Executive Committee Member
    I engage in stitching work since past 35 years. I used to stitch frocks from Chindi (piece) left in Mill. Around 30 to 35 women in Shahpur used engage in stitching work. Today, around 350 women engage in Chindi work were as 10000 women engage in stitching work.

    I joined 20 women with SEWA. These 20 women started fighting for increasing rate. Before 30 years, the rate of stitching 1 dozen frocks was Rs 2.50 and in 1 frock 22 pieces were stitched together. The rate increased from Rs 2.50 per dozen to Rs 5. The women from other areas started visiting me for their work and eventually I became leader.

    We are eligible to receive minimum wages as workers but we faced many struggle for this as our traders didn't used to keep our records. We gave interview in Doordarshan; this helped us to spread our word to Government and Traders. In 1988, the notification of minimum wage act was published. But due to pressure from big traders, Government had to postpone it. I protested with 500 women in front of Association office and the government had to pass the act. I am proud to be member of SEWA's Executive Committee.

     
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