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No. 27 | March, 2010
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International Women's Day : Chief Minister of Bihar promises a "Women Workers Commission" at SEWA celebration


Over 3000 SEWA members from Bihar attended the Women's day celebration, 8th March, at Patna organized by SEWA Bharat. The Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar welcomed SEWA to Bihar and encouraged the women to organize, He said, "Why are there only 25,000 SEWA members in Bihar? There should be hundreds of thousands...". He promised to set up a Commission to examine the issues and suggest solutions for Women in the Informal Economy. Smt Ela Bhatt, said Bihar Government should support and encourage use of solar energy. Women should be trained in Solar Energy generation, distribution and application and could which would provide both employment and environment friendly energy.

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Memorandum to Sri Nitish Kumarji, Chief Minister, Bihar from women workers of unorganized sector in Bihar


We are women workers in the unorganized sector in Bihar. We are small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers who work on our own and others fields for living. We are construction workers, breaking stones at construction sites, we work in brick furnaces, we are papad roller, silk weavers, bangal makers, bidi and agarbatti rollers, leaf plate maker, fruits and vegetables vendors and are engaged in many other trades too. There are more than 4 crores workers in Bihar who are in unorganized sector and among them 40% are women. Like us, most of the poor women are working hard for livelihood and to support our families.


We propose that the Government of Bihar form a State Level Commission for Women Workers in unorganized sector so that almost 1 crore 60 lakh women workers in this state can be linked to main stream. This commission would investigate the situation of women workers in different fields and recommend policies, schemes and laws to be formulated for development.


The Unorganized Sector's Women's Workers Commission would work keeping the following points in mind-


To bring forward the actual statistics of unorganized sector workers and study the socio-economic situation( specially employment, income, social  security, education and skill, finance services), to make visible the workforce where women workers are larger in numbers (like agriculture, construction, home based work etc), to measure the effect of various Labor Acts on women workers (special emphasis on maternity, child care, industrial health and insurance) and to upgrade the level of women workers livelihood, keeping in mind the situation of labor market, suggesting various method of increasing income and employment for women workers (like finance, marketing linkages, improving skill development techniques etc). 

To understand the effect of different economic laws on the investment, production and technology upon the women workers.


This commission can recommend following matters to government-

To recommend relevant opportunities to increase income and employment for women workers in each and every sector, economic services like micro-finance and pension, better market linkages and suggesting different skill development measures, recommending relevant laws and regulations for women workers, suggesting schemes and programs, suggesting methods to develop organizations and institutes for poor women workers.

In this Commission, there would be specialists from different sectors such as employment generation, statistics, skill and education, organizing, production and marketing etc.
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Waste Pickers Rally in Ahmedabad


On March 10th, Waste pickers" day SEWA organized a meet in Ahmedabad to protect, enhance and strengthen the livelihoods of waste pickers in the city. Addressing the conference of around 1,500 waste pickers guest speaker Prof CN Roy of CEPT said that waste pickers should be given an identity for their work. The city produces 2,400 tons of the waste daily out of which 300 tons is being collected by waste pickers, thus part of amount which the corporation has to spend for the purpose is saved. Professor Ghanshyam Shah emphasized that door-to-door collection of garbage should be given only to traditional waste pickers and their cooperatives. A solid waste management scheme should be framed for Ahmedabad city which will protect, enhance, ensure and strengthen our livelihood. The Waste Pickers Demanded that:



Our current livelihood should not be snatched away, it should be rehabilitated in the future plans of a modern Ahmedabad.

The work of door-to-door collections should be given to local traditional waste-pickers belonging to the dalit and Valmiki Samaj and their co-operatives immediately.

Considering us as the part of Solid Waste management System of the city, identity card should be given to us by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

Government should declare special packages to support us in overcoming the financial crisis.
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"Ananta-The Flamboyant Stitch" in Delhi


"Ananta-The Flamboyant Stitch" was held on December 19 last year at Ahmedabad. It was a collaboration between SEWA, Alliance Francaise and the Kanoria Centre for Arts, Ahmedabad. After the resounding the success of this fashion show which featured apparels from the Hansiba brand "Ananta" was showcased in Delhi on 27th March, 2010.


It aimed to provide a platform for women to sell their products and support them in improving their socio-economic status and building a sustainable income through various opportunities. "Ananta" covered a fashion show, an exhibition of home furnishing and sketches, films, folk music, dance, workshop for children and rural cuisine.


While last year, SEWA founder, Elaben Bhatt, walked the ramp to promote Hansiba, this time it was veteran Bollywood actress and Indian Censor Board chief, Sharmila Tagore who walked the ramp. She stunned the audiences draped in a red silk sari designed by SEWA artisans and French designer, Graham Hollick.

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Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe visits SEWA


Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Thokozani Khumpe, made a three day visit to SEWA. The purpose of her trip was to study the various initiatives and models taken by SEWA Bank in particular to help empower women. She wishes to replicate the micro-finance model developed by SEWA Bank in Zimbabwe to enable women in that country to run their business independently. SEWA Bank's MD Jayshreeben Vyas, assured Khumpe of any help required to make women in Zimbabwe self dependent.




SEWA Academy sets up vocational trainings centers


The Literacy department of SEWA academy has set up training centers in various colonies of Ahmedabad city where workers reside. Literacy department and Ministry of Human Resources, Government of India provide various vocational trainings to these women under the Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS).




These centers not only provide vocational training to women but also teach them the art of living. The duration of the courses is between 3 to 6 months. A certificate is issued on completing the course to them which enable them to get a decent job in the market.




Study Tour


A team of seven women from "Anasooya" and "VideoSEWA" took a nine day educational tour. They visited The Technology Institution for People, Ramoji Film City and E TV news in Hyderabad, Child Aid Foundation in Andhra Pradesh, Communication for Development and Learning in Bangalore. The team visited "Dalit Voice" in Bangalore. "Dalit Voice" is a political magazine published in Bangalore which expresses the views on the Dalit Movement in India.

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