Reported By : Ms.Sukanya Chatterjee,Manager – East, Kolkata
Ranchi, Jharkhand: Ekjut, IGSSS partner, has been implementing the Samaveshi Seher Programme as part of the Urban Poverty Intervention. The organisation has been working with women daily wage workers who commute daily to Ranchi from adjoining districts.
Ekjut, as part of this intervention, has been working towards operationalising two shelters specifically for these women. A large number of women undertake this daily trek, waking up at four in the morning to finish their household chores, catch a train and arrive looking for work at one of the 12 labour markets in Ranchi by eight thirty in the morning. After work, they rush back home catching the last train at six thirty in the evening. If they miss their train, they have little recourse but to spend the night in Ranchi, the railway station being one of their preferred choices.
The challenge for EKJUT has been to mobilize these women before they are hired by the contractors every morning or during their lunch break or when they are rushing back to catch the last train back. In the short duration since the inception of this project in April, they have conducted a baseline and have been able to mobilize one women’s collective comprising 40 daily wage earners.
During one of the visit by the IGSSS team members, the collective members shared that “We are not skills for any other sort of job. So we have been working as daily wage labour”. Another shared that, “We have to do everything – mix the cement, carry the bricks and hand it to the mason who just stands around”.
These women are handful who have realized that without collectivization, they will not be able to demand better work conditions, will not be able to access schemes and entitlements, their rightful wages nor improve their security.
Ms.Nirmala Tirkey, one of the collective member shared that she has been working for 10 years. Her mother died when her youngest sibling was one and a half year old. Her father is an alcoholic and since she was not educated, she had to begin working as a daily wage labour. Over the years, she ensured that her brothers become educated. She happily shared that she lives her dreams through her siblings. All of these women have similar stories. However, interaction with Ekjut team has positivitely motivated her to stand and voice for better working conditions for herself and the other fellow members of the collective. But she is convinced that even though it may take some time, but one day their demand for better working conditions will be fulfilled.