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Domestic workers in Guwahati creatively campaign for social security

By October 21, 2021August 22nd, 2023No Comments

A photo essay

The Guwahati-based domestic workers’ collective Griho Karmi Adhikar Suraksha Samiti, facilitated by YUVA, observed a Domestic Workers’ Rights Week in September 2021, with a host of presentations and interactions to call attention to their rights and demand for them to be met. This was the first time such an event was organised by the domestic workers, focused exclusively on their rights. This photo essay presents a visual summary of the events that unfolded.

The campaign was inaugurated at Uzanbazar Ghat in central Guwahati. Domestic workers performed a street play called Adhikar which focused on the the following questions.

Who are domestic workers? Why don’t they get the dignity and respect deserved from society? Why do they need to work like machines, often with no leave, no security? How did the lockdown affect domestic workers and what are their demands?

Domestic workers travelled in a van decorated with the campaign poster for two days, performing their street plays at different areas, organising discussions and distributing posters. Around 400 workers participated in the campaign across the week, in areas ranging from Chandmari, Hatigaon, Christian Basti Hill Side to Ganesh Turning, Kahilipara.

Their demands were clearly articulated, and they pasted bills on walls and painted murals to depict them.

15 domestic workers also participated in the state inaugural ceremony of the e-Shram portal, a centralised database of unorganised workers that the government has recently launched. In the coming days, worker registrations will be encouraged, even as the domestic workers continue to demand for their rights to be met.

The campaign concluded with a closing event, where the domestic workers shared experiences from the past week and recommitted to their resolutions.

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