Forty-two year-old Kala, for instance, belongs to the Scheduled caste and comes from a family of cobblers engaged in footwear making. In 2014, thanks to the Trust, she joined a self-help group and and trained in micro entrepreneurship.
She says: “Then they arranged an interest free loan for me. In 2015 I have purchased a sewing machine and started to stitch women’s garments. Now I am earning ₹250 per day and able to repay the loan.”
Kala belongs to one of the 147 self-help groups comprising domestic workers and manual scavengers that have been formed at the hamlet level who, collectively, make up a federation.
A significant aspect of the Trust's work is mediating between them and banks in order to get loans that the women use to maintain sustainable businesses, and free themselves from exploitative moneylenders.
For women who are ill-treated daily on the basis of their caste and profession, being united and aware of their rights increase their bargaining power when it comes to negotiating their salaries and employment conditions.
The groups are not only taught about current laws on labour and discrimination that exist for their protection, but also about social security schemes that they can avail. Till date 627 domestic workers have enrolled for accident insurance, scholarships and old age pensions, providing some security in dire situations and reducing their vulnerability.
Support Vizhuthukal Trust as they work towards establishing a just working environment for female domestic workers and manual scavengers - who have borne the brunt of exploitative abuse for too long.