A new millennium has begun amidst news of disasters, ethnic violence and human suffering around the world. Added to this we are reminded frequently of the thousands of domestic workers who live a subhuman and a humiliated life in India and abroad.
CODP social workers made several visits to the workplaces of domestic workers at various places in undivided South Canara district. Awareness write-ups were published in local language Newspapers and Weekly. Social workers also visited the highly qualified and experienced personalities to request their co-operation and ideas to conduct awareness program to the employers as it is felt that the employers have to be educated in regard to the rights of the domestic workers.
The specific thrust of the social workers has always been the personal interviews. Through personal contacts and dialogue the social workers try to promote value based human life, their own experience of human dignity, human rights and the total
development of their own person. Counseling is also given to those who seek help for personal growth and help in areas of adjustment in the family and acquire a healthy attitude towards life. Also to have a sense of job satisfactions so that they perform better in future.
Regular get-together of domestic workers is held.
The input given at one of the get-together was “Importance of each one of them for the building up of Self and Society”. 151 members were present. Through a game, discussion in groups and the general session the message was brought home to all.
Training is important to the workers in cleaning and taking care of utensils and crockery and setting the table. Awareness of rights and duties and the rules of employers and employees are explained. Regular monthly classes continue every third Sunday.
ASSISTANCE TO DOMESTIC WORKERS:
Option to the poorest of the poor is the main aim of CODP. While giving the domestic workers various opportunities to develop themselves it is a felt need to extend a helping hand to the most miserable of them. During the past years financial assistance was given for Marriage, Education, Medical, House repair etc.
The social workers have contacted many like-minded persons and Institutes who can help in the work. Director of CODP has taken interest in this work and attended the meeting at the National level. The Principal of the college of social work, Roshni Nilaya, had placed group of their students to assist CODP during the year 2000.
With help of all these we have not only created awareness but convinced the employers about the plight of the domestic workers and involved them in forming the organization.
CODP has published some articles in the local language Newspapers and Weeklies, Raknno & Janavahini. Follow up articles have also been published.
The work with domestic workers is a slow process in Mangalore. The employers are very strict with their employees as the need to domestic service is acute. The employers consider their maids as their property and have them strictly under their control.
Though the association has been formed and a few domestic workers are elected as committee members, there is need to get more members involved as animators.
There are three employers as committee members. We need to find more to join the committee, may be from different centres so that they may get the awareness during the committee meeting and give their wholehearted cooperation in this work.
The interviews with the domestic workers are inspiring. Each one has her cup of woes to pour out to the social workers of CODP with “Thank you for listening to me. I feel so light now”. The domestic workers are virtually at the mercy of the employers and under “house arrest”. They are the most neglected by every one and are lonely. Due to their working conditions they are difficult to organize. Concerted efforts are made to get them together. The CODP is the strength of the domestic workers, which is supporting to uplift the cause of the downtrodden domestic workers in Mangalore.