25 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/05/2010 16:18
INDIA
Belgian nun helps two million domestic workers in India regain dignity and rights
by Santosh Digal
In 1985, Sister Jeane Devos founded the National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM), an organisation that now has 53 branches in 23 states. Domestic workers are often denied their rights, underpaid and treated like animals. A domestic worker in Tamil Nadu recounts how she was not treated as a human being but thanks to the NDWM, her situation improved.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – In India, the National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) has been able to improve the conditions of some two million domestic workers, whose rights have been traditionally denied. Founded in 1985 by Sister Jeane Devos, a Belgian nun with the Order of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the NDWM is affiliated with the Labour Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of India.

“We broke a wall of silence, slavery and exploitation,” Sr Jeane said. “Our movement has grown and we can change the situation of domestic workers through solidarity, dignity, justice and empowerment.”

The NDWM operates 53 branches in 23 Indian states. Its goal is to secure the recognition and protection of domestic workers.

Mgr William D’Souza, archbishop of Patna, said that steps have been taken in the right direction “to create a just society where domestic workers are treated as people with dignity, where their rights are defended, where their contribution to the economy and to development is recognised, where their voice is heard.”

At present, the situation for many domestic workers is truly appalling, something that Seetha Lakshmi, a domestic worker in Dindigul (Tamil Nadu), knows all too well.

“I was getting 50 rupees a month (US$ 1.1) and I was never treated like a human being,” she said. “I cried every day.”

“In 1992, I heard about NDWM and so I turned to them. We talked about wages, hours, and days off. When I spoke to my employer about this movement, my situation improved,” she said.

Over the years, the NDWM has carved a space for itself in Indian society and has found support among political leaders.  

“Women and child domestic workers suffer exploitation and discrimination in various ways and forms,” said the former governor of Maharashtra state, Sanayangba Chubatoshi Jamir. “Together with migrant workers, they form the most vulnerable group of people in society who are often denied their basic rights as human beings,” he added. Therefore, “it is gratifying to note that NDWM has been lending its voice to the cause of women and child domestic workers.”

Thanks to the NDWM, the International Labour Organisation has been developing labour standards for domestic workers.

“Great things have happened to domestic workers,” Sr Jeane said. “We shall continue to move with faith in God and the Spirit that guides the movement.”


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
02/19/2007 CHINA
UN believes China might abolish forced labour
11/24/2009 MYANMAR – INDIA
Useless UN and ILO rituals bring no change, Burmese dissidents says
05/06/2013 TAIWAN
Taipei thanks Sister Hilda, 52 years a symbol of Christian love for the needy
by Xin Yage
03/04/2008 MONGOLIA
Teaching English in Ulaan Baatar in order to talk about God
10/28/2005 MYANMAR
Myanmar wants to quit ILO

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.