Carpet workers are one of the poorest people coming from the most backward communities in the country. There are very few literate carpet workers. As they live and work within the factory premises, factory premises are their community and world. There was a time when most of them worked for almost 16 hours a day, but with labour unions and trade unions coming up and also because of development of new standards for the carpet manufacturers, the working conditions, minimum wages and other situations of the carpet workers have comparatively improved a lot. The minimum wage for a worker has been now, fixed to Four Thousand Six Hundred Rupees a month. Similarly, their working hours have also been reduced.
This situation has created a big pool of people with homogenous orientation (or lack of orientation), living and continuously working most of the time, from their childhood, in a confined world. The monotonous and boring work of carpet weaving, spinning, etc., make the minds dull. Everybody’s struggle becomes only for subsistence and that too for today. This situation leaves the workers utterly unaware of basic information and ideas on issues like Child Rights, Gender Issues, Women Rights, Value of Education, Family Planning, Trafficking, HIV/AIDS, Health, Nutrition, Sanitation, etc.
In this context, the foundation, together in partnership with a local NGO called Helpless Rehabilitation Society (HRS) has been implementing awareness program on the following three topics for carpet workers in factories under GoodWeave License:
- Child Rights, including Education and Gender Issue.
- Family Planning, Trafficking, HIV /AIDS and STD.
- Health, Nutrition, Sanitation and Working Environment.
A two to three hour’s presentation is made in a factory or a group of small factories, for three days on each broad group of topics, preferably on weekends when the workers are free. Appropriate print or audio/visual materials, and if needed resource persons are also used.