MFF team, in collaboration with National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) recently interacted with 50 domestic workers from Govindpuri and Jasola Vihar in New Delhi. This group was a mix of Muslims and Hindus who are migrants from Maharashtra and Northern India. The objective of these interactions with domestic workers is to understand their everyday problems, provide them with a collective space to articulate these problems and find practical solutions to them.
During our interaction with these women, it emerged that these women engage in domestic work due to their vulnerable socio-economic conditions. The biggest challenge that they face is job insecurity. They hardly get leave, work for very long hours, are not compensated for working overtime or rarely get a festival bonus from their employers. Domestic workers also choose to keep quiet when they are abused so that they can keep their jobs and provide for their families.
The conversations were mainly around the themes of low wages, ill-treatment by the employers, job-insecurity and sexual harassment at the workplace. Even those who wield social and political power are insensitive towards such sensitive issues and are often found to be perpetrating or abetting such crimes.
These issues came out through a problem tree, which is a participatory approach used with groups to collectively identify their problems, the reasons behind these problems and the consequences of these problems in their everyday lives. Taking forward these interactions with domestic workers, MFF and NDWM will endeavour to collectivize these domestic workers and build their capacities to demand for their rights and entitlements.