Domestic work in the city is a significant sector of employment for poor women from both rural and urban areas. Women who work as domestic workers are part of an exploitative informal economy where they are employed by households and work without formal contracts, workers benefits or social protection and fall within the category of informal wage employment. Low wages, insecurities and lack of organisational strength characterise the lives of Women Domestic Workers (WDWs).
We have a total of 20 Samadhan Dals (WDW Collectives) we regularly work with 450 women domestic workers in Kolkata and South 24 Parganas, however we reach out to another 2000 women domestic workers through our different activities and campaigns. We are members of Grihashramik Adhikar Abhijaan, a platform of organisations, trade unions and individuals, working for the rights of women domestic workers in West Bengal. Parichiti is also a member of Maitree(1995), a women’s rights network in West Bengal.
In 2017 Parichiti and the Centre for Health and Social Justice, New Delhi (CHSJ) established the Kolkata Initiatives programme which focuses on community engagement enabling the “haves” to support the “have nots”.
Kolkata Initiatives (KI) works with elderly women in slums of Kolkata. Many of these seniors live alone and most have no means of income. We have created drop in centres for them in their localities, where they can come and spend some time and engage in various activities like yoga, singing, board games. They also get an evening snack at the drop-in centres. We run health clinics and link the seniors with available government programmes. Our 5 drop-in centres reach out directly to 150 women. Many others attend our health clinics and other occasional programmes.
We also run a dojo where adolescent girls and others learn AIKIDO, a Japanese Martial Art.
To know more about Kolkata Initiatives visit: http://www.chsj.org/kolkata-initiatives.html
To join our discussion please visit our Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KolkataInitiatives
The main purpose of our work with men’s groups is for men to come together to create an equal world. We work with 20 men’s groups in and around Kolkata where men meet to discuss their gender privilege and undertake different activities to challenge gender inequality. Our work is focused on men taking on greater responsibilities within the home, that is, work like cooking, cleaning and childcare, which is generally viewed as ‘women’s work’ and also work to resist and stop violence against women and other marginalised genders. From 2017, Parichiti has also involved men from 20 different areas in Kolkata and South 24 Parganas to fight for gender justice. We have been able to reach 800 men through these men's groups.
In 2016 Parichiti took the initiative to bring together organizations working with men for gender equality. This network was subsequently named Forum to Engage Men- West Bengal in 2017. This network has expanded to 9 districts of West Bengal, currently it has 15 member organizations.
In 2015 we started the 'Ek Saath' campaign in West bengal. This campaign engages men and boys as partners for gender justice in changing gender social norms that are discriminatory. There are 500 Samaatar Saathis (Community Volunteers) who have been groomed into youth leaders. This initiative aims at building the capacity of these youth and equip them as leaders in their communities challenging gendered social norms and bringing in a new set of norms which promote equality.
PARICHITI work area:
Chinamandir, Bosepukur, Panchanantala, Jodhpur Park, Mahabirtola, K.P. Roy Lane, Golf Club Road, Kalikapur, Shaheed Smriti, Anandapalli, Chakberia- Sonarpur, Rajpur- Sonarpur, Kalikapur- Sonarpur.
One Cotton Saree very generously visited our KI centres and distributed 130 sarees in all our seniors drop in centres
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign used by activists around the world as an organizing strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. The core 16 Days campaign takes place every year between November 25 and December 10. Every year Parichiti conducts different activities to spread awareness in these 16 days
Parichiti has been working with men from 2017, and this discussion was about what we have perceived after at the end of this project. this dialogue was attended by the Protection Officers and people from various works of life.
Workshop in Shahid Smriti. Fourteen domestic workers from different locations in and around Kolkata are attended a discussion on women domestic workers and mobility, organized by The University of Edinburgh, Economic and Social Research Council, IDSK and Parichiti