The Self-Employed Women's Association of India

Development through Supportive Servcices

Not only do self-employed women have insecure employment and earn much less than organised sector workers, but they also have no support for their work, or for themselves in times of difficulties. Unlike their sisters in the organised sector, out of their meager earnings, they have to pay for health-care and face the consequences and expensses involved in maternity, accidents, death and calamities.

Recognising the need for supportive services and social security SEWA haas taken a number of initiatives and succeeded in probiding a number of services to its members Perhaps the most important lesson from these initiatives is that poor women are ready to pay for services and that these services can indeed become financially viable. They do not have to remain dependent on subsidies. Many of these services such as credit, health-care and child-care are now provided through co-operatives which are self-reliant. Other services such as insurance and housing are provided through the Bank.

  • Video SEWA: Video SEWA has been making simple, appropriate and modern video technology available to SEWA members, SEWA organisors, policymakers and planners at regional, national and international leels and to the public in general.

    Videos on issues of the self-employed are shot, edited and replayed by workers themselves.

    Video SEWA has shown over its more than ten years of existence that even an appparently sophisticated technology like video can be tackled and used effectively by workers. And the power of medium and its potential for organising the poor by raising awareness and bringing issues to the fore is beyond doubt.

    In 1994 a rew training was held in preparation for taking bideo production to the rural areas. 15 women from the grass roots like gumpicjer, tabacco worker, bidi roller, were trained to handle the video equipment, in preparation for starting village-level communication centers.

    Examples: documenting the widow conference in Bangalore, four editions of SEWA news, SEWA Bharat, training in Israel. A program about Video SEWA was broadcast by the BBC and another by Doordarshan in the program, "Surabhi."

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