SEWA in Bhagalpur
Bhagalpur’s history is rooted in silk and handloom production. However, the last 20 years have seen economic and social unrest, resulting in religious and ethnic turmoil. SEWA has worked in Bhagalpur since 1983 and is comprised over 45,000 women who work as weavers, agricultural producers, home-based producers, and construction workers. SEWA Bhagalpur has unionized informal women workers and has provided livelihood and employment support, microfinance services, health, and linkages to social security services.
Main activities in Bhagalpur
- Organizing 104 SHGs that connect over 1000 women to financial services
- Connecting over 100 silk weaving families with sustainable livelihoods
Women in the informal sector do not have a platform to engage with the government to voice their diverse concerns. SEWA Bhagalpur is a vehicle for women to liaise with policy makers and get their concerns addressed. Through meetings at the local, state, and national level, and demonstrations and rallies, SEWA helps the government understand, protect, and meet the needs of women in the informal economy. SEWA Bhagalpur works to address community-based and trade-based issues through public policy and civic involvement.
Since liberalization, Indian handicraft producers and artisans have had to compete with global industries and companies. There has been a reduction of wages and incomes for producers due to increased mechanization and increased competition globally, endangering traditional handloom production techniques that have been the bedrock of Bhagalpur’s history and culture. SEWA supports women’s livelihoods by helping them organize into trade committees and cooperatives, creating direct market linkages, and connecting them to diverse development programs. In Bhagalpur, SEWA members have established and run a cooperative of silk weavers.
- Currently, 100 weavers are supporting their families through the SEWA Saheli Cooperative
- SEWA’s Loom Mool is a new cooperative-linking initiative that connects Bhagalpur’s silk weavers to Delhi’s Ruaab embroidery center, creating an ethical and sustainable supply-chain. See the Loom Mool Facebook for more information and products.
- 4,950 bidi rollers are members to SEWA in Bhagalpur
- 200 bidi worker ID cards made to give women access welfare schemes
- One eye-care and occupational health camp brought 200 bidi rollers free check-ups
Women in the informal sector lack safe, reliable, and non-exploitative sources of financing. They are very vulnerable in the face of economic shocks, environmental risks, and unexpected life events. SEWA organizes workingwomen into self-help groups (SHGs) so they can pool their financial resources together. SEWA also connects women to cooperatives for greater access to financial services. As banks often deny services to low-income and illiterate women, SEWA builds women’s fiscal capacities through financial literacy trainings, exposure visits, and workshops.
- SEWA Bhagalpur’s micro-finance program has 46 SHGs with 692 women members
- SEWA Bhagalpur SHGs saved of Rs. 18,28,672
- In 2016, 182 loans worth 4,469,223 were given amongst poor women in Bhagalpur, helping them finance business, home maintenance, and education.
- 2,507 women have cooperative accounts
- Cumulative savings worth Rs. 3,41,780
HEALTH AND SOCIAL SECURITY
Women face the greatest social, economic, and administrative barriers to healthcare. Poor working women’s health issues are often seriously neglected because of daunting costs and administrative barriers, overwhelming workloads, lack of information and knowledge, and cultural restrictions. SEWA Bhagalpur addresses these gaps by offering preventive and treatment solutions.
- 13,723 women and girls were provided with educational sessions that addressed misconceptions and myths of family planning and menstrual health
- Over 3,365 women participated in specialized women’s health workshops in gynecological care and sexual and reproductive health in 2016
- In 2016, 718 referrals connected the poor with government and private healthcare
In addition to health gaps, social security and welfare programs often do not reach the intended recipients due to lack of awareness, corruption, illiteracy, immobility, and difficult and complicated application processes. SEWA provides direct access to welfare services and ensures their delivery through community centers called SEWA Shakti Kendras.
- , SEWA Bhagalpur has linked over 1,500 members to government and public welfare schemes
- 5 social security camps with 580 participants in urban areas of Bhagalpur in 2016-2017
SEWA Bharat is constantly looking for new, innovative project opportunities. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to partner with us.