Sr Jeane Devos founded the Indian domestic workers movement

posted 5 Aug 2010, 18:45 by Stefan Gigacz
In India, the National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) has been able to improve the conditions of some two million domestic workers, whose rights have been traditionally denied. 

Founded in 1985 by Sister Jeane Devos, a Belgian nun with the Order of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the NDWM is affiliated with the Labour Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of India, Asia News reports. 

“We broke a wall of silence, slavery and exploitation,” Sr Jeane, a Belgian nun with the Order of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a former YCS collaborator, said. “Our movement has grown and we can change the situation of domestic workers through solidarity, dignity, justice and empowerment.” 

The NDWM operates 53 branches in 23 Indian states. Its goal is to secure the recognition and protection of domestic workers. 

At present, the situation for many domestic workers is truly appalling, something that Seetha Lakshmi, a domestic worker in Dindigul (Tamil Nadu), knows all too well. 

“I was getting 50 rupees a month (US$ 1.1) and I was never treated like a human being,” she said. “I cried every day.” 

“In 1992, I heard about NDWM and so I turned to them. We talked about wages, hours, and days off. When I spoke to my employer about this movement, my situation improved,” she said. 

“Great things have happened to domestic workers,” Sr Jeane said. “We shall continue to move with faith in God and the Spirit that guides the movement.”

SOURCE AND FULL STORY

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