In Indian Society, parents are happy when their girl child is married at the right age. This prejudices is much more strong in rural communities. This has been misused by rich spinning mill owners to employ and exploit the young Dalit girls in the name of marriage scheme called ‘Sumangali Thittam’. The girls at the age of below 14 to 18 years are eligible to work under this attractive scheme. The employer guarantee a lump sum of Rs. 30000/- when they complete a job contract with them for a period of three years. Most parents are attracted to send their young girls thinking that their girls will get a very good working environment as well as the money guaranteed, in order to use that money to get their daughters married. But it is not the case in most of girl’s lives that chose to work in the so called spinning mills.
As per our comprehensive study, we have found out that
None of the girls who were not able to complete the full contract were paid any compensation for the work done by them
We have been front runners in the fight against the Sumangali Scheme. We have been campaigning against the Sumangali Scheme by mobilizing media support and conducting community engagements to reveal the truth behind this scheme. We conduct street plays and visit several local schools to talk to both elders and young girls about the atrocities under the Sumangali Scheme. We approach factories and companies involved in Sumangali scheme and educate them about the hazards of Child Labour. We often take the support of the Labour Department to help rescue children form such workplaces. We help a State level consultation to present findings of the study and provide recommendations for change.
READ experience with Factory engagement for Textile industries workers
In the recent years, few Employers volunteered themselves to initiate change process in their factories in association with civil society stakeholders. Though very few employers have come forward, it is envisaged that the impact of such joint action will pave way for other employers to replicate the strategy in their units. It is also expected that such a collective recovery mechanism with the support of NGOs coalition and the anticipated results will set a model in the industry. Assurance of cooperation by Employers in promoting labour standards will lead to achieving a socially responsible business which will be welcomed wholeheartedly by international brands and media as well.