A trade union registered in 1972, the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) is an organization of women workers. Most of these women are employed in the unorganized workforce, where they are either self-em¬ployed or are earning wages without formal employment contracts and ineligible for any social benefits. These women workers are part of the unprotected labour force of India and in most of the cases, their work and their identity both remain uncounted or undercounted and invisible. Although the employment and status of women in India has been changing significantly due to the forces of modernization and indus¬trialization, and due to the efforts of the women’s movement in India, the changes are still very slow.
SEWA is a word from the Hindi language that refers to helping. The key role of SEWA is to assist these women workers to have organized employment so that they can have income & social security that includes proper healthcare, childcare, food and shelter. SEWA’s objective is to help these women to become self-reliant not only economically but to improve their decision-making abilities also.
SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre
In response to the demand for creating sustainable livelihood strategies for the women producers, The SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre (STFC) was established in May 2003. The STFC was formed by more than 15,000 rural artisans SEWA members’ in the textiles and handicrafts sector.
For fulfilling the vision of SEWA, STFC has transformed the craft activities of the artisans into a fully organized commercial enterprise by coordinating designs, production, and marketing of their products. They are providing these artisans the knowledge and access they require to enter in their potential market. They are giving them tools to create strong relationships with their buyers and are giving them direction to reach the mainstream national and global market.
With the inception of STFC, the integrated supply chain mechanism was created and the production of the handicrafts made by these artisans became organized and profitable. Currently STFC has 3,500 artisan shareholders in 80 villages across 3 Districts in the state of Gujarat, India.
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