The John Lewis Foundation has recently formed a collaboration with ActionAid to support women garment workers aged between the ages of 16 and 45 who have migrated from rural areas to work in factories, only to face exploitation and abuse. Working in Delhi and Chennai, cities that house a large percentage of the garment manufacturing industry, ActionAid UK will increase workers’ knowledge of their rights and of the laws that exist to protect them, empower them to demand fair wages and better working conditions from factory owners and work with local authorities to make sure that labour laws are enforced.
This project will directly impact 2,000 female garment workers in Delhi and Chennai giving them the tools and knowledge they need to demand fair wages and decent working conditions. This will include training for 200 garment workers on employment laws so that they can act as worker representatives and discuss legal requirements with government and factory officials. ActionAid UK will also educate 500 adolescent girls who are at risk of exploitation on the dangers they face and the rights that they have, and train 50 girls from the sumangali scheme to become peer educators so that they can help to protect other girls from joining the programme. The majority of the garment workers involved in this project will be young, poor and largely illiterate rural female migrants who financially support their families with their income. Therefore, including the families who would also benefit from an increase in wages, the project has the potential to indirectly benefit 10,000 people.