Behind the Label with Yashoda: Tracing the Journey of Munnade

In this episode of Behind the Label, Yashoda from Munnade talks about the work being done by the organisation. Munnade was registered in 2011 and was started by women who had experience of working in garment factories. The initial team registered the organisation but struggled to find a space for the office. To make ends meet, the members arranged for the money through a gold for loan scheme. The paucity of funds in the initial days was acute, so the board members would pool in money from their own pockets to keep the work going.  

Munnade has been consistently focused on welfare work related to garment workers, procuring pension payments for widows and senior citizens in the workers’ families, arranging for scholarships for the children of garment workers, and more.

In 2014, Munnade changed the composition of its board and brought in members working in varied fields and concerns. Today, they also help women who face harassment from their families. “We help empower women in different ways – by providing training, guidance, and awareness. This is not only for the women from the garment industry but also for their children. We help them access life-skills training, support for their education, participation in quiz competitions, and exploratory visits.” The team helps pay the fees of children who cannot afford to do so, and facilitate training sessions and workshops on various subjects as requested by school authorities. “These children should not feel any guilt about not being able to afford to study like others. We have also come up with a study about the socio-economic conditions of garment workers’ children from the age of 6 years to 21 years,” Yashoda says.  

She also talks about working with other unions on cases related to harassment, and about violence against women in garment factories. Currently, the team handles a large bulk of violence and harassment cases, and guides on other cases relating to ESI and PF payments. “We have initiated 25 SHGs of garment workers, which are all running successfully. In coordination with Samvada, we have initiated a crèche for garment workers’ children. They provide them with nutritious food and help with their homework. It is open from 8 am to 8 pm.” 

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