How we are empowering women all over India

While the winds of change in terms of women empowerment are blowing strong in urban areas of India, Haqdarshak is making efforts to extend the same to rural areas. By training women as Haqdarshaks we are trying to help them become financially independent. By becoming our hands and eyes on the ground they can make an extra earning of anywhere between Rs.2500 to Rs.4000 per month. Training them to become a Haqdarshak not only enables them to support their family financially, it also make them digitally literate as they use our mobile app to help citizens discover and apply for schemes. Until now, we have trained more than 3500 such women across 8 states in India, and are adding more every day.

Apart from the financial benefits, we have seen a huge change in the perception of these women by the communities they work in. Many of them have told us that they are now community champions, and people come to them knowing they will help them and they can be trusted. In many villages, these women, who in the past wouldn’t have interacted with those outside their families, now take on government officials and authorities. In Chandrapur for instance, our Haqdarshak cycles her way to district offices which are often hours away from where these women live. Such determination and integrity has empowered these women to become entrepreneurs and prove their mettle.

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Working with government authorities for maximum impact

Advocacy is as important as impact. In fact the former is needed to ensure the latter. Watch the video to know how Haqdarshak engages in advocacy and how government departments are benefitted. This is an example of how we are trying to work in synergy with the government in order to create a better impact on a larger scale. When our efforts are recognised and supported by such enterprising officers, we are motivated to collaborate further and work on best possible ways to serve our citizens.

Haqdarshak is helping thousands of construction workers access basic entitlements

Construction labourers in India are one of the most deprived and underprivileged. Coming from extremely rural parts of the country to cities and towns, these labourers often have no idea about basic entitlements. Haqdarshak is working with thousands of such labourers to create awareness about their rights and to help them avail benefits of schemes designed for them. We operate directly at the construction sites and help these labourers apply for documents like PAN cards, construction labour cards and schemes like pensions and insurance.

One of the most important documents among these is the construction labour card, issued by the labour welfare board. The possession of this card makes construction labourers eligible for around 15-20 schemes, specifically designed for them that cover everything from health to education. The mere unawareness about these cards results into massive amounts of funds kept for labour welfare untapped. We have already worked with over 2,000 construction labourers and are targeting to reach 4,000 more by the end of this year.

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A construction labour card beneficiary speaks

One of our primary pursuits in letting citizens know about their rights, is helping them acquire those. For construction labourers who put their blood, sweat and tears in each day’s work being able to get financial assistance for their children’s education is truly a boon. Even though there are schemes on the government’s end to help this under privileged class, very few are aware of them. Watch the video to know how we helped a construction labourer in Nanded, Maharashtra get a labour card.

The first step to advocacy

At Haqdarshak, we strongly believing in advocating for the rights of citizens. In the process, we have brought about clarity and information transparency with the effective use of the Right to Information Act and by reaching out to concerned authorities. A small win for us was when our intervention led to the Maharashtra state information commissioner issuing an order to all departments to main data accuracy about schemes on their websites. Haqdarshak’s co-founder and chief program and implementation officer Asha Krishnan, explains:

“In order to build an effective database of schemes, all reliable details regarding a scheme need to be obtained. This is not the case for many state department schemes. In Maharashtra, it was found that there are schemes for which details are available, but the implementation is not complete; there were others for which the detailed application process was missing. In most cases, application form details were not known. Initially we filed some Right to Information (RTI) requests to get specific details about a scheme. However, we felt that there needs to be a more strategic manner to find a comprehensive solution to this issue.

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The power of women

It’s a well know fact that women in India are underemployed and unfortunately do not have access to opportunities—especially in rural areas—even if they are willing to work, largely because of social constraints and household responsibilities. But stories like this one, where our Haqdarshak from Banswara, Rajasthan, Ganga Devi, is narrating how she can now support her family gives us immense hope and strengthens the belief that women power is unmatched! Watch the video to know how Ganga was able to help her fellow villagers apply for schemes and get benefits.