Personality of Ela Bhatt

Published: 2021-09-06 14:05:16
essay essay

Category: Marriage, Employment

Type of paper: Essay

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Hey! We can write a custom essay for you.

All possible types of assignments. Written by academics

GET MY ESSAY
Ela Bhatt : Hilary Clinton’s heroine - WASHINGTON: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has hailed India's eminent social activist Ela Bhatt as one of her "heroines" for her pioneering work in empowering women. "I have a lot of heroes and heroines around the world," Clinton said on Thursday, adding that one of them is Ela Bhatt, who started an organization called the Self-Employed Women's Association (Sewa) in India many years ago. She was a very well educated woman who had the options available to those in her class with her intellectual ability, but she chose to devote her life to organizing the poorest of the poor, women who worked in fields, who sold vegetables, who were domestics, who struggled to eke out a living for themselves and their families, women who were considered the last to eat, the least important," Clinton said while speaking very highly of Bhatt. (Source:http://articles. timesofindia. indiatimes. om/2012-06-23/us/32381949_1_ela-bhatt-heroines-hillary-clinton ) Ela Bhatt is founder of SEWA, India’s largest labor union which represents 1. 2 million women in the informal sector from women stitching embroidery and making food products to day-laborers, artisans, waste collectors, street vendors and small farmers. She has received numerous international awards for her work and is a member of The Elders, a group of eminent global leaders who were brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007. The Gandhian Movement ; Penning of the book on the Gandhi movement The grand history of Khadia was retraced when Ela Bhatt, founder of Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), released the book `Mahatma ki chaon mein' or 'Under the shadow of Mahatma' penned by her maternal grandfather late Dr Manidhar Shankarlal Vyas who was a freedom fighter and a revolutionary who had participated in the Dandi March. ------------------------------------------------- A founding member of Women's World Banking, Ela Bhatt is also the founder of the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), one of the most successful organizations for the economic empowerment of women in India.
She also founded SEWA Cooperative Bank in 1974. In 1989, she was the first woman appointed to the Planning Commission in India. Prior to this, she was a member of the Indian Parliament. Mrs. Bhatt's many awards include the Right Livelihood Award and the Ramon Magsasay Award and she was named to the Elders Project by Nelson Mandela in 2007. She has served on the WWB Board of Trustees since 1980, and was Chair from 1988 to 1998. Ela Bhatt "I realized that although eighty percent of women in India are economically active, they are outside the purview of legislation. " Ela's Story
Born in 1933 to a middle class, well-educated family, Ela Bhatt has spent her life fighting for the rights and welfare of India's 'invisible' workers. Her grandparents worked with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-violent struggle for Indian Independence from the British. Deeply influenced by Gandhi, Ela has followed his ideals all her life. She has pioneered the idea that people themselves, no matter how poor or uneducated, are able to solve their own problems if they organize together to do so. To help provide this, she founded SEWA, the Self-Employed Women's Association.



Called "one of the best - -if not the best - - grassroots programmes for women on the planet," SEWA proved so successful that it has become a model for micro-finance programs in other parts of the world. Ela started as a lawyer with the Textile Labour Association (TLA) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, a union founded by Gandhi, who had deep respect for India's textile producers. Working in the women's division, Ela soon found that women were doing many of the labor-intensive tasks needed in textile production, as well as in other fields of work. However, as workers, they were invisible.
Out- raged, Ela said, "Personally, I don't think there can be any greater injustice to anybody in the world than to have one's work contribution negated… Who is the backbone of any economy in the country? It's the poor! Yet they are not recorded as workers in the national census. They are described as non-workers! " Home-based workers are the least visible of all. In the textile industry, contractors give the women cloth pieces which are already cut out to form parts of a garment. The women sew the garments together at home and return them to the contractor. The women have to work fast and for long hours, because they are paid by the piece.
Often, young daughters help with the sewing after school. The contractor would pay whatever he wished, often an extremely low rate of 4-5 rupees per day. The women, because they were unorganized, had no way to demand higher rates. Other women workers in the informal sector also had very difficult working conditions and were often exploited. These women included vegetable sellers, rag pickers, bidi rollers (a hand-rolled cigarette), incense makers, cleaners, laborers, cart pullers, and silk and cotton workers. "I realized that although eighty percent of women in India are economically active, they are outside the purview of legislation. Ela recognized that these women needed the help that they could get only through organizing together as a large group. To meet that need, she founded SEWA in 1972 to organize for better pay and working conditions. SEWA, which today has 250,000 members, helped workers at the lowest level of society become empowered to take control of their lives. It soon became apparent that women workers had a serious problem with money and banking. Even though many of the women worked twelve hours a day or more, they made little money, had no savings, and never had enough capital to improve their conditions.
For example, a home- based textile assembler might have to pay high rent on the sewing machine she used. She never had enough money at one time to buy the machine. Even if a woman was able to get a little money together, the money often was not safe at home, where men felt entitled to whatever was in the house. If a women wanted to borrow money to further her business (for example, to buy extra vegetables to sell in the market), she would have to borrow from money lenders at outlandish rates, sometimes 50% per day.
Since women's wealth was often in the form of jewelry, they also got funds through pawning. Because they were largely illiterate, these women were unable to sign their names at a bank and were unfamiliar with banking routines. A male relative would have to sign for them, gaining access to the money. In addition, bankers, who had never dealt with illiterate low-income women, treated them badly. SEWA had a meeting to which 2000 women came and told of their difficulties with the banks. Finally, someone said, "Let's start our own bank! " Others agreed, and the idea was underway.
SEWA Bank was registered in 1974 with 4,000 members. When money had to be raised to register the bank, the women, saying, "We are poor, but we are so many! " raised the needed RS. 100,000 within six months. Ela says that the idea that illiterate women cannot be decision-makers in finance is an untrue middle-class notion. A major problem was that the women could not sign their names. How could they be identified at SEWA Bank? SEWA found a way that was so successful it is now used in banks throughout India. Each woman was photographed holding a slate with her bank account number on it.
One copy of the photo was in her bank passbook, while another copy was kept at the bank. This definite identification meant that women could now have money in their own names: men were no longer part of the process. When a woman joins SEWA Bank, the first step is saving. The woman must save an amount every week, no matter how small. Even if she makes only RS. 4, she is encouraged to save half a rupee. SEWA even provides a locked piggy bank for the purpose, and representatives from sewa come to the woman's home to take the savings to the bank.
After acquiring the habit of saving, a woman will be allowed to take out a loan. Designed to meet the needs of low-income women, the loans are small with a long payback period, up to 36 months. Ela pioneered the concept of micro-lending, the idea that very small amounts, as small as $5, may be all that is needed to make a difference. Women used the loans for practical purposes: buying equipment they had formerly rented, expanding a business, installing indoor plumbing, and paying for children's education. Over 95% of the loans are repaid on time, a much higher repayment rate than for other banks.
SEWA Bank also educates and assists the women through other services, such as day care, maternity protection, and job training. SEWA Bank, which now has over us $3 million in assets, has been so successful that there are now branches in other parts of India, and men have even asked to be included. It is important to realize that all this has been accomplished without any outside financial help whatsoever. The women did it themselves. Most important, the SEWA Bank model, through its concepts of micro-finance, has been used to empower poor women throughout the world.
Towards this end, Ela joined with nine other women at the first UN World Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975; these women shared the belief that the world's financial institutions must become accessible to low-income women. Incorporated in 1979, Women's World Banking now has 43 affiliates in 35 countries. Ela Bhatt has served as its chair since 1985. The far-reaching effects of Ela Bhatt's work have been recognized internationally through many awards, including the Right Livelihood Award (the alternate Nobel Prize) for 'Changing the Human Environment' in Stockholm in 1984. Formal Economy
In India today, only about 11% of workers hold regular jobs with formal employer- employee relationships. These jobs are documented and the workers are protected by whatever laws are available. Informal Economy Nearly 89% of India's workers are undocumented. Their work in the informal sector is usually not covered by legal protection that may be available to workers in formal sector jobs. They work either on their own, or as piece workers with a contractor or middleman, in relationships that depend on verbal agreement. Home-based Work Part of the informal economy, this work is done at home, usually by women.
She gets raw materials from a contractor or middleman, assembles the finished product, and brings it to the middleman for payment. Often at the mercy of the contractor, she must accept whatever pay he is willing to give. This type of worker is the most invisible in the economy. Macro-Finance Works with the large amounts of money used by banks, governments, stock markets, corporations, and other large institutions. Micro-Finance Micro-finance works with the very small amounts of money actually used by low-income people. It is often the most appropriate way to implement social programs at the grassroots level.
Things to Do and Discuss 1 Imagine that you are a poor woman working in Gujarat, India. Construct a family, home, and job for yourself. You may want to consult a book or encyclopedia to get more information. What problems do you think you would have? How would you use a loan from SEWA Bank to improve the lives of yourself and your family? 2 How is women's work considered in your own country? In what ways is it similar or different from the situation in India? Do you think that changes such as SEWA provides would be useful in your country? ------------------------------------------------- Ela R Bhatt ------------------------------------------------ Extremely gentle and soft-spoken, yet firm and determined and widely recognized as pioneer in pushing for entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development leading to women empowerment - this is the practicing Gandhian economics and septuagenarian, Ela R Bhatt, popularly known as Elaben by members of Self Employed Women's Association or SEWA, which she founded in 1972. She helped the self-employed women to organize themselves. Its members include vegetable vendors, fisherwomen, bidi-rollers, weavers, and saltpan workers who were exploited for generations by middlemen.
SEWA empowered them to explore direct market linkages, removing middlemen from the chain. Next it propagated the concept of self-reliance by producing and marketing to other villages leading to self-sustained village economy. It has formed 102 cooperatives including milk and grain and a Rural Distribution Network called RUDI to help women link with other villages in a 100-km radius. Next came a cooperative bank called SEWA Bank in 1974 to help these women have access to banking services which otherwise were not available.
Like a banyan tree the SEWA today has spread to countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. ------------------------------------------------- Ela R Bhatt ------------------------------------------------- Extremely gentle and soft-spoken, yet firm and determined and widely recognized as pioneer in pushing for entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development leading to women empowerment - this is the practicing Gandhian economics and septuagenarian, Ela R Bhatt, popularly known as Elaben by members of Self Employed Women's Association or SEWA, which she founded in 1972.
She helped the self-employed women to organize themselves. Its members include vegetable vendors, fisherwomen, bidi-rollers, weavers, and saltpan workers who were exploited for generations by middlemen. ------------------------------------------------- SEWA empowered them to explore direct market linkages, removing middlemen from the chain. Next it propagated the concept of self-reliance by producing and marketing to other villages leading to self-sustained village economy.
It has formed 102 cooperatives including milk and grain and a Rural Distribution Network called RUDI to help women link with other villages in a 100-km radius. Next came a cooperative bank called SEWA Bank in 1974 to help these women have access to banking services which otherwise were not available. Like a banyan tree the SEWA today has spread to countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. ------------------------------------------------- Ela Bhatt Of SEWA Awarded Indira Gandhi Prize For Promoting Peace :
New Delhi, 18 Feb (Tehelka Bureau): Ela Bhatt is a name which has seen the transformation of close to 17 lakh people in the last four decades. As one of the founders of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), she has promoted the cause of women relentlessly allowing millions of them to become independent and self reliant. The impact of her work has been recognized consistently and it was lauded once again on Monday when she was honored by the President of India with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
This makes Bhatt only the third Indian in the history of the award to receive the prize constituted in the memory of the late Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. The other Indian recipients are former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and father of green revolution MS Swaminathan. Bhatt used the opportunity to re-examine the idea of peace and interpreted it as an instrument which disarms and renders war useless. Equating poverty with day-to-day violence, she found it to be no less destructive than war and said that its removal is essential for building peace.
Stressing on the need to address the “realities of our own countries rather than catching up with the western economic models”, Bhatt urged the people to follow a principle which ensures six basic necessities- food, shelter, clothing, primary education, primary healthcare and primary banking- are available within a 100 mile distance. “If these necessities are locally produced and consumed, we will have the growth of a new holistic economy,” she said. ------------------------------------------------- The President praised her by calling the prize a “tribute to her unflinching zeal towards the betterment of women in society”
New Delhi, 18 Feb (Tehelka Bureau): Ela Bhatt is a name which has seen the transformation of close to 17 lakh people in the last four decades. As one of the founders of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), she has promoted the cause of women relentlessly allowing millions of them to become independent and self reliant. The impact of her work has been recognized consistently and it was lauded once again on Monday when she was honored by the President of India with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
This makes Bhatt only the third Indian in the history of the award to receive the prize constituted in the memory of the late Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. The other Indian recipients are former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and father of green revolution MS Swaminathan. Bhatt used the opportunity to re-examine the idea of peace and interpreted it as an instrument which disarms and renders war useless. Equating poverty with day-to-day violence, she found it to be no less destructive than war and said that its removal is essential for building peace.
Stressing on the need to address the “realities of our own countries rather than catching up with the western economic models”, Bhatt urged the people to follow a principle which ensures six basic necessities- food, shelter, clothing, primary education, primary healthcare and primary banking- are available within a 100 mile distance. “If these necessities are locally produced and consumed, we will have the growth of a new holistic economy,” she said  ------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------
Dr. Ela Bhatt, recipient of the University of Chicago's 2007 William Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service, presented a public lecture on Novermber 27th in the Weymouth Kirkland Courtroom. Ela R. Bhatt is widely recognized as one of the world’s most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. Known as the “gentle revolutionary” she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of India’s poorest and most oppressed women workers, with Gandhian thinking as her source of guidance.
In 1972, Dr. Bhatt founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) – a trade union which now has more than 1,000,000 members. Founder Chair of the Cooperative Bank of SEWA, she is also founder and chair of Sa-Dhan (the All India Association of Micro Finance Institutions in India) and founder-chair of the Indian School of Micro-finance for Women. Dr. Bhatt was a Member of the Indian Parliament from 1986 to 1989, and subsequently a Member of the Indian Planning Commission.
She founded and served as chair for Women’s World Banking, the International Alliance of Home-based Workers (HomeNet), and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing, Organizing (WIEGO). She also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation for a decade. Dr. Bhatt has received several awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Right Livelihood Award, the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award, and the Legion d’honneur from France. She has also received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, the University of Natal and other academic institutions.
In 2007, Dr. Bhatt was named a member of The Elders, an international group of leaders whose goals include catalyzing peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts, articulating new approaches to global issues that are causing or may cause immense human suffering, and sharing wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world. The Benton Medal The William Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service is given to individuals who have rendered distinguished public service in the field of education. This field includes “not only teachers but also . . . veryone who contributes in a systematic way to shaping minds and disseminating knowledge. ” Previous Benton Medal recipients include John Callaway, Katharine Graham, and Senator Paul Simon. ------------------------------------------------- Source: http://www. law. uchicago. edu/node/1502 ------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------- The President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 18 February 2013 conferred 2011 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development Award to Ela Ramesh Bhatt, a renowned Women social worker.
The award was given away at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Ela Bhatt was given away the award for life time achievements in women empowerment, promotion of grassroot level entrepreneurship as well as contribution towards promotion of equitable development and peace. Ela Bhatt has her organisation SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association). President Pranab Mukherjee while giving away the award announced that SEWA was a vehicle of self employment and self reliance for the Indian women, while at the same time being synonymous with the rural inclusiveness. Ela Bhatt • Ela Bhatt is the founder of more than 1 million SEWAs in India. Since years, Ela Bhatt has been working for women empowerment and bringing women out of poverty through promotion of Self Help Groups. • SEWA has empowered women with freedom as well as financial self- reliance (Source: http://www. jagranjosh. com/current-affairs/ela-bhatt-conferred-2011-indira-gandhi-prize-for-peace-disarmament-and-development-award-1361254391-1) ------------------------------------- It honours the hard work of the poor: Ela Bhatt Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013, 16:44 IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA Says Ela Bhatt on receiving Indira Gandhi peace prize.
Noted social worker Ela Ramesh Bhatt was on Monday conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development by President Pranab Mukherjee. After receiving the award, Elaben (80), founder of Self-Employed Women's Association (Sewa), said the prize is recognition of hard work by the all poor working women and their leadership worldwide, who hold peace, disarm violence and reduce poverty with their honest work. She said that award has given her the opportunity to explore what constitutes the peace. “I have often stated that poverty is violence.
This violence is by consensus of society that lets other human beings go without roti, kapada and makan. Poverty is not god given. It is a moral collapse of our society. Garibi hatao to me also meant, indeed, shanti banao. Garibi Hatao is a peace song,” said founder of Sewa which has 17 lakh members now. She said that when Mahatma Gandhi talked about Swaraj, he talked about economic decentralisation. She urged people to ensure that six basic needs are met from resources within 100 miles. ------------------------------------------------- “I call it the 100-mile principle.
If food, shelter, clothing, primary education, primary healthcare and primary banking are locally produced and consumed, we will have the growth of a new holistic economy that the world will take note of,” she said. She insisted that catching up with the western economic models will turn us into incompetent followers, not leaders. ------------------------------------------------- (Source: http://www. dnaindia. com/ahmedabad/1801728/report-it-honours-the-hard-work-of-the-poor-ela-bhatt ------------------------------------------------- Ela Bhatt conferred prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize
Feb 18, 2013 Ela Bhatt, a well-known social worker, was honored for her life time achievements in empowering women and promoting grass root level entrepreneurship. Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), was presented with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2011 by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony today. Ela Bhatt was honoured for her life time achievements in empowering women, promoting grassroot level entrepreneurship and for her contribution towards promoting equitable development and peace.
Ela Bhatt is known globally for her work over decades (though officially only since 1972) that has created SEWA with a membership in excess of 1. 3 million. She also founded the SEWA Cooperative Bank in 1974, which has an outreach of 3 million women --  simple figures that speak volumes of her dedicated efforts and leadership to successfully bring women out of poverty into a life of self-confidence and esteem. Speaking on the ocassion President Pranab Mukherjee said Ela Bhat's orgainisation SEVA has today become synonymous with rural inclusiveness and a vehicle of self employment and self reliance for women.
The President praised her work for bringing women out of poverty and empowering them with the freedom to choose and attaining financial self-reliance through the promotion of Self Help. Congratulating her, the President said her life and work is reflective of the philosophy and ideals espoused by India's former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in whose memory the prize was instituted. The President said Ms Bhatt’s example would spur many more initiatives in our country and elsewhere, aimed at renewal of society and all-round development of people. If women are under represented in the productive efforts of our economy, it is not only injudicious but also detrimental to the cause of social progress," the president. "Due to the untiring efforts of Ms. Bhatt, SEWA has become an effective vehicle for promotion of self employment and self reliance amongst women. To realize these goals, the organization has been providing support services in the areas of savings and credit, health care, child care, legal aid, insurance, capacity building and communication. It has become a multi-dimensional entity - a labour collective, a co-operative and a women’s movement. ------------------------------------------------- Speaking on the occassion, India's Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh said, "By saying that poverty is the moral failure of a society, Ela-ben throws down the gauntlet to society at large. Her own attempt to attack poverty by organizing poor women and helping them empower themselves economically is at once aimed at the twin evils of poverty and gender discrimination. " Ela Bhatt : The ‘gentle revolutionary’; a pioneer in women’s empowerment and grassroots development, founder of the more than 1 million-strong Self-Employed Women’s Association in India.
There are risks in every action. Every success has the seed of some failure. But it doesn't matter. It is how you go about it. That is the real challenge. " Ela Bhatt has been a member of The Elders since the group was founded in 2007. Profoundly influenced by Gandhian thinking, she advocates local, grassroots solutions for those who are poor, oppressed or suffering the effects of violent conflict. She joined her fellow Elders to encourage peaceful Palestinian protest and self-reliance during The Elders’ two delegations to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
One of India’s foremost women’s rights activists, Ela Bhatt welcomed the Elders to India in February 2012, where the group lent their support to young people in the state of Bihar campaigning to end child marriage in their own communities. One of India’s foremost women’s rights activists, Ela Bhatt welcomed the Elders to India in February 2012, where the group lent their support to young people in the state of Bihar campaigning to end child marriage in their own communities. “We are poor, but so many”
Ela Bhatt is one of the world’s most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. Known as the ‘gentle revolutionary’, she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of India’s poorest and most oppressed women workers. In 1972 she founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a trade union for women workers in India’s huge informal sector, who make up 94 per cent of the female labour force and yet have never enjoyed the same rights and security as those in formal employment.
Today SEWA has more than 1. 2 million members across nine Indian states. “We may be poor, but we are so many. Why don’t we start a bank of our own? Our own women’s bank, where we are treated with the respect and service that we deserve. ” – Chandaben, SEWA member The following year, Ela Bhatt founded the Cooperative Bank of SEWA. The bank helps women to gain financial independence and raise their standing in their families and communities - and puts into practice the Gandhian principles of self-reliance and collective action.
Empowering women workers Among the organisations Ela Bhatt has created and inspired, she founded and chairs: * Sa-Dhan (the All India Association of Micro Finance Institutions in India) * The Indian School of Micro-finance for Women * Women’s World Banking * The International Alliance of Home-based Workers (HomeNet) * Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing, Organizing (WIEGO)| She has also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation for more than ten years.
In recognition of her work to improve the status of women and the working poor in India and elsewhere, Ela Bhatt was awarded the first-ever Global Fairness Initiative Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Right Livelihood Award, the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award, and the Legion d’honneur from France. She has also received honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale and the University of Natal. ------------------------------------------------- Women, work and peace Ela Bhatt, 18 February 2013 “Poverty is day-to-day violence, no less destructive than war. Receiving the 2011 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, Ela Bhatt re-examines our idea of peace, arguing that equity, local economies and the empowerment of women through work are central to supporting economic freedoms, and therefore peace. Honorable President of India, Honorable Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, Honorable Prime Minister of India, and distinguished dignitaries and friends: Thank you for this singular honor. I humbly accept the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on behalf of the self-employed women of SEWA. This year, SEWA is 40 years old; I turn 80.
We are a sisterhood of 17 lakh [1. 7 million]. Our journey is long and perhaps endless. This prize has given honor to all working poor women and their leadership worldwide, who hold peace, disarm violence and reduce poverty with their honest work. And therefore, it gives me deep contentment to be here today. I still hope someday they will hold a central place in our economy. This peace prize gives us an opportunity to re-examine our ideas of what constitutes peace. Certainly, absence of war is not peace. Peace is what keeps war away, but it is more than that; peace disarms and renders war useless.
Peace is a condition enjoyed by a fair and fertile society. Peace is about restoring balance in society; only then is it lasting peace. In my view, restoration and reconstruction of a society are essential and key components of the peace process worldwide. If we look carefully at our world, we find that where there is unfair distribution of resources, there is unrest. When people cannot enjoy the fruits of their labors fairly, when they are forced off their land and homestead and forest, we have the basis of an unjust society. Where there is violence and conflict, we invariably find poverty.
And where there is poverty, we find anger and acute struggles for justice and equity. And we see governments resorting to repression for ensuring ‘law and order’. I have often stated that poverty is violence. This violence is by consensus of society that lets other human beings go without roti and kapada and makan. Poverty is not God-given. It is a moral collapse of our society. Poverty strips a person of his or her humanity and takes away freedom. Poverty is day-to-day violence, no less destructive than war. Poverty is lack of peace and freedom. In fact, removing poverty is essentially building peace.
I know I am not saying anything new. Garibi Hatao to me also meant indeed Shanti Banao. Garibi Hatao is a peace song. In India, we are proud of our multicultural society. Bahudha is at the heart of what makes us who we are: social diversity, political diversity, religious diversity, biological diversity. But in our rush to modernise let us not forget one of our greatest assets: our economic diversity. In our markets, we have the street vendor, the cart seller, the kiosk owner, the shop owner, and the supermarket owner, all plying their trades at the same time.
Let them cater to different strata of society, co-existing and competing in a natural, organic way. Let our planning include ample room for the millions of small entrepreneurs and self-employed, who cater to the widest strata of society, to flourish and grow. They are the agents of an economic development that reaches the grassroots; they weave the living web of social and economic relationships that will bind our nations together. Gandhiji talked about swaraj; he talked about economic decentralization. I would urge us to ensure that six basic primary needs are met from resources within 100 miles around us. I call it the "100 mile principle".
If food, shelter, clothing, primary education, primary healthcare and primary banking are locally produced and consumed, we will have the growth of a new holistic economy, which the world will sit up and take note of. And it is possible in and around India – in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan – women have done it. Catching up with western economic models will turn us into incompetent followers, not leaders. But if we address the realities of our own countries, we can create a development that makes us leaders of our destiny. Let me make clear, however, that the 100 mile principle is not a recipe for isolation.
I am not asking at all that we go back but move forward with heightened awareness about how and where we spend our money and what our work is doing to us and those around us. In fact, technologies can help to share knowledge and ideas across countries. However, we do need to get away from a world where people grow what they do not eat, and eat what they do not grow; where they have lost control over their basic production and daily consumption; where they have become part of a system whose outcomes are determined by people far away, in a manner not in their interest and outside their control.
This awareness is already growing among the younger generation the world over. In India, we have a running start because our local economies are still alive. Let us give them the respect they deserve by investing in people who survive despite our neglect. And where do we start? I have faith in women. Women have shown, if we care to observe, that disarmament in the end is not a treaty by two nations to render arms useless, though such treaties are much-needed in this world. In my experience, as I have seen within India and in other countries, women are the key to rebuilding a community. Why?
Focus on women and you will find an ally who wants a stable community. She wants roots for her family. You get a worker, a provider, a caretaker, an educator, a networker, a forger of bonds. I consider thousands of poor working women’s participation and representation an integral part of the peace and development process. Women bring constructive, creative and sustainable solutions to the table. Also, in my experience, productive work is the thread that weaves a society together. When you have work, you have an incentive to maintain a stable society. You cannot only see the future, but you can plan for the future.
You can build assets and invest in the next generation. Life is no longer just about survival. Work builds peace because work gives people roots, as well as allowing them to flower; it builds communities and it gives meaning and dignity to one’s life. Work restores man’s relationships with himself, with fellow human beings, with the earth and the environment, and with the great spirit that created us all. Being one of The Elders, I listen to Nelson Mandela, dear Madiba, telling us frequently that “money won’t create success, but the freedom to make it, will. True, in Gaza, the men and women said to me, "Without work we can neither forgive nor forget, because what have we to look forward to? " In a Sudanese camp, I heard refugees crying for work, not charity. After the earthquake in Kutch, when I visited the area, everywhere I went the women, who had lost everything, said to me, "Ben, have you brought work? " By work, I do not mean sweatshops and cheap labour in factories that leave a person a slave to yet another kind of exploitation.
Treating land and forests and people and even work as a commodity cannot build a fuller human being, nor a holistic society. Such work strips them of the multifunctional, multicultural character of work that fosters a dynamic and organic growth in society. A woman who tends a small plot of land, grows vegetables, weaves cloth, and provides for the family and the market, while caring for the financial, social, educational and emotional needs of her family is multifunctional worker and the builder of a stable society.
One who labours long hours at a factory where he has no control of his work or his skills, contributes one product to society whose work is ‘measured’ and therefore given greater credence by us, while her work is unaccounted and ignored. It is the GDP at the household level that matters. The use of word ‘domestic’ in GDP should not be overlooked. Peace and development cannot be measured in numbers. I do hope that one day peace and development will shine on the face of our land and the people, and the world will enjoy the wisdom of my India.
Thank you very much. Ela Bhatt delivered this speech upon accepting the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, on 18 February 2013 in New Delhi. ------------------------------------------------- Source: http://theelders. org/article/welcoming-my-fellow-elders-india Welcoming my fellow Elders to India “We hope to listen to girls affected by child marriage, their parents, their teachers and community leaders – and amplify their needs and concerns in our conversations with government, media and other influential people. Ela Bhatt is joined in India by her fellow Elders Desmond Tutu, Gro Brundtland and Mary Robinson at the start of a week-long visit focusing on the empowerment of girls and women. I am very happy to be welcoming my friends Desmond Tutu, Gro Brundtland and Mary Robinson to India. This is the first time the Elders have travelled here as a group, and I hope that by the end of our visit to Delhi and Bihar, we will have become even “wiser”. Our aim is to listen and learn, not lecture. I also hope this is the beginning of a continued relationship with the people and leaders of India.
As some of you may already know, the Elders work together as independent global leaders, supporting peace-building and human rights. These issues are closely related in my view. Peace, human rights and human development go hand in hand, and the Millennium Development Goals – the international benchmarks for progress on poverty, health, education and other issues - are a very important tool. I strongly believe that peace is not a political issue, it’s a human one, and will only be achieved when everyone has the freedom to grow at their own pace and to fulfill their potential.
In India, the focus of our visit is to support Indian girls in particular to realize their full potential by drawing attention to the practice of child marriage. In this way, we hope we will also contribute towards India’s own development as a peaceful partner in the global family of nations. In the developing world an estimated one in three girls is married before the age of 18. One in seven marries before 15. Around ten million girls a year are affected by child marriage and one third of them live in India. Child marriage is, however, a truly global practice.
It occurs across all major religions and regions, from West and East Africa to South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and communities in Europe and the United States. There are many reasons why child marriage happens, but we now recognize that marrying later, delaying pregnancy and continuing girls’ education, providing them adequate skills and financial literacy, are all important ways to support development and build a more peaceful world. As I mentioned, the Elders are not here to lecture or prescribe.
Nevertheless as home to a significant proportion of the world’s child brides, addressing this issue in India is very important on the global scale. What we hope to do is to listen to girls affected by child marriage, their parents, their teachers and community leaders – and amplify their needs and concerns in our conversations with government, media and other influential people. I am very sympathetic to the difficult decisions that families must make here in India. Even if they want their daughters to be educated, there are often no schools nearby, especially outside the big towns and cities.
Physical security is a real concern if girls have to travel long distances or stay in dormitories away from home. In India, family and community are also central to most people’s security – both physical and financial. Marriages are not just between individuals, but weave together families and communities in mutually supportive networks. This makes marriage complex and important to social cohesion. Like everywhere in India, we are seeing change. I have seen differences in age of marriage from my mother’s generation to my own, and my daughters’. But it is far too slow.
We hope that the Elders’ contribution will help to create an enabling environment where everyone works together – government, young people, media, NGOs, and businesses too – so that girls can become equal members of the family, not second class members, and can truly fulfil their potential. We look forward to sharing our thoughts along the way, and hope that you will join the conversation too. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Peace by practice: Mandela Day 2011 Ahead of Mandela Day 2011, Ela Bhatt asks how we can live up to Nelson
Mandela's example and discusses the power of "thinking local" to change our communities and create a better world. To me, Nelson Mandela is a supreme symbol of freedom’s struggle. Next week, on 18 July, he will celebrate his 93rd birthday, a daythat around the world people now recognise as ‘Mandela Day’. Let us take this opportunityto reflect on the life of a man we have come to know and respect as a great leader, one who sacrificed his own freedom for the freedom of his people. How best do we honour his achievements? What can we do to live up to Madiba’s example? Looking for a solution
It is often said that the problems facing our world are too overwhelming or intractable - that you find endless conflict, injustice and poverty. I agree that if you want to fixthe world’s problems, you have a mightytask. In my own country, India, the scale of the poverty we see is enough to break your heart. After decades of independence, freedom has still not come to everycitizen – discrimination has taken new forms, and the poorest of the poor live on the margins, the invisible engine of our so-called ‘Tiger economy’. When we see such suffering, it is natural to wish to solve everything at once.
We turn to our governments for a solution, and feel frustrated when theyfail to act. But I have never been one to argue that governments have all the answers. Change is up to us Our greatest source of strength is right under our noses; the families, work-places and communities that give us strong foundations, on which equal societies are built. Thinking local, we can turn power upside down. In my work with Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), I have seen some of the poorest, most vulnerable women transform their lives and the communities theylive in.
From being home-based workers, landless labourers or illiterate food vendors they have claimed their rights and have become the owners of their own resources, the beneficiaries of their own land. They meet resistance from the authorities at everystage but theystand firm, together, saying “We are poor, but so many! ” I believe strongly that to bring widespread change, we must first make that change ourselves. Another great teacher, Mahatma Gandhi, imagined this as ripples in water, small circles of change that grow ever wider.
Our actions have an impact we may never even see. Peace by practice Rather than find yourself immobilised bythe scale of the world’s problems, look around you. Even when a problem is right under your nose, it is easyto ignore it – we curse fate, blame tradition or say“it’s God’s will. ” But you will not have to search far before you find people who are hungry, lonely, downtrodden, persecuted – sometimes we just need a reason to reach out to them. When Nelson Mandela founded The Elders, he invoked the idea of ubuntu: that we are human onlythrough the humanity of others.
What he describes is more than charity, it is a certain outlook or way of life. Byserving others, we actuallyfulfil our own humanity – these actions are full of faith, a form of prayer. This Mandela Day – a dayfor personal, local action – let us spend our energies serving our own communities to honour the 67 years Nelson Mandela dedicated to fighting for a better world. (Source : ------------------------------------------------- Harvard varsity to honour Ela Bhatt (Source: http://articles. timesofindia. indiatimes. com/2011-03-14/ahmedabad/28687384_1_ela-bhatt-sewa-honour )
BOSTON: The prestigious Harvard University will honor Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), for her "life and work" that has had a "significant impact on society" . Bhatt (77), whose trade union has helped over a million women in India gain access to opportunities for themselves and their families, will be awarded the Radcliffe Institute Medal by Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She would be presented the medal, awarded annually to individuals who have substantially and positively influenced society, on Radcliffe Day on May 27.
Some of the illustrious past winners include Toni Morrison in 2007, Margaret Atwood in 2003, Billie Jean King in 2002 and Alice Walker in 1992. "The Radcliffe Institute is proud to honor her this year, in which gender in the developing world is one of its dominant themes," the Institute said. Recipient of several prestigious awards, Ela Bhatt founded SEWA in 1972. Conceived as a women's trade union, SEWA has grown into an NGO that offers micro-lending , health and life insurance and child care — all overseen by more than a hundred women-run cooperatives.
In January 2010, SEWA membership had reached 1. 2 million. Bhatt has been recognised for her long battle for social justice. In November last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had honoured Bhatt with the Global Fairness Initiative Award for helping move more than a million poor women in India to a position of dignity and independence. Radcliffe Day is the Institute's annual celebration of women, as well as the alumnae and fellows of Radcliffe College and the Radcliffe Institute.
It is traditionally held on the day after Harvard's commencement. The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is a scholarly community where individuals pursue advanced work across a wide range of academic disciplines, professions and creative arts. Within this broad purpose , the institute sustains a continuing commitment to the study of women, gender and the society. ------------------------------------------------- An exhibition on Ahmadabad’s forgotten heroine TNN Nov 17, 2012, 06. 44AM IST
AHMEDABAD: She was respected by lakhs of textile workers and the poor - Anasuya Sarabhai(1885-1972), fondly known as 'Motaben', holds a unique place in the history of the country. She is best remembered for joining hands with Mahatma Gandhi in leading the historic strike of mill workers in Ahmedabad, which eventually led to the founding of the country's first Textile Labour Association (TLA), in 1920. A 13-day exhibition, starting on Saturday is being held in the city, chronicling Motaben's life. It also marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of Sewa (Self-employed Women's Association) as well as the 127th birthday of Anasuya Sarabhai. Her reputation among mill workers, and the love and trust they showed in her leadership, were key to Gandhiji's eventual success," says Somanth Bhatt, who conjured up rare pictures of Anasuya for an exhibition at Shantisadan on Mirzapur Road in the walled city. "Anasuyaben's thoughts and spirit nurtured Gandhi's ideologies. This is the first time a labour organization is getting involved in an exhibition for a labour leader, Motaben," says founder of Sewa, Ela Bhatt, who first worked with Motaben in 1955. Shantisadan was where Ansuyaben lived and founded the labour movement. This is a rare oppurtunity to exhibit history in the place where it occured. The unique thing about this exhibition is that it is presented in a way that speaks about Anasuyaben in her own words and photographs," says Bhatt. She further adds, "Many would not know this but Motaben was the force behind the major labour laws of our country. In my opinion, Motaben and her contribution to the reedom struggle and labour movement should become part of school textbooks. " ------------------------------------------------- Ela Bhat Source : http://www. tolerance. org/activity/ela-bhat) "I realized that although eighty percent of women in India are economically active, they are outside the purview of legislation. " Ela's Story Born in 1933 to a middle class, well-educated family, Ela Bhatt has spent her life fighting for the rights and welfare of India's 'invisible' workers. Her grandparents worked with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-violent struggle for Indian Independence from the British. Deeply influenced by Gandhi, Ela has followed his ideals all her life.
She has pioneered the idea that people themselves, no matter how poor or uneducated, are able to solve their own problems if they organize together to do so. To help provide this, she founded SEWA, the Self-Employed Women's Association. Called "one of the best - -if not the best - - grassroots programmes for women on the planet," SEWA proved so successful that it has become a model for micro-finance programs in other parts of the world. Ela started as a lawyer with the Textile Labour Association (TLA) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, a union founded by Gandhi, who had deep respect for India's textile producers.
Working in the women's division, Ela soon found that women were doing many of the labor-intensive tasks needed in textile production, as well as in other fields of work. However, as workers, they were invisible. Out- raged, Ela said, "Personally, I don't think there can be any greater injustice to anybody in the world than to have one's work contribution negated… Who is the backbone of any economy in the country? It's the poor! Yet they are not recorded as workers in the national census. They are described as non-workers! Home-based workers are the least visible of all. In the textile industry, contractors give the women cloth pieces which are already cut out to form parts of a garment. The women sew the garments together at home and return them to the contractor. The women have to work fast and for long hours, because they are paid by the piece. Often, young daughters help with the sewing after school. The contractor would pay whatever he wished, often an extremely low rate of 4-5 rupees per day. The women, because they were unorganized, had no way to demand higher rates.
Other women workers in the informal sector also had very difficult working conditions and were often exploited. These women included vegetable sellers, rag pickers, bidi rollers (a hand-rolled cigarette), incense makers, cleaners, laborers, cart pullers, and silk and cotton workers. "I realized that although eighty percent of women in India are economically active, they are outside the purview of legislation. " Ela recognized that these women needed the help that they could get only through organizing together as a large group. To meet that need, she founded SEWA in 1972 to organize for better pay and working conditions.
SEWA, which today has 250,000 members, helped workers at the lowest level of society become empowered to take control of their lives. It soon became apparent that women workers had a serious problem with money and banking. Even though many of the women worked twelve hours a day or more, they made little money, had no savings, and never had enough capital to improve their conditions. For example, a home- based textile assembler might have to pay high rent on the sewing machine she used. She never had enough money at one time to buy the machine.
Even if a woman was able to get a little money together, the money often was not safe at home, where men felt entitled to whatever was in the house. If a women wanted to borrow money to further her business (for example, to buy extra vegetables to sell in the market), she would have to borrow from money lenders at outlandish rates, sometimes 50% per day. Since women's wealth was often in the form of jewelry, they also got funds through pawning. Because they were largely illiterate, these women were unable to sign their names at a bank and were unfamiliar with banking routines.
A male relative would have to sign for them, gaining access to the money. In addition, bankers, who had never dealt with illiterate low-income women, treated them badly. SEWA had a meeting to which 2000 women came and told of their difficulties with the banks. Finally, someone said, "Let's start our own bank! " Others agreed, and the idea was underway. SEWA Bank was registered in 1974 with 4,000 members. When money had to be raised to register the bank, the women, saying, "We are poor, but we are so many! " raised the needed RS. 100,000 within six months.
Ela says that the idea that illiterate women cannot be decision-makers in finance is an untrue middle-class notion. A major problem was that the women could not sign their names. How could they be identified at SEWA Bank? SEWA found a way that was so successful it is now used in banks throughout India. Each woman was photographed holding a slate with her bank account number on it. One copy of the photo was in her bank passbook, while another copy was kept at the bank. This definite identification meant that women could now have money in their own names: men were no longer part of the process.
When a woman joins SEWA Bank, the first step is saving. The woman must save an amount every week, no matter how small. Even if she makes only RS. 4, she is encouraged to save half a rupee. SEWA even provides a locked piggy bank for the purpose, and representatives from sewa come to the woman's home to take the savings to the bank. After acquiring the habit of saving, a woman will be allowed to take out a loan. Designed to meet the needs of low-income women, the loans are small with a long payback period, up to 36 months. Ela pioneered the concept of micro-lending, the idea that very small amounts, as small as $5, may be all hat is needed to make a difference. Women used the loans for practical purposes: buying equipment they had formerly rented, expanding a business, installing indoor plumbing, and paying for children's education. Over 95% of the loans are repaid on time, a much higher repayment rate than for other banks. SEWA Bank also educates and assists the women through other services, such as day care, maternity protection, and job training. SEWA Bank, which now has over us $3 million in assets, has been so successful that there are now branches in other parts of India, and men have even asked to be included.
It is important to realize that all this has been accomplished without any outside financial help whatsoever. The women did it themselves. Most important, the SEWA Bank model, through its concepts of micro-finance, has been used to empower poor women throughout the world. Towards this end, Ela joined with nine other women at the first UN World Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975; these women shared the belief that the world's financial institutions must become accessible to low-income women. Incorporated in 1979, Women's World Banking now has 43 affiliates in 35 countries.
Ela Bhatt has served as its chair since 1985. The far-reaching effects of Ela Bhatt's work have been recognized internationally through many awards, including the Right Livelihood Award (the alternate Nobel Prize) for 'Changing the Human Environment' in Stockholm in 1984. Formal Economy In India today, only about 11% of workers hold regular jobs with formal employer- employee relationships. These jobs are documented and the workers are protected by whatever laws are available. Informal Economy Nearly 89% of India's workers are undocumented.
Their work in the informal sector is usually not covered by legal protection that may be available to workers in formal sector jobs. They work either on their own, or as piece workers with a contractor or middleman, in relationships that depend on verbal agreement. Home-based Work Part of the informal economy, this work is done at home, usually by women. She gets raw materials from a contractor or middleman, assembles the finished product, and brings it to the middleman for payment. Often at the mercy of the contractor, she must accept whatever pay he is willing to give.
This type of worker is the most invisible in the economy. Macro-Finance Works with the large amounts of money used by banks, governments, stock markets, corporations, and other large institutions. Micro-Finance Micro-finance works with the very small amounts of money actually used by low-income people. It is often the most appropriate way to implement social programs at the grassroots level. Things to Do and Discuss 1 Imagine that you are a poor woman working in Gujarat, India. Construct a family, home, and job for yourself. You may want to consult a book or encyclopedia to get more information.
What problems do you think you would have? How would you use a loan from SEWA Bank to improve the lives of yourself and your family? 2 How is women's work considered in your own country? In what ways is it similar or different from the situation in India? Do you think that changes such as SEWA provides would be useful in your country? ------------------------------------------------- Interview with Ela Bhatt Founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) A good combination of struggle and constructive work Create, as a strategy, alternative economic organizations
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India | Ela Bhatt. Photo by Nic Paget-Clarke. | | Self-employed vegetable vendors in Ahmedabad. Click to see a series of photos. Photo by Nic Paget-Clarke. | Ela Bhatt is the founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association(SEWA) and was SEWA’s first general-secretary. Based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, SEWA is the largest single trade union in the country with a membership of 687,000 women. SEWA’s members are vegetable and garment vendors, in-home seamstresses, head-loaders, bidi rollers, paper pickers, construction workers, incense stick makers, and agricultural workers.
They come from India's "unorganized sector" and organize for their just dues and rights. 96% of all women workers in India are in this sector. Among their achievements is the SEWA Bank whose capital is made up entirely of their own contributions. The SEWA Bank was founded in 1974 by 4,000 women each contributing ten rupees. This interview was conducted August 31, 2003 by Nic Paget-Clarke for In Motion Magazine in Ahmedabad. Also see interview with Jayshree Vyas - Managing Director of SEWA Bank. * The Independence Struggle * Self-employed laborers * A leading role in the women’s movement You have to be for something * In Gandhi’s thinking * Civil disobedience and sit-in strikes * Satyagraha and street vendors * Face-to-face talk * Alternative economic organizations * Cooperatives and trade unions * Full employment and self-reliance – social change * The diversity of our society * Literacy education * Democratic values * To serve * Changes in the garment industry * Globalization: the construction industry * Embroidery and migration * Only because we had an organization * The interests of the local producers * Using the technology * Changing the balance of power
The Independence Struggle In Motion Magazine: What made you think you needed to start the organization SEWA? Ela Bhatt: I’m a product of the later years of the freedom movement, the independence movement of my country. As we were studying in school and then in college our teachers and everybody around was talking about independence. In the family, also, there was the atmosphere of the independence struggle. My own grandfather, my mother’s father, was in the Salt March. He was in jail. My mother’s two brothers were in jail. (Editor: begun March 12, 1930, the Salt March led by Mohandas (Mahatma) K.
Gandhi was a 24-day march from his ashram in Ahmedabad to the Arabian Sea to make salt and protest the British ban of an Indian’s right to make salt. ). When I was studying in college, our teachers asked us to go the villages and live with the villagers. Mainly against injustice, against poverty. We never had to question how to do it because Gandhiji had shown the way -- how to go about it and what kind of discipline you have to follow. There I met my husband (

Warning! This essay is not original. Get 100% unique essay within 45 seconds!

GET UNIQUE ESSAY

We can write your paper just for 11.99$

i want to copy...

This essay has been submitted by a student and contain not unique content

People also read