Urmila – a training and placement programme attempts to bridge the gap between domestic servants and urban households requiring reliable and efficient cleaning, washing, cooking, child and adult-care etc. services. Under the Urmila initiative, informal workers/ slum residents' who work as 'housemaids' are trained and empowered to become ‘Home Managers’. This results in a significant increase in skills, incomes, status, security as well as opportunities.
The potential ‘home managers’ are mobilized from various slum and low income areas across the city with the help of local stakeholders such as Anganwadi workers etc. The Urmila Home Mangers too mobilize other women and get them to join the training, which comprises 15 days class room training and practical experience. The training includes the following components:
To enhance skills, there is greater focus on practical training. This exposure to different electrical equipment and white goods likely to be found in homes. After completion of the training, with the objective of ensuring good health and security of the ‘home-manager’ for the clients, each home manager undergoes a ‘health check-up’ and is registered with the police department. The Home-Manager is given a Training Certificate as well as a copy of the Police Verification and Health -up reports.
Subsequently, based on the interest and ‘skills’ of individuals, the home-managers are placed with appropriate ‘registered clients’ living in apartments or bungalows. The Placement process involves the following steps:
Based on the market trend and requirements of clients, the Urmila Programme has three categories of Home Manager Services - Silver, Golden and Diamond. The categories are decided according to their work experience, skill, knowledge, performance and attitude.
The salary of the Home-Managers is fixed based on the skills and experiences of the Home-Managers as well as the number of hours (minimum 4 hours and maximum 12 hours) for which they are to work. The Home-Managers do not work on Sundays and are eligible for 12 official holidays during a year. The other days when they do not/ cannot go to work, a temporary replacement is sent to the client.Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring, regular handholding, client contact and evaluation of feedback received from the Home Managers as well as the clients has played an important role in the development of the programme. The Monitoring and Evaluation activities comprise the following:
As the demand for Home Managers increases, Urmila has identified the following challenges for the success and effectiveness of the programme:
Based on the need and demand from clients for specialised care, Urmila is considering training people in patient care and geriatric care. The specialised training has increased the scope of work for the trainees and has also raised their capacity to earn higher incomes.
Rekhaben Manishbhai Solanki started work as Home Manager from 15th June 2013 at the home of Mr. Kaumil Shah, staying in Paldi, Ahmedabad. The location of work is fairly close to Rekhaben"s home.
She has five members in her family, her husband, two daughters and a son. She has studied till 7th standard and is able to read and write. Her husband is working in the marketing field and earns only Rs. 5000 per month which is not enough money to fulfil the requirements of her family.
She started looking for work to support her family. Her dream is to buy a loading rickshaw for her husband, so that he can work independently for their livelihood. So, when she came to know about Urmila programme she immediately joined it and after completed the course she was placed. She is a fresher and according to her profile she was placed in the Silver category.
After finishing her household work in the morning she goes to her employers place Mr. Kaumil Shah as mentioned above. She works from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and earns Rs.4500/- per month. Currently she is taking care of a 5 month old child. Along with the child care she helps in additional task like helping in some ordinary work. She is very happy with her client.
Her employer Mr. Shah says, "Rekhaben is good, punctual and does all the work assigned to her. She never says no for any work which is given to her and takes care of my child like her own baby. I am very happy with her services."
Rekhaben Says "Before, I was dependent on my husband for all necessary expenses, but now I am more independent and manage expenses well through my own income. Additionally, all family members and people/ society show more respect for me because of my job."
It withstood the test of time and change and has adapted, scaled up and explored newer avenues of home care. With the increasing demand for geriatric care and child care, the program is now developing training programs for such specialized caregivers as well.
Urmila Home Managers are women who have been able to improve their incomes are financially included through bank accounts, reliable, professional and have been able to improve the overall quality of life of their families. A woman in Urmila earns an average of Rs. 8,000 through this.
I am a Trustee of SLS and a client of the program, which is why I can speak with such conviction. The organization cares about the women, they are not only a means to a profit margin – SLS ensures that the women are provided with constant handholding support while they explore the world of work, which is why I - as a conscious citizen prefer to hire from Urmila.- Mr. Gagan Sethi
I am associated with SAATH – URMILA Program since 2 years and Kusum started working with me a year before and has become so friendly with my kids whom she cares for like her own children and manages the home well. She needs no supervision. I have three generations at my home and she takes care of everyone according to their needs while following all rules and regulations. She is a good multitasker and a really good home manager.- Dr. Renu Goyal