Domestic Worker Program: Fight for Recognition, Rights, and Dignity of Domestic Work
In the last quarter, we provided two CPR training in collaboration with the American Heart Association for our New York and New Jersey Domestic Worker members. The training is vital for our members who work as Nannies and Home Health Aides as it is a requirement for their job. The training was conducted in English with Nepali interpretation to bridge the language barrier.
We also distributed certificates to our “We Rise” nanny training graduates from our 15th batch. Over the course of the past three weeks, they attended an intensive but extremely valuable series of skills for their professional development. They learned about worker’s rights, nutrition, social and emotional childhood development, communication with families, home as a workplace, and pediatrics. It is part of Adhikaar’s workforce development program and is being led by our Domestic Worker member leaders.
Advocacy and Organizing:
After rallying and taking action for months, in June, our New Jersey Domestic Worker members came together and rallied in front of the state capitol building in Trenton along with our NJ Domestic Worker coalition members. Together we made sure that our voices were heard as the State legislative session was coming to an end, and we needed to increase pressure on legislators.
The NJ Domestic Workers Bill of Rights passed the labor committees in both the State Assembly and Senate in 2022, but despite our efforts and fierce opposition, we haven’t been able to get a hearing in the appropriation committee. This year, we’ll be continuing to advocate for a hearing and then pass the bill in the upcoming legislative session. If passed, the bill will protect over 100,000 Domestic Workers in NJ from exploitation through mutually signed contracts between employees and the employer, guaranteed meal breaks, and paid time off.
During the rally, our long-term member leader Uma Khanal shared her story at the rally, shedding light on the issues Domestic Workers face and how the passage of the Bill of Rights can help address these issues. During the rally, she said, “We are often underpaid, undervalued, overworked and all kinds of abuses, not to mention sexual harassment, wage theft, physical and emotional abuse! We need protection – we need the NJ Domestic Worker Bill of Rights to pass NOW!”
Advancing Adult Literacy through English for Empowerment (EFE), Digital Literacy and Citizenship classes
For more than a decade, Adhikaar has provided volunteer-based adult literacy classes to community members at our worker center in Woodside. Our adult literacy classes are critical to our members as a vast majority have limited-literacy challenges that create barriers for them in almost all aspects of their lives.
In the last quarter, we hit the halfway mark for our adult literacy programs. To mark this day, we conducted a mid-year evaluation and celebrated their achievements. The event took place at our community center, where we distributed new branded totesbags, folders and notebooks to our EFE students and also had delicious Nepali food catered to the event. Chuck Park, Chief of Staff from the office of Council Member Shekar Krishnan was also present to witness and hear directly from our members on how the adult literacy program at Adhikaar is changing their lives.
From the beginning of this year, our students have been attending various EFE classes at Adhikaar. These classes include general basic and beginner classes that cover topics such as workers’ rights, the basics of the U.S. government, and other relevant practical skills and information. Other classes include an industry-specific EFE curriculum for Domestic Workers and Nail Salon workers that strengthens their knowledge of rights and English capacity for the workplace.
Along with EFE classes, we also provided digital literacy training where students learned how to connect to Zoom, use Google Maps, create email accounts, check their inboxes, and send an email. This training helps our members access crucial information on their phones and be well-equipped with various digital communication tools. We also provided Citizenship classes for members to help prepare for the U.S. Citizenship test.
New Immigrant Navigation Program
Through our integrated new immigrant navigation program, we provide support to new immigrants and help them navigate the NYC subway system, and also prepare them for job interviews. In the last quarter, our members learned how to use the subway card machine, visited Times Square, and 11 members got hired as Nannies and Nail Salon workers in New York.
Join our new immigrant navigation program, EFE, digital literacy training, and citizenship class by calling Adhikaar at (718) 937-1117. Click here to sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter.
Stay tuned for the next part of the newsletter on Immigration/TPS, Casework, Healthcare, and Youth programs.