Adhikaar’s Domestic Workers program highlights- 2021

Emergency Relief Funds                                                                                                                                                                                                        Throughout 2020, we distributed over $219,000 in Emergency Relief Funds to over 438 Domestic Workers members,  where almost 50% of them were Tibetan speakers and each one of them received up to $500. This was only possible through the commitment and generous funds from our partner organization National Domestic Workers Association. We also distributed the second round of ERF (COVID-19 CareFund), amounting to over $94,000 to everyone who received the first round of ERF from Adhikaar.

“We Rise”- Launch of first Digital Nanny training program                                                                                                                                            In 2020, we all went virtual and so did our nanny training program, which was previously done in person. The training was conducted in collaboration with Cornell ILR and the National Domestic Workers Alliance-NY. Throughout the pandemic, Adhikaar went above and beyond in accommodating our participants to the new normal by providing one on one support on using “Zoom,” as it was new to the majority of the participants. As we try to make digital technology as accessible as possible, some of the participants received laptops from Adhikaar for the training since they did not have one at home. Despite the low digital literacy and often Zoom “mute” and “unmute” errors, our members rose above and beyond expectations and completed the digital nanny training. In 2020, we conducted two training in Nepali and trained over 70 Domestic Workers.

Adhikaar’s Anti-Trafficking Campaign                                                                                                                                                                                  Our team continued to strengthen the leadership and support of our survivor’s group, where 24 trafficking survivors leaders work with us in workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and anti-trafficking advocacy. For the first time, Adhikaar was able to retrieve a passport of a trafficked survivor, from the employer which wasn’t traditionally possible before they received their T-visa. We also won over $5000 in wage theft. We are also working with American Civil Liberties Union to submit a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) alleging violations by the United States of the human rights of domestic workers.

Due to the pandemic, some domestic workers were stuck at their employer’s home against their will and Adhikaar took immediate action in rescuing them.

Support during the COVID-19 pandemic for Domestic Workers members                                                                                                                     At the beginning of the pandemic, as many of our members were essential workers, Adhikaar provided them with free personal protective equipment as these items were scarce at the market. We also provided mental health support and referrals to our community members. We ran virtual Unemployment Insurance clinics to support our domestic worker members fill out their applications to the New York Labor Department.  Also during the pandemic, over 311 new Domestic workers reached out to Adhikaar.

A report on Domestic Workers in New Jersey                                                                                                                                                                         Adhikaar along with partner organizations National Domestic Workers Association, Casa Freehold, New Labor, and Wind of the Spirit, conducted detailed in-person surveys with more than 400 Domestic Workers across New Jersey in 2019. The coalition worked closely with the  Rutgers Center for Women and Work and launched a report on the working conditions of domestic workers in NJ. The report unmasked the struggles of Domestic Workers in New Jersey, where the majority of them did not have labor law protection and had been victims of wage theft. Read the full report here