Adhikaar’s Third Quarterly Newsletter (January – March 2022)

Domestic Worker Program: Fight for Recognition, Rights, and Dignity of Domestic Work 

Training and Service

“We Make History” training graduates

We are committed to fostering cross-racial alliances and movement building. In March, 13 Domestic Worker member leaders graduated from the first cohort of the “We Make History” workshop series! Our members completed a 17-part workshop series that covered the history of the Domestic Worker profession and movements, including the revolutionary changes since the time of slavery. The curriculum for this workshop was developed by the National Domestic Workers Alliance in collaboration with Smith College. Two of our long-time member leaders, Sunita Hamal and Dhana Thapa, underwent nine months of training at Smith College, before becoming facilitators for this workshop.  

In the same month, another cohort graduated from our coveted “We Rise” nanny training. We are very proud and excited to see them develop into leaders both at Adhikaar and in their workplaces. For many, it was their first time taking a course while working full time and caring for a family. But despite all odds, nine of our members, who are all women, completed the training without missing a single session! The “We Rise” nanny training is part of Adhikaar’s workforce development program and is being led by our Domestic Worker member leaders.

“We Rise” nanny training graduates

Next, our Domestic Worker Fellow Sarita Gurung and staff Namrata Pradhan completed the “We Rise” Training of Trainers With NDWA, Carroll Gardens Association, Community Resource Center, Beyond Care, and Nanny Bee. We also continued our virtual meditation sessions with 15+ members by focusing on breathing, meditation, chakra yoga, and stretching exercises. This initiative helps members overcome stress and trauma since the pandemic. As part of our workforce development, we supported four members in securing jobs in NYC, NJ, and Philadelphia, prepared eight members for their job interviews, and conducted CPR training with 12 participants. To mark the end of Aanti-trafficking Awareness Month, 14+ members met and discussed what labor trafficking is, its elements and how can we support a survivor.

Domestic worker member leaders participating in the CPR training at Adhikaar

One of the Domestic Worker member leaders Rukmani Adhikari attended the monthly Pop Culture class organized by NDWA where member participants get together, share their stories and explore the existing narrative of people of color and Domestic Workers in the mainstream media. 

In total, in the last quarter, we outreached 341+ members for various programs at Adhikaar, including CPR training, Health and safety (only in New Jersey), the Nari Diwas virtual event, and the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF). We also interviewed and conducted check-ins with 61+ for a survey conducted by the NDWA Worker Council to understand updated numbers of individuals working as nannies, housekeepers, and home health aides in the Domestic Worker field.

NYC Coalition for Domestic Workers

Domestic Worker member leader Pushpa Rai testifying on behalf of all Domestic Workers working in NYC

In March, our members also participated and celebrated the victory of Intro 339 which extends NYC Human Rights law to all Domestic Workers. Our member leader Pushpa Rai testified on behalf of all Domestic Workers working in NYC to be protected during the press conference with NDWA-NY, NYC Commission on Human Rights, NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, Hand in Hand, Carroll Gardens Association (CGA), and Council Member Gale Brewer. Our member leaders participated in both the virtual and in-person events for the NYC Coalition for Domestic Work. In February, 8+ members attended the coalition event with Council Member Carlina Rivera and Gale Brewer separately who showed their support for the campaign.

Adhikaar’s new Domestic Worker Fellow Sarita Gurung

On February 24, there was an internal relaunch of the NYC Coalition for Domestic Work where 12 of our members participated. The coalition will help create a care action plan in partnership with local worker and employer organizations, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It will also help raise standards for Domestic Workers, and support the enforcement of Domestic Worker rights legislation through worker/employer outreach and education. The coalition will also help to stop the attack on our Black and brown communities by defunding the police and ending all collaboration with I.C.E. while reinvesting in Black and brown communities.

We also welcomed a new Domestic Worker Fellow Sarita Gurung from NY in January 2022. They will be supporting us with organizing our NY and NJ Domestic Workers, engaging with members, and advocating for current policy change.


Adhikaar’s Campaign for a Bill of Rights in NJ

On March 24 our New Jersey Domestic Worker members visited the New Jersey capital to advocate for the passage of the state’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights to ensure that domestic workers are protected by the same regulations as workers in other professions. The bill was reintroduced in both the Assembly and State in January. As of January 11, 2022, Senator Richard J. Codey, Senator Loretta Weinberg, Nia H. Gill Esq., Joseph P. Cryan, M. Teresa Ruiz, Senator Nellie Pou, Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez, Shirley K. Turner and Assemblymember Britnee N. Timberlake have sponsored.

Adhikaar Fellows leading the health and safety training with our NJ members

In addition to the campaign, we are base-building by running health & safety training in NJ. In March, 18+ members attended a health and safety training followed by campaign updates for the NJ Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.