Rebirth: Migrant Worker Services
Migrant workers constitute approximately 9.2% of the Indian workforce. These include contractors, sub-contractors, and migratory labourers. Most often, these men migrate from their home towns and villages and have poor living and working conditions. They are separated from their families making them more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors and face the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS or other infections. These conditions often give rise to intense feelings of stress which these workers may seek to relieve through drugs, alcohol, or sex. They often carry and transmit diseases such as HIV, STIs, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases to women in their villages. A person suffering from HIV/AIDS is often stigmatized and cast out of their families and community which can lead to severe self-esteem complications, depression and anti-social behavior.
These concerns led Maitri and Omaxe Foundation to join hands and start Project Sanjeevani, one of the first projects of its kind in India. Maitri and Omaxe’s joint efforts focus on both men and women migrant construction workers. A public health approach has been adopted for the program, placing strong emphasis on creating awareness about HIV, STI and TB. Awareness is generated through workshops, community meetings, mid media, IEC materials and a peer educator programs. Maitri has developed relationships with the local healthcare facilities and organizing periodic health camps on the construction site.
The pilot project was implemented on an Omaxe construction site in Faridabad, Haryana (Aug 2008 – Jan 2009). Maitri aims to build upon the work they have done so far with Omaxe and reach out to other groups of at-risk workers.