To further help the AMRAT network in building their capacity and impact, Arise was delighted to support and participate in the AMRAT Strategic Planning Meeting in Guwahati, Assam, in March.
Organised during AMRAT’s ten year anniversary, this event brought together around 30 of their Executive Body Members, Regional Coordinators and Experts to focus on expanding their national network together with civil and social groups and to review their strategy. Founded in 2009, the network currently brings together hundreds of frontline activists across India; sisters dedicated to addressing the causes of human trafficking and related forms of exploitation.
Both Arise’s director, Luke de Pulford, and Programs Manager, Jessica Templeman, attended and were able to address the group, underlining the unique power and strength of the AMRAT network, both in its size and geographical spread, but also their unparalleled ability to win the trust of those needing accompaniment.
Whilst in Assam, the Arise team gained first hand experience of exemplary projects run by AMRAT sisters, especially those working in the tea gardens throughout the state, where workers remain vulnerable to exploitation. Tea garden salaries average 150 rupees per day (around £1.50 / USD 2) and are often contingent on workers picking 24 kg of tea. Workers traditionally live on the tea estates with their families, have no electricity or running water, no access to education and self fund their access to any healthcare. Among many things the sisters are doing to improve the situation for workers, they offer assistance with enrollment to government schemes, raise awareness about safe migration pathways, offer skills training for better employment and help increase access to healthcare.
A further programme for domestic workers was created more than a decade ago by one congregation of sisters to empower domestic workers, many of whom have migrated to the city from tea gardens. A entire training centre featuring a model home has been created inside the convent to teach domestic workers skills such as how to keep and clean a house. The same project features an employment agency which pairs trained workers with jobs where employers have been vetted by the sisters. This helps ensure that employers are also aware of the rights and other entitlements of workers.
Arise’s head of programs Jess Templeton said: The centre is an amazing example of what can be done when you have the trust of people in vulnerable situations. But this isn’t just about trust. This is about innovation and being present long enough to make a difference. These sisters are showing the way and it was a privilege as well as a great affirmation of Arise’s frontline strategy to visit.
For more information on AMRAT, contact Sr. Arpan at: email@example.com