Made-to-order home managers for the taking

I can understand what widows go through as I had seen the problems my mother faced. This is why I st­arted a Seva Kendra to find employment for those ready to work and lead life with dignity.

Are you wary of the word-of-mouth networking, which is the prevalent mode of getting to a maid? The handful of recruitment agencies in the City might be an answer.

To help poor and widowed women get employment opportunities, the agency, ‘Rao and Rao’ was started by Bhaskar Rao in 2009. Starting with one person, the organisation has today provided employment to 150 people. These domestic helps do housework, care taking, babycare, and even driving. The salaries range from a minimum of Rs 4,000 a month to a maximum of Rs 7,000.  

The organisation conducts identity checks, address verifications and other attestations before recruitment. Homeless recruits are provided free food and shelter till they find a job. Besides, if a working maid falls sick, the expenses are taken care of by the ESI.

Perks include four days of optional leave per month. Bhaskar Rao, the man behind it all, set up the organisation as a tribute to his mother who had worked in various households to earn a living for her children and herself. The harassment she faced as a widow moved Rao, who then decided to start this venture.

"I can understand what widows go through as I had seen the problems my mother faced. This is why I decided to engage in social service,” says Rao.

Gauthami, an employee attached to the agency, says: “The organisation takes care of every need of mine. My salary is sufficient to sustain my family of four." Her colleague, Sudha says she will now be able to get her sisters married off.

There are not many organisations for service-sector employment in India. The demand is high for quality and reliable employees. One of the few such organisations is Empower Pragathi, which specialises in livelihood skill development to empower India's disadvantaged youth.

The organisation has partnered with National Skills Development Corporation of India (NSDC) to support the entire employability system in the country.

The organisation picks people from socially and economically weaker backgrounds and gives them extensive training, which includes counselling, assessment to check their attitude towards work, classroom training about skills required, maintenance of personal hygiene, cooking and housekeeping training. Certificates are given after the completion of training based on the assessment of perfection and a stipend is given till they get a job.

The demand team of the organisation goes to various households to assess requirements after which trained people are deployed. They ensure that the employees have no criminal records or health issues. The organisation prefers calling these trained
personnel as "home managers" instead of maids in order to put an end to the master-slave mindset. Besides, counselling is given to both the employees and the families to instil a sense of self-respect for the employees.

“Our aim is to empower over two million people by 2020 from both formal and informal sectors and establish more centres in the near future," says co-founder of Empower Pragathi, Jagannath Rao, who is also an alma mater of IIM Rourkela.

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