Plight of these unorganised workers in Kolar would have been worse, but for Nazeebunnisa’s dedicated service and the Kolar Beedi Workers Welfare Society to their cause.
For women workers from the poverty-stricken Noornagar, Rahamatnagar, Millatnagar, Beedi Colony, Nisarnagar, Shahinshahnagar, Phoolshah Mohalla and other areas in Kolar Nazeebunnisa is a ray of hope - a woman on whom they can rely to get their delayed pension or other allowances and ration card.
The 43-year-old, with a certificate in Teachers’ Training, is from Mutyalpet of Mulbagal taluk. Nazeebunnisa, who got ‘deeksha’ from her mentor-husband Syed Arifulla Shah, has been striving to organise the poor women of the Muslim community.
The Kolar Beedi Workers’ Welfare Society, founded in 2007, has now extended its service to hold skill enhancement programmes for the welfare of the workers. Saliq Education and Training Centre, a brainchild of Nazeebunnisa and set up on November 14, 2008, has been training the beedi workers in tailoring using three sewing machines contributed by the donors. The institute strives to create an alternative source of income for the beedi workers who have to face stiff competition from the well-organised global market.
The project, in the long run would also help in rehabilitating the beedi workers in distress. As many as 20 girls from poor Muslim families were cajoled to take up tailoring to rise above the subsistence level. While the beedi workers from the economically weaker section get the training free of cost, those who can afford to pay, are charged a fee of Rs 50.
The Centre has formed more than 10 Stree Shakti Sanghas to bring these beedi workers together to strive with unity for their cause.
Nazeebunnisa expressed her gratitude for the guidance and help from K V Sureshkumar, former minister Nissar Ahmed and MLC Naseer Ahmed.
“I vowed to serve the cause of beedi workers during the May Day celebrations in 2007,” she said. Politically affiliated with the Congress, Nazeebunnisa said without backing of the political power it is difficult to get certain plans executed.
She said she has been pressuring officials and elected representatives to implement the housing scheme sanctioned particularly for the beedi workers by the Union Ministry of Labour in 2007 and hopes that it will happen at the earliest.
Nazeebunnisa is now striving for the cause with hope and determination that the beedi workers will get their benefits at the earliest.