Tirupur, in Tamil Nadu is India’s ‘T-shirt capital’, the centre of a textile and garment industry which supplies major international clothing brands. Alongside hundreds of thousands of factory workers, there are many women working at home or in small workshops. Working informally, homeworkers are outside any formal employment or social protection for workers and not generally included in trade union membership.
In 2011 local NGO SAVE (working with HWW) began mapping to build up a picture of homeworkers, the work they are doing and their priorities. SAVE decided to help the homeworkers organise themselves on a Self Help Group model. SAVE developed a set of training materials with a strong focus on women’s rights. The project built alliances with local trade unions, working together to register homeworkers for government benefits and advocating for more effective benefit schemes.