"Video is an
authentic, powerful and honest mass communication media which should
be in the hands of common people in a country like ours".
Smt. Ela Bhatt,
Communication is a very
important aspect of poor, self employed womens lives and struggles. These women
communicate in their own way and with various groups in society. Over the years, SEWA has
found that communication, the transfer of information, plays a very crucial role in the
lives of poor women workers. Thus there is a great need for communication, between groups
of self employed women, and between them and the public, policy planners and other
government officials. There is also a need for workers to obtain information on various
issues: legal, health, nutrition, and government policies and programmes for the self
employed, including national development plans and programmes.
By communicating thus,
they are inspired by and draw strength from each other, and a sense of solidarity and
unity develops among them.
Self employed workers also need to
communicate their needs, their concerns and experiences to the public at large. The middle
class public is, by and large, unaware of poor womens reality. Workers encounter
prejudice, discrimination and even abuse from other sections of society. With greater
communication, the public begins to become aware of poor womens very existence and
their contribution to society. A sense of working together and learning from each other
may also develop.
Knowledge and information
on various issues of importance to them like legislation and health, never reach self
employed workers. Nor do they obtain information on existing government and non-government
programmes and policies which could have an impact on their lives and struggles. SEWA has
been attempting to share this information with women, recognising that it has an important
role to play in their struggles. Once this information is communicated to the workers,
attempts are made to utilise this for purpose of action. Thus providing information on a
multitude of issues affecting workers lives itself can support and encourage the
process of organising.
Video SEWA was established
in 1984 as a means to provide training to the
members of SEWA and to motivate, mobilize and strengthen the existing membership of SEWA
through the use of video recordings and tapes. Since 1984, Video SEWA has produced
countless tapes and more than a hundred programmes of organizing, training and advocacy.
These tapes reached villagers and slum dwellers in Gujarat as well as policy makers in
Delhi and Washington. Gradually, video has become an integral part of SEWAs
activities and also for all the ongoing work. For women workers and the members of SEWA,
SEWA tapes are a source of information as well as inspiration.
The Video Sewa team includes members coming from the informal sector like
head loaders, vegetable vendors, home-based workers etc. but after joining video Sewa
undertook technical training of the equipments and today are producers of various
educational and informative programs.
Video Sewa formed
registered their cooperative "Shri Gujarat Mahila Video Sewa Mahiti Communication
Sahakari Mandali Limited." in 2002. Video Sewa formed its cooperative with the
educational and informative programs related to the socio economic lives of the
self-employed women regarding the different services provided by Sewa like healthcare and
childcare, to bring awareness and help in their capacity building and become self reliant.
To provide information
related to different types of work, guide them and help them progress.
Develop women leaders by
video so as to do various activities like savings business related to their progress.