“Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting others”
Jerry Greenfield (co-founder Fair Trade)
ConneXions – Kolkata exists for the empowerment of women. We care deeply about all the people who work with us. We choose to pay fair piece rates for blankets and cards that are produced by women working from their homes. We base this on the time it takes an average (speed) producer to make each item. We adhere to government regulations regarding minimum wages and where ever possible we pay more. Our bags producers are now being paid a monthly wage, including holiday pay.
For those working on site, we have light airy work rooms, lunch and two tea breaks each day. We aim to be a supportive workplace that is understanding of the many challenges that our staff have to live with. An example of this is the need to allow some of our on-site bag producers an extra water collection break. They have no running water in their homes and the community water pump operates only at set times each day. The women need to gather and store water for cooking, washing and bathing each day. Our work hours are 10.00am – 5.30pm each day.
For those working at home, we enjoy meeting with them each time they come to drop off their completed product and gather new materials. It is a chance to check in with them and give them encouragement and support. Careful records are kept at ConneXions and each woman also has a book to record the number of blankets or cards they have completed. Both books are signed to make sure they match and payment is totalled and paid each month.
We also love to gather everyone together for monthly meetings (this is voluntary) as well as fun outings and a Christmas programme each year.