11 Jan Making Livelihoods Livable
Jan 11, 2018 Making Livelihoods Livable
Posted by: Abhinava
The communities we operate in are marked by extreme poverty & social stigma. Freeset’s goal in going into business was to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation, and create opportunities for our community to live full and healthy lives. As our business has grown, we face increasing pressure to control costs and meet the demands of the global marketplace. While we want to meet that challenge, it cannot be at the expense of our principles to take care of our planet and its people.
Hence, as we grow each year, we take care to ensure that wages we pay our staff offer them a chance to meet the basic needs of their household, as well as hopefully some of those opportunities only available to the rich.
We have done multiple studies to estimate the on-going cost of living and working in our communities. While these costs vary substantially across individuals and even neighborhoods, we try to capture a representative measure. The figures below give an indicative cost for some of the basic items our women purchase in their daily lives.
All Costs in INR for Kolkata
Food Cost: ~110 rupees per adult per day
Fuel Cost: ~600 rupees per household per month
Hygiene Cost: ~320 rupees per household per month
Rent Cost: ~1,500 rupees per household per month
School Cost: ~500 rupees per child per month
Freeset ensures we pay a Living Wage at 100% of our locations for all our staff.
We want to make sure their take-home pay can cover the necessary daily costs of living. However, we want to do more than just make sure our women survive. We want them to THRIVE!
Our women have access to government-run retirement programs and health insurance programs. All women have access to onsite counseling from trained counselors, as well as social workers who assist them from issues ranging from debt, medical issues, legal issues and family problems. Women with young children have access to on-site day care while they work, as well as scholarship programs for older children to attend school.
We also work on consistently upskilling our women to create opportunities for them to enter higher paying jobs in management. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of our women become unit supervisors, training leads, social workers and accountants.
Are we satisfied with everything we’ve done? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
We want our staff to have a continually improving work environment and access to world-class training. In 2018, we will be launching new training programs for staff that include English, math, excel and computing skills and effective communication training.
We are investing in improving the quality of our facilities, through renovations to existing workpaces and development of new buildings. We’re also excited to reveal a special new program we’ve been working on to bless the women of our community in a big way this coming year (details pending)!