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Labour Education and Research Network (LEARN) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to mobilising women informal workers in the urban slums of Maharashtra

Who We Are

LEARN was founded in 2000 by late Prof. Sharit Bhowmik and late Nitin More, along with university teachers and grassroots activists to strengthen collectives of urban informal workers, especially women workers.

LEARN is a NGO based in Maharashtra. We believe in holistically empowering and agency-building of women in the urban informal economy to work and live in conditions of dignity and freedom. We aim to build women’s collective strength by providing them a secular, rights-based platform to upskill and enhance livelihoods, provide redressal and support of OSH and gender-based violence issues, and create sustainable linkages to social security. In this pursuit, their children are also an important focus of our efforts. We provide safe, developmental childcare and a platform to foster and nurture children’s creativity through theatre. Since 2000, our grassroots ‘women champions’ have created sustainable collectives in Mumbai, Nashik, Solapur and Nagpur. Our current strong grassroots membership base of 8669 urban poor women workers in 983 SHGs includes home-based workers, ragpickers, domestic workers, construction workers, street-vendors, micro-factory workers, food- processing workers, and farm workers. Through women’s SHGs and their collective effort, we aim to provide market linkages to enable women to move up in the value chain, and foster their entrepreneurial development.

Vision

We believe in a just and fair world where men and women can work and live in conditions of freedom, and children grow in an enabling environment of growth to realise their full potential as human beings.

Mission

To holistically empower women in informal employment to work and live in conditions of freedom, by building their collective strength through education, awareness, research and grassroots activism.

Objectives

  • Foregrounding women’s identity as workers and active contributors to the economy
  • Building sustainable, inclusive and democratic collectives of women informal workers in urban slums
  • Conducting trainings and workshops for raising awareness, sensitisation, upskilling, enhancing employability and overall personal development of urban poor women in slums
  • Providing holistic support to working mothers among the working poor
  • Conducting research on the informal economy to provide evidence-based interventions in slum communities and to inform policy on labour, gender and urban development
  • Designing training materials, methods and formats that are user-friendly for non-literate audience in the informal economy
  • Sensitising and educating society and public about informal economy and the plight of informal workers
  • Activating the agency of slum-children as ‘changemakers’ within their communities to create social awareness through theatre and performing arts

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