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Centre for Freedom, Citizenship and Democracy, (CFCD)

We provide technical and managerial support to 410 SHGs of bonded stonebreakers and thier federation named 'Pragati Vahini'. The federation has been formed with the aim to achiece the vision and mission of the organisation i.e. to obtain "Freedom from the fear of freedom". We train the associated SHGs to rotate their leadership on yearly basis.

CFCD works in:

  • Educating for Up-scaling of SHGs to cluster/federation.
  • Bonded Labout Rehabilitation
  • Educating for Legal Entitlments
  • Support to SHGs for acquirng new mining leases
  • Partiipation in grassroots governance
  • Allotment of Residential sites

 

Legal Aid Centres

In order to overcome the legal vulnerability and filling the existing gaps in the legal support system in relation to the bonded stonebreakers/agriculture laborers, PGS has come up with Legal Aid Centers (LACs) since 2012. LACs are managed by para-legals who are from the bonded labor community. Our paralegals have understanding of judicial system at tehsil/district level and past experience in the preparing applications and statements for legal proceedings are desirable qualification. 

Why LACs? 

In our country the Constitution and various laws strongly mandate for freedom from all types of bondages. However, enforcement remains extremely weak particularly for those who are trapped into bondage situations. Besides other vulnerabilities, the legal vulnerabilities make the situation worse for the bonded laborers. In our target area we have found that despite the existence of laws, these are rarely being enforced.

A large number of the bonded stonebreakers/agricultural labourers are still in complete control of the contractors in lieu of advances paid to them. Such laborers often do not have fair terms of employment, wage payments, access to other entitlements and risk coverage. The legal vulnerability compounds further when the bonded finds him unable to understand technical language of law books and entirely unfamiliar culture at courtrooms and premises.

The legal vulnerabilities are visible in different forms like the bonded stonebreakers/agricultural laborers are not aware of their legal rights and entitlements, they don’t have the strength to move out of the contractor’s site, they don’t know how to get good legal advice, not aware how to lodge FIR or complaints with the police or other enforcement agencies, unable to meet follow-up expenses, face harassments by falsely implicating in fake cases, unable to produce documentary evidences on bondage, unable to sustain against intimidation and threats by the accused during the case pendency, succumbing to the threats of social humiliation or public remarks against the victim, particularly women and unable to access benefits from various development schemes for which they are eligible.

Teras Chaura - “Jiska koi nahi sunta, uska hai Teras Chaura”

Teras Chauras are organized at different locations every month among community members to voice their grievances against illegal loans, debt-bondage, child labour, forced migration and trafficking in their families and accessing their legal as well as civil rights. Teras Chaura, one of the most significant achievements during last three years, was a unique event organized by the young leadership of SHG federation of bonded laborers. An annual conference led to a decision that an open meeting will be held on 13th dark lunar day of every month 

Teras Chaura consists of thirteen departments which are led by thirteen emerging community leaders working as advocates, paralegals, SMC member, forest volunteer, farm supervisor, mining supervisors and village health workers among the community. During the last six months the leadership of Teras Chauras has been able to work with 12 government departments i.e. labour, health, development, revenue, law, police, education, forest, agriculture, social welfare banks and village panchayats. Teras Chaura, as an informal mode of communication is extremely useful for free flow of information at grassroots. It not only encourages participation but also leads toinitiation of action research exercises.

- The Story behind Teras Chaura -

Teras - thirteenth day which comes twice a month, one in Krishnapaksh and second in Shuklapaksh, as per Hindu calendar, is an important day in the life of Stone breakers and is celebrated as a day of freedom. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm amongst the stone breaker laborers. It is a day when they worship stone which symbolizes lord Shiva. This is a day when all people get an off from their work and also get payment for their work. The villagers celebrate one-day of freedom in a month, on this day they visit nearby fairs, eat and roam around and meet each other, looks for their prospective brides and vice-versa. In the light of such backdrop, Teras Chaura empowers the community members to share their concerns with each other.