Knowing Shomman

Shomman, a registered NGO (No.3217), has been actively involved in promoting the rights of helping hands working in and around our houses, indigenous and people with special need. It takes action and provides testimony in order to meet their basic needs, and promote respect for their dignity and basic rights. According to our research and survey, at least 15 million people countrywide are helping hands, at this moment, representing approximately 10 % of our population. These individuals are aged mainly 13 and above, more than 95% of whom are women. A huge number of child domestic workers were found to work in the Dhaka City Corporation area, according to an ILO-UNICEF Baseline Survey.

Shomman has been also working on the health status and basic education of these vulnerable groups. It has been seen that a plethora of diseases (like Covid-19,TB, Water borne diseases, Psychological illnesses etc) are spreading inside our apartments without anybody knowing. And these occurrences have been happening in a repetitive manner. Shomman has been trying to address this health malaise.

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Today, Bangladesh has many national and international problems. Some of them have been identified and some have not. And by some it’s not even considered as a problem. Interestingly we are bypassing a ‘burning’ issue or may be trying to ignore that as a secondary concern. Some of us are confused and looking for ways out.

We are talking about our own homes. As we say ‘Courtesy begins at home’; ‘Beating also begins at home’; ‘Attitude towards ‘living being’, ‘Democracy’ and so on. In fine, ‘All begins at home’. Our focus would be on ‘middle class homes’; both in the urban and non-urban areas. Because, our country is mainly wheeled on middle classes. Bangladesh’s steadily growing middle class, estimated at over 10-15 per cent of the population, should not take long to become 20 per cent in the near future. Although the size is not that big, they are more pivotal than rest of our population. Majority of the policy makers and professionals belong to this class. They control bureaucracy, defense, education, judiciary and what not?They enjoy definite advantages everywhere and that is secured via a variety of means. But unfortunately there remain some flaws in the way they are treating humans working under their care. This is probably an unintentional consequence of the existing system. Reaching and inspiring their ‘root of attitude’ could bring a huge socio-political change.

Bangladeshi middle class people possess some special attitudes. Majority of their houses keep domestic helping hands – usually ‘1-2’ in number. Regarding transportation they are very sensitive. Many bear a vehicle with a driver; but prefer to enjoy a non-private one. Overall, they wish an easy transport very much for their families.They love to maintain a distinct distance with their helping hands (domestic or outside like ‘gardener, sweeper, security guards’ etc). They do not like to clean their own clothes or rooms – either home or offices. They are highly dependent on peons and cleaners outside their homes.Although they claim themselves as religious, they are very careless about their employee’s human rights.Some of them unconsciously consider misuse of time when helping hands (especially drivers) wish to attend prayers – either inside or outside at Mosque, Temple or churches.

Most of people in this region are not aware that how these problems affect the whole scenario of the society – as well the whole nation. We are focusing on few of these problems because it is important for the people of Bangladesh to know these issues. In fact, these are not creating few problems but ultimately these are spreading endless troubles.