Dear Supporters of Safe-in-India
Thanks to your generous support, our start-up, Safe-in-India, is now well set to accelerate its impact in 2017. We finally launched our first Worker Assistance Centre:-) Our Launch Video here. Slightly long as it is really made for the workers (once sub-titled in Hindi) but is also a good summary of our 2016.
Progress in 2016:
Last year, we not only put the required building blocks in place, but also tested our operational model enough to feel confident that we are on the right track and that we can make a material difference to the lives of poor workers who have no other similarly aimed organisation in Gurgaon-Manesar supporting them after their accidents where they lose their hands and fingers.
In the first quarter, we agreed on an operational plan building on the research completed 2015, created a strong board of advisors who helped us develop a strategy, built early relationships with stakeholders in Gurgaon, conducted worker focus groups to fine tune our strategy, delivered a talk on Safe-in-India at IIM Ahmedabad and obtained funding-commitments from the 1991 batch of IIM Ahmedabad. In late March, we had out first recruit, Masab Shamsi, to start the operations. We launched our website and Facebook page.
In the second quarter, real work started on the ground from a temporary shared office. We contacted more than 100 injured workers, investigated their cases to identify issues with the ESI processes for health-care and compensation, reasons for their accidents, and their personal trials and tribulations. 20 of them agreed to take our active assistance while others probably didn't trust us enough then. We realised we had to build credibility with workers to be able to help them. After much debate, we pivoted our model to focus only on two areas: supporting injured workers in automobile sector for their ESI Health-care and ESI Compensation. To improve outreach, Ram Babu, himself an injured worker, joined us as a paid Outreach Volunteer. The quarter ended with our first small success: we obtained compensation of Rs 7000, for a worker who was being forced to pay for the treatment of his injury at work.
In the third quarter, things started taking shape. Our contact list of workers grew to 240+ of which 48 asked for our active assistance. We started getting a much deeper understanding of the ESI processes. By the end of the quarter, we had helped 5 workers receive more than 5.8 lacs of compensation and had a pipeline of 25 lacs+. We made Ram Babu a permanent staff. But the ESI processes were proving to be far more complicated than we had realised. We knew we were on the right track but needed to accelerate our effectiveness. A huge highlight of the quarter was the start of a formal partnership with Ajeevika Bureau, an organisation of considerable repute in the areas of labour and seasonal migration, who agreed to incubate our start-up.
In the final quarter of the year, we decided to focus on 'closing the leads' to learn enough to accelerate effective activity in 2017. After cleaning up early data, we now have 500+ workers on our database and full files for 90+ files of workers who were stuck in the system for months and in some cases for years. Our follow up processes were increasingly aligned to ESI's own internal operational manuals. Safe-in-India initiative was formalised as a project under Ajeevika Bureau providing us a registered platform. Amitesh Kumar joined as our Head of Centre Operations. And then the highlight of the year - we inaugurated our first Worker Assistance Centre. See launch video here.
We are delighted that we are now a formal organisation with a fully functioning Worker Assistance Centre and a team that is working hard to help injured workers of auto-sector in Gurgaon-Manesar. Results are accelerating. We have now provided in-hospital process assistance to 100+ workers, conducted 15+ worker information-sharing and focus groups, resolved 20+ compensation cases, obtained Rs.7.8 Lacs in claims, and have a pipeline of more than Rs 50 lacs.
So what should 2017 look like?
We expect to have 1500+ workers on our database and to whom we would have provided assistance in health-care processes, of which we expect to be actively helping 250+ workers in their compensation processes, with a compensation pipeline in excess of Rs 4cr and actual recovery in excess of Rs 1.5cr. These are ambitious targets for the first full year of the start-up operations in an area where a typical workers earns Rs 9000 per month for twelve hour a day shift. However, the team is keen and excited and we know we can improved our effectiveness further. Our priorities for 2017 in order of importance are:
1. Help injured workers with ESI health-care.
2. Help injured workers obtain their ESI Compensation.
3. Provide a platform to injured workers to create their own support groups, empowering them with knowledge and support.
4. Find a partner who can re-skill and redeploy them (most of them lose their jobs)
5. Find a partner for psychological trauma care immediately after the accident.
However, this is not the end-game. This data and intensive work, will also help us:
1. Evidence the issues with the ESI processes and push the case for improving ESI capacity and services.
2. Build our case with the regional OEMs like Maruti and Honda, to start the discussion on improving safety in their tier 2/3 suppliers.
We have a plan, an energetic team and ambition to make an impact on lives of these poor workers.
Thank you for your continued support. God Bless and have a great 2017.