YATI OVERSEAS -
Empowering lives through fairer trade -
A sustainable holistic initiative!
Today I have the greatest pleasure of presenting the first Fair Trade Report of Yati Overseas
factory to all our stakeholders and well wishers!
This is a journey we have embarked upon with a true spirit and intent. I always knew that
providing jobs was not enough. It is also important to empower our employees without the
fear of unrest and doubt between the stakeholders.
The Fair Trade Program at Yati has bridged these barriers and brought all the stakeholders
together for a greater cause of fair living for the workers.
I have immense pleasure in presenting this report which is a great participative effort
between the management and employees at Yati and Fair Trade USA. I am looking forward
to your valuable feedback to make this program stronger and meaningful year after year!
Managing Partner, Raj Group
Yati Overseas Pvt.Ltd.
Plot no-94, Sector-25, Part -1
E: [email protected]
Social responsibility cannot be steered, it is something that comes instinctively from the heart. At
Raj Group, social responsibility has been a part of the organization since inception as they have
unrelentingly engaged in community driven projects that have contributed to society for the last
In 1939, pre-Independence India had few employment opportunities to offer, so when Raj Group
was established in the same year in Panipat, it created prospects for many. From creating
employment opportunities, to contributing to the growth of an Industry that focused on weaving
and craft traditions, Raj Group and The Raj Charitable Trust, have been giving back to the
community for the past 75 years.
Bal Vikas School, was one such initiative to provide quality education at an affordable price.
As time passed it became a challenge for the institution to keep up with the community driven
activities with an isolated approach. Fair Trade came at the right moment to be a partner in
this thought process. Raj found a good partner in Fair Trade, since this program compliments
Raj’s activities to empower people and communities of the vulnerable and oppressed sections of
society at large.
ABOUT THE REPORT
Every society has phases of illiteracy, ignorance, cultural barriers and most of all differential
access to basic needs of life like safe and nutritious food, clean water, education and financial
resources. There is a visible shortage of technical knowledge and basic training amongst the so
called semi-skilled/skilled workers of producer countries. Even though such situations are solely
attributed to the ignorance of the concerned individual, they are more to do with the lack of
proper opportunity, social environment, lack of access to skill development programs and over all
the policies that currently exist.
Due to the lack of financial resources, access to all the needs of life are limited for this segment
of society. Education and awareness are the only means through which the workers can be given
an understanding that access to money will not solve all their problems and that access to certain
services is equally important for their and their family’s well being.
This is primarily the reason why Yati Overseas had to give a considerable amount of time and
training to develop the understanding of the workers towards the importance of Fair Trade’s
Premium Projects. This time period also helped bring sustainability to the whole initiative. It
therefore took a year for the workers to understand the relevance of the initiatives and agree
upon various socio-economic interventions through Fair Trade’s Premium Projects. The training
programs reaffirmed various perspectives amongst the workers and helped bring about regional
relevance to various interventions.
Through several concurrent Committee Meetings and General Assemblies we have incorporated
the logical and relevant feedback of the workers that has strengthened the overall architecture of
the intervention with an essence of empowerment, sustainability and ownership of all stakeholders.
(That is Fair Trade, the Management and the workers).
Today Fair Trade’s programs have not only given them support but also saved an average of
150-200 USD per worker, per year. This is the greatest glimpse of empowerment amongst these
skilled craftsmen who work very hard to make our homes look beautiful!
OPURROJECTS ACCESS TO FOOD DURING FESTIVALS
The stakeholders of the Committee decided
that for one major festival in India all the
workers who are eligible as per the bye laws
of the Fair Trade Committee will get Rs.2500
worth of food coupons which will enable
the family to come together and have a
sumptuous festive meal, as the family size is as
big as 8-10 persons. A festival usually results
in a loan of approximately Rs.5000 per worker
MEDICAL INSURANCE who in turn ends up paying back the loan for
the next 6-8 months at an interest
In the Year 2014, our maiden project rate of 10% per month.
was – Health for All. This project covered
approximately 150 workers and their direct
dependents for Rs.1,00,000. It took a year to educate
the workers on how to use this facility as their families were
not living with them and they often faced difficulties in accessing
this facility. But there was one worker who immensely benefited
from this project.
STORY OF MITHILESH “We never knew we
Mithilesh is one of the fine craftsmen in this facility and has been fall sick due to unclean
working in Yati Overseas since its inception. He has a family that drinking water.”
consists of a wife and 3 young daughters. They all live together in
Panipat. In early 2013, his wife fell seriously ill due to post maternal “If we have money we
complications. She went through a phase of depression and would rather buy a
acute rheumatism. With a salary that was just a handful, and after snack for our children,
meeting basic expenses, Mithilesh was left with almost nothing than a sanitary napkin.“
to provide a decent treatment to his wife. During this time the
medical insurance Fair Trade Program was launched. Mithilesh was “We live in congested
brought into this project and given support for his wife’s treatment. colonies where an
After a year of treatment, his wife got back to normal life. Mithilesh ambulance cannot reach
now understands the value of such programs that provide more us, so we would be
than just financial assistance. He now actively advocates for such happy if we have a tuk-
intervention programs. This not only helped one person but it tuk service to transport
also saved a family and their 3 young daughters to have access patients to hospitals.“
to education and food as their mother was once again healthy to
look after them. This sounds like a simple intervention but if one
looks at it in depth, then if this woman would have lost her life it
would have resulted in these 3 young girls becoming vulnerable
to societal norms, and may have either led to child labour or child
marriage and hence no access to education.
However this project was discontinued in 2015, as the Government of India started a low cost
insurance program for all the citizens of India by paying approximately 6 USD per person, per year.
So the Fair Trade Committee chose to be part of this program by contributing 50% of the annual
premium. The Fair Trade Premium Program is already in full force for about 200 workers.
NUTRITION ON THE CONTRACEPTIVE DISPENSING MACHINES
The contraceptive dispensing machines have
As part of this program, all the been installed in the toilets, so that the workers can have
workers are given one snack and a free access to contraceptives. To go and buy a contraceptive
cup of tea every morning. This is not over the counter is considered taboo amongst this segment
only nutritious but it also leads to of society. One would rather be infected by STD than buy a
a saving of Rs.400 per worker, per contraceptive over the counter.
month, and is of great advantage
to all of them. This has also enabled BICYCLES
the workers to use this money
elsewhere. From the initial group meeting it was established that their
mode of transportation (shared auto rickshaws) was not
AWARENESS OF HYGIENE convenient and safe. In the absence of personally owned
(SEHAT PROGRAM) modes of transportation, this was an expensive means that
drew a considerable amount from their monthly income.
Hygiene is a relative concept
in this part of the world The shared auto rickshaws were not frequently available
and never a necessity for a to commute to their place of work. This resulted in their
healthy life. It is observed reaching work late and at irregular timings.
that access to resources like
safe water, clean toilets, clean The need for bicycles was voted for in the general assembly
combs and clean clothes, to facilitate daily transportation. This has also has a larger
for daily use is considered a impact on the life of the workers outside the factory setting.
luxury in communities where
our workers come from. It has resulted in punctuality of the workers and increased
So after a lot of awareness productivity. It has also enabled them to save about Rs.700
and education amongst the per month which they were earlier spending on commuting.
workers and their family
members, they agreed to a During the regular feedback meeting of the Fair Trade
monthly coupon of Rs.100- Committee the requirement for a cycle stand and a small
150 for each worker. This will tool box for the repair and maintenance of cycles was also
buy toiletries for them and proposed. This was immediately voted for and approved by
their families, and take care the general assembly. The facilities have been provided in
of their basic requirements the factory premises. Now all the cycles are safely parked
for hygiene. and can be repaired within the factory premises. This also
saves them from spending money on repair.
“I want to work for 18 hours a day, as I
do not want to waste my time in a
congested room. I would rather
work and earn more money!
“Children are God’s gift
how can we stop
when god wants
to give them
GIRL CHILD “We do not take vaccination as we do not
PROGRAM trust the health worker!”
In this regard the “We know we should not chew tobacco
Government of India has launched but tobacco chewing reduces the
a large number of schemes in which hunger so that we can save that
the girl child is being given preference for money we spend for food
education. Through the Fair Trade Program we are and can send it home.”
educating the workers and their families on various
available schemes by the Government.
We are helping the workers to save approx. FINANCIAL
Rs.300 per month in favour of the girl LITERACY
child, irrespective of the age, in a neutral
participation manner. This money can be “A person is not poor
withdrawn when the girl child reaches the because he does not have
age of 21 and can be used by her. money, he is poor because he does
not know how to manage money.”-
ACCESS TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER Through various Committee Meetings and
need assessment interventions it was evident
Most of the workers are migrants; they stay in that there was a lack of awareness amongst
rented houses which usually lack proper sanitation, the workers about the available financial
washing and drinking water facilities. The survey programs, initiatives and insurance schemes
conducted for need assessment pointed out that run by the Government. As most of the workers
there was an urgent need to improve the drinking are migrants they tend to keep a small part of
water facility as most of the workers and their their salary with them and send the rest back
family members consume drinking water directly to their family in the village. They consider the
from the source. This resulted in frequent ill health money sent to the village as their saving, but
and absence from work. Thus with the Fair Trade this is spent by the family for daily expense
Premium, the workers voted in, to introduce a and during emergencies. The result is zero
program that facilitates safe drinking water for the saving by the workers. Therefore there is not
workers and their families. only a lack of awareness of available schemes
amongst the workers, but also of the general
In this project with the Fair Trade Premium support, concept of saving.
the factory has installed a Reverse Osmosis Water
Purification System within the factory premises. This program has been taken up in
This is accessible to all workers and not only
provides drinking water for them, but also allows stepwise manner and the initial
them to fill it in campers and take it back home for
their families. and further developments
have been detailed
in the baseline
report. “We are happy
with the free snack in
the evening, as sometimes
this is our dinner during the
last days of the month when we do
not have enough money left in hand!”
“I do not know what
saving means. My saving
is the money I send home!”
“We badly need support to have proper housing
facilities. This will not only enable us to have a single
place to live but also give stability to our lives. Today
the landlord builds 20 houses in a complex and gives
us limited water and other amenities, as he cannot
maintain so many households. Over and above that,
before he gives us the house he makes us sign an
agreement, which states that we are bound to buy
all our groceries and essential items from a shop
run by him within the housing complex. He usually
gives it to us on credit and the cost of every product
here is 10-15% more expensive. This means every
month we have to give him rent plus the charges for
grocery and essential items. He maintains a log of all
the items taken on credit, but we believe he tampers
with the amount. He does not clean the tanks that
store drinking water, nor does he clean the
public utility areas. We are helpless
and feel like we are living a
As part of Fair Trade at Yati Overseas, various Fair Trade
Programs were initiated with a single objective, which was
to bring empowerment of the workers and to change the quality of
life in a sustained way. In order to attain this objective, through the course
of each intervention, at every step we have incorporated not only the feedback of
the worker but also the feedback of their families and the community at large.
Through a robust feedback mechanism, we are encouraging the Fair Trade Committee
to retain and modify projects to achieve their set objectives. The overarching goal of
each of our initiatives is the empowerment of our primary stakeholders (the workers, their
families and the committee) in such a manner that they continue with these programs and
keep adapting them over a period of time to make them sustainable and holistic with minimal
We sincerely thank the Management and employees of Yati Overseas for all their support:
President: Sahabuddin, Pitloom Weaver Cashier: Sanjay Soni, Pitloom Incharge
Vice-president: Lunis, Pitloom Weaver Members: Hari Parsad, Cut-shuttle Master
Secretary: Tarik Anwar, Pitloom Weaver
Joint-Secretary: Prahlad Vikram, Carpet Tufter
Managing member: Anil Kumar, HR & Compliance Riyasat Ali, Pitloom Weaver
Ashik Ali, Pitloom Weaver