In the name of members women become owners of

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in the name of members, women become owners of property which would ordinarily have been owned by male members of the family. Ownership of assets As discussed above, loans from SEWA Bank have allowed women to own productive assets. A third of SEWA’s urban members reported an increase in assets. However, the value of these assets was lower than the assets owned by male members of the same household. SEWA Bank did help women in owning financial assets as most members had savings accounts and a majority of the women were able to save some money on a regular basis.
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The SEWA Case Study 28 4.3 Social security Improved housing More than 90% of SEWA members in Ahmedabad live in slums or tenements once built by cotton mill owners for their workers. In both cases there is a question mark over the legal status of their dwellings. This is a great source of mental stress to the members. Lack of adequate housing in terms of size and quality was another major handicap for SEWA members. A large number of them are home-based workers and their living quarters double up as work space for them. This is also where they store raw material and finished products. As the semi-permanent dwelling units are not weather proof and these goods are often damaged by rain, sun and dust, leading to financial loss to members. Most urban members lacked basic infrastructure including water supply, electricity and drainage connections as well as street lighting, water drains and underground sewerage in their neighbourhood. Rural houses too were without water and toilets. In the absence of toilets women had to wait until dark to relieve themselves and this caused not just physical discomfort but also bowel and bladder problems. Kuccha (semi-permanent) houses also needed repair more often, thus requiring both time and money. With loans from the SEWA Bank and technical inputs from the Housing Trust, members were able to buy new houses and expand and repair old ones. 82% of rural members and 61% of urban members had renovated their homes. Provision of electricity connections at home allowed them longer hours at work, thus increasing income earning opportunities. Easy availability of water reduced the time devoted each day to collecting water, and also allowed members to maintain a higher level of hygiene. Access to toilets reduced discomfort and the humiliation of having to relieve themselves in the open. In a nutshell, provision of basic infrastructure had resulted in improved health, increased school enrolment, increased scope for home-based income earning opportunity, longer work hours and greater productivity.
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Tackling Social and Economic Determinants of Health through Women’s Empowerment 29 Box 1: Partnership for change: The parivartan programme One of the foremost objectives of SEWA’s Mahila Housing Trust is to improve the housing and infrastructure conditions and overall living environment of SEWA members. A large number of SEWA members live in slums where living conditions are most appalling. Mahila Housing Trust (MHT), in partnership with Ahmedabad
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  • Fall '08
  • Staff
  • ........., SEWA

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