Focus: bonded labor
Jeevika follow a rights based and also a holistic approach. It combines a variety of strategies in tackling bonded labour. The Constitution of India prohibits, as a Fundamental Right, traffic in human beings, begar and other forms of forced labour and the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 effective since 25 October 1975 contains a number of radical provisions for the elimination of bonded labour. The fundamental right of a person is violated when she / he is made to work as a bonded labourer. The law stipulates punishment of the offender and rehabilitation of the victim in such a way that the person does not relapse into further bondage. But because of the caste and class biases of the implementing authorities, many of who are from the so called higher castes and landlord families, hardly anything is done under the Act. And because of the rampant illiteracy and ignorance of dalits and tribals who were forbidden any education for ages and the sophisticated system of justice in India, a majority of the bonded labourers are unaware of the constitutional provisions on their behalf and the statutes protecting them.
Jeevika seeks to implement the Act and other relevant statutes by lobbying and advocacy with the government and its various agencies on the one hand and by mobilising, conscientizing and organising bonded labourers together with landless agricultural workers. Towards this end, a union of bonded labourers and agricultural workers is formed and registered in 1997 under the Trade Union Act. Through the unionisation, a number activities for conscientization are also carried out. Further, as a strategy for effective community mobilisation, all the activists are from dalit communities.
Other strategies used include training and cultural action; accessing government welfare and developmental schemes and promoting self help groups; networking and the use of media; reflection and inculcating scientific outlook; study, research and documentation.