Migrant Women's Club ( pictures )
The Migrant Women¡¯s Club is China¡¯s first public welfare organization providing services for migrant women who come from the countryside to the city for work. Established in April 7, 1996, the club gives rural migrant women a place of their own. A key characteristic that distinguishes the club is that migrant women themselves run the organization and the majority of the staff are migrant women.
The Migrant Women¡¯s Club aims to protect the legal rights and interests of migrant women, improve their life quality and strengthen their self-development abilities. In order to realize their goals and objectives it organizes a broad spectrum of events and programs, including: Domestic Workers¡¯ Support Network, Group for Upholding Migrant Women¡¯s Rights, Emergency Relief Fund, Migrant Children¡¯s Education, Maternal Health Promotion and so forth.
It provides service and legal aid through telephone hotline and consultations to raise their knowledge of law, awareness of gender equality and citizenship. Most important, the club builds the self-confidence of migrant women and empowers them to protect their own rights and interests.
Providing legal aid to migrant women is a major work of the Club. In 2002, the Law Maintenance Group for Migrant Women was set up to offer legal aid to migrant women. This group now consists of staff members and dozens of volunteers, all who are either lawyers or law students.
Emergency Fund for Migrant Women
In order to provide temporary asylum or emergency aid to migrant women, we raise funds from the public. The funds are used to serve those who undergo sudden illness injury at work, or infringement of personal safety, such as rape, physical abuse or ungrounded dismissal from work. Up to now, 26 migrant women have received aid from the emergency fund.
Domestic Workers Support Network
Most migrant women in Beijing are engaged in service trades, particularly serving as domestic workers. Many of them are young in age and arrive from the poor western regions with little education. They lack basic survival skills and the ability to protect themselves. In July 2003, the Support Network was established to form a linkage between local sending agencies with receiving agencies. The former consists mostly of local women's federations that send young rural women to Beijing, and the latter consists of companies that receive the women and provide domestic workers in Beijing. This network opens communication between the sending and receiving agencies to share knowledge on legal rights, citizenship, and skills training. The network hopes to establish their own organization aimed to protect migrant women's legal rights and interests.
To raise migrant women's writing ability, the Club invites teachers and writers to guide migrant women on how to express personal experiences and life stories in print. Through the publication of their writings, the public can have a better understanding and recognition of migrant women's working and living conditions.
Research and publication
In order to strengthen the connection between domestic and foreign labor organizations, the Migrant Women's Club have sent core members to visit labor organizations in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, the United States among others, and received labor organizations from Shenzhen, Xiamen and abroad. It held two national symposiums on the rights of migrant women in 1999 and 2000 and published two books Cases of Maintaining Legal Rights and Interests for Migrant Workers and the collection of theses, Probe the Laws Concerning Chinese Floating Population.
Psychological instruction through telephone hotline and personal interviews and consultation provide help to its members. These consultations aim to uplift migrant women's self-confidence.
Every weekend, a culture lecture is held on to widen migrant women's vision and enrich their knowledge. The lectures cover topics on law, gender relation, reproduction and psychological health and analysis of economic, social and political affairs.
Every two months, the Club sponsors a get-together to enrich migrant women's lives in their spare time.