Home-Based Workers Speak

Lucy Nyambura, Home-Based Worker, Presents at Global ConferenceLucy Nyambura

"We work 'shoulder to shoulder'" -- (Bega kwa Bega)

Lucy Nyambura is a home-based worker from the self-help group, Bega-kwa-Bega, Nairobi, Kenya. She lives and works in an informal settlement in Nairobi and is the mother of four children. The group is engaged in tie and dye, fabrics, weaving baskets, beadwork, necklaces and earrings. They are members of the Kenya Federation for Alternative Trade (KEFAT), part of the fair trade movement.

 “As home-based workers we are facing the same problems. Key challenges are lack of infrastructure, social welfare and no markets. The economy is going down. We have to become strong and work together.” -- Lucy Nyambura


Shova Chhetri, Home-Based WorkerShova Chhetri, HBW and the first member of SABAH, Nepal

Shova Chhetri is a home-based worker involved in stitching. Through trainings given by HomeNet South Asia and SEWA, she graduated to become a supervisor, working with 30 HBWs.

“Through membership of the organization there have been many positive changes. One is definitely my income, my self-esteem, dignity and my family and the society I live in. My only wish is that many million more sisters should get the opportunity that I did.… I would like to request all the sisters, to get united and build solidarity and if we speak together there is no government that will not listen to us.”


Gabby Olguin, Home-Based Worker, at Global ConferenceGabby Olguin

Gabby Olguin is a home-based worker from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who spends her week producing goods to take to the weekly market. She started organizing in 2008 after a series of police evictions of her and fellow artisans. Today, her COOP, “El Adoquin,” has 300 members who are spread over four blocks and have helped to legalize their fair. We defend ourselves together, she says. “Our slogan is touch one, touch everyone.”


Josephine Parilla, Home-Based Worker at Global ConferenceJosephine Parilla

Josephine is a home-based worker from the Philippines and a “jack of all trades.” She produces footwear, such as bedroom slippers, as well as soap. Josephine moved from the formal to the informal sector in 1987 when she had four children to raise. She began to sew while her kids were at school and her business quickly blossomed. She invested in more sewing machines and had four sewers, neighborhood women similarly in search of home-based employment. She says that if she were given more years, she would use those to work toward women’s empowerment.


Haneefa Fathimath, Home-Based Worker, at Global ConferenceHaneefa Fathimath

Haneefa is 45 years old and processes food out of her home for sale. As a home-based worker in Maldives, she belongs to Adu Trade Cooperative. In between her work, though, Haneefa is also a mother of six children. She wakes up at 5:00 a.m. every morning for her prayers and to ensure everyone is ready for school and fed. Haneefa says she loves working out of her home, because she can help her kids and take care of her home.