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Just people like us.... What do  we  have  in  common  with  workers  in  developing  countries?   The  purpose  of  this  activity  is  to  identify  common  interests  between  workers  in  developing  countries  with  workers  in  New  Zealand.  Sometimes  it  can  seem  as  if  our  own  worries  and  preoccupations  bear  little  relationship  to  those  of  families  struggling  to  make  ends  meet  in  poor  countries.  But  in  fact,  like  workers everywhere, these men and women have the same hopes  and dreams for themselves and their families as we do.      After  reading  the  excerpt  over  the  page,  think  about  and  discuss  the  general  connections  between  the  lives  of  these  workers  and  the lives of workers in New Zealand:    • What are the similarities?   • What are the differences?     How  would  you  use  this  information  creatively  to  help  workers  here  in  New  Zealand  identify  with  their  colleagues  in  developing  countries.  What  messages  would  you  emphasise  to  engage  workers here and encourage them to support UnionAid?     For extra information:   See Fact Sheets 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10      Meena Kadrii

How can we measure wealth?  Amartya  Sen  is  a  famous  Indian  economist  and  writer  who  argues  that the true measure of wealth should be freedom. For him freedom  from poverty means not just having a reasonable income, though this  obviously is important. But it is also about democracy and being able  to  take  part  in  community  and  political  life.  For  this,  people  in  developing  countries  must  be  healthy,  well  fed  and  literate.  This  means they need access to adequate food, clean water, health care  and  education.  But  for  people  in  developed  countries  like  New  Zealand,  there  may  be  other  barriers  to  participating  in  community  and political life. What are some of the things that may prevent full  participation by adults and children in community and political life in  New Zealand?   The  Indian  constitution  gave  every  Indian  equality  and  the  right  to  vote. Other legal protections include the right to a decent living, free  education,  and  the  right  to  practice  any  religion.  But  many  Dalit  (untouchable)  and  Tribal  (indigenous)  people  have  never  been  to  school and don’t know about these legal rights. So NGOs and unions  often  have  to  focus  on  informing  people  about  their  legal  entitlements  and  how  best  to  get  them.  In  spite  of  this,  the  World  Bank has found that very few NGOs in developing countries help the  poor challenge those in power like politicians and employers.  

PROUD TO BE UNION Union identity cards have stopped police harassment of some Indian cremation workers, according to Allahasami, the Cremation Workers’ Union president. After joining the Tamil Nadu Labour Union (TNLU) these illiterate workers asked for a union membership card. They now carry these ID cards, which they designed themselves, at all times as a safeguard against police intimidation and harassment. For them, the card is not only proof of union membership but a concrete symbol of their new status as human beings. The lives of these workers have changed dramatically. Those in authority now listen to their demands and treat them with dignity. They are no longer beaten or harassed and are now paid a small monthly wage by the village council. They can afford to send their children to school and, like parents everywhere, they hope that education will give their children the choices and opportunities they never had.

UNionAID Activitysheet4  
UNionAID Activitysheet4  

After reading the excerpt over the page, think about and discuss the general connections between the lives of these workers and the lives of...