Every urban household in India employs at least one domestic worker, and it is the fastest-growing sector for women's employment. Approximately 50 million women are employed as maids, contributing to 13% of the country’s GDP. However, 94% of these women lack any form of social protection. They live in a cycle of poverty, abuse, and poor health causing high attrition within the industry. Even though many employers provide extra money for medical expenses and savings, due to the informal nature of this sector this extra money is often misused by male family members.
Both the employers and maids are looking to formalize these benefits through a trustworthy system. Employers want to ensure that their money is being used for the intended causes and create a desirable workplace for their maids to retain labour. Maids want to secure their futures, without patriarchal structures holding them back.
Himayat is a digital benefits and HR management platform for domestic workers and their employers. By tapping into existing employer employee networks, we are able to unify an extremely fragmented labour market to provide subsidized health insurance and financial saving benefits through strategic partnerships with providers.
Our USP is that our product is the first of its kind. We save employers time and money to retain high-quality labour and provide critical protections to maids. Existing companies are only focused on staffing services and do not provide benefits. Thus their solution is temporary and employers still struggle with retaining good quality labour. Maids continue to be exploited by these employer focused companies. Himayat has been designed for both employers and employees to sustain long term relationships.
There is an untapped market of 72 billion dollars within India alone. In fact, several countries with similar workforces could benefit from our innovation.
Every member of the Himayat founding team has been raised by domestic workers. From cooking and cleaning to providing care and protection, our maids have been involved in every aspect of our lives since the day we were born. As we grew older, it became painfully obvious that these women were stuck in an endless cycle of poverty & abuse. Despite being breadwinners within their families, and working tirelessly to serve ours, they had little to no control over their finances or health. Alcoholic husbands and fathers were a common denominator across our maids who often showed up to work with physical bruises and drained savings. Our families would offer additional money to support them but due to a lack of formal structure and accountability the intended benefits were never realised.
Our story isn’t unique – in fact it is the reality of 500 million families in India alone. Himayat is our way of giving back to the women who raised us. Our academic backgrounds in social entrepreneurship, business, public policy, law and understanding domestic abuse have uniquely positioned us to tackle this challenging issue. We hope to disrupt the informal labour economy to make it more profitable, equitable and ethical.
"We are so grateful that NACUE Tata Varsity Pitch gave us the platform to raise the extremely challenging issue of informal labour rights. The semi-finals allowed us to reflect on our venture and learn from our peers to better position ourselves for success. As we prepare to represent the Social Impact Category in the finals, we are looking forward to working closely with the incredible staff and industry professionals at both NACUE and Tata and are excited to share our venture with the world!"
- Don’t be disheartened by losses in initial venture competitions. They’re an incredible opportunity to learn from peers and modify the impact
- Ensure that you have the right co-founder fit not just technically but also in socio-emotional aspects. Build a team that you would want to take on this challenging journey with.
- Skills can be learnt. Don’t be paralysed if you don’t have particular subject expertise but have a vision for impact. Focus on the impact you want to create and seek out resources that can help you build that expertise.
- Let your passion drive your work! Find meaning beyond profits in the impact that you want to create.