Renuka Sayola is not quite sure how to fill-up the plethora of forms. While her hands betray a sense of uncertainty, her eyes are all focussed and reflect her resolve to fight for a cause in which she believes in. The house maid says she is fed up with empty promises from political parties and has decided to contest as an independent from Musheerabad assembly constituency.
“Domestic helps in Hyderabad are the worst sufferers but nobody bothers to protect their basic rights. I may not win or make an impact in these elections, but I want my voice to be heard. I thought this is the best platform,” she says, while filling up the nomination papers on Wednesday.
Given her financial status and limited means, it was not an easy decision to take the plunge. “Everyday, I come across horror stories of domestic helps. They are made scapegoats, ill treated, beaten up badly and even sexually harassed by employees. On most occasions, I am helpless because local politicians and corporators do not bother to help,” she says.
During nights, Renuka’s husband S. Yadaiah works as a security guard and in the day, takes care of the couple’s two young daughters, while she works in the nearby apartments and independent houses. “It’s really hard to raise a deposit of Rs. 10,000 for filing papers. We are taking donations from members of our own ilk to raise some funds for the campaign,” she says.
Despite a shoe string budget, Renuka says that housemaids and their families in and around Musheerabad area understand her fight. “We don’t have health insurance, maternity leave and social security and we struggle to send our children to English medium schools. I want to raise these issues during the campaign,” she says.
Being a member of AP State Domestic Workers Union definitely helps. “Our association members have volunteered their precious time and money for the cause and we will definitely make an impact,” she exudes confidence.