Freeing women and their families from the clutches of the hazardous tobacco industry by providing an alternative sustainable employment
Solapur in Maharashtra state in India is a hub of the handmade cigarette rolling industry. Workers in this industry are primarily women and face severe health issues due to continuous tobacco exposure. The business is also facing threats from competition and automation in the industry resulting in unemployment. Rolling 1,500 cigarettes a day provides workers merely $2 a day while also exposing them and their families to tobacco as the work is carried out at their homes. As a solution to this issue, Jnana Prabodhini Solapur started creating opportunities for alternate employment, by launching this initiative in 2020 during COVID. This initiative provides alternative sustainable employment in the form of cloth and paper bag-making. Currently, the focus of the initiative is to provide livelihood from a non-hazardous working environment and match the income from cigarette rolling. To support this initiative, JPF launched Campaign Mukti to liberate cigarette-rolling women from this hazardous work. Now, 30 women craft paper and cloth bags instead.