The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) has been driving the growth of the Indian Apparel Industry for years. The Duties and the Responsibilities undertaken by the Association have gradually expanded and diversified to accommodate the growi
A profile of CMAI’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) sub-committee
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) division of CMAI was created ten years ago for the benefit of the workers of the garment industry. Headed by a senior member of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India, Mr V M Kulkarni, many healthcare activities for the workers and valuable initiatives for various social causes have been undertaken by the CSR division.
Speaking about the start of this project, Mr Kulkarni said, “The CSR arm of the CMAI was founded in 2007, to aid and benefit the various workers of the clothing Industry. The inaugural activities were carried out in Mumbai, in the form of three eye check-up camps in April 2007 at Ashish Industrial Estate in Dadar, Interlink Industrial Estate in Jogeshwari, and at Saibaba Mandir Compound, Malad Shopping Centre, Malad.” The camps were conducted by CMAI in association with Vision Foundation of India, a Non-Governmental Organisation working for Eye Care Services of the poorest of the poor of society.
Mr Kulkarni said, “In these camps, we realised that 75 per cent of the workers needed spectacles and 54 were suffering from cataracts. Some of them worked in very poor light and their eyesight was affected, so this was a much needed activity.” 139 workers were referred to the charitable hospital run by Vision Foundation of India at Babulnath, for further follow-up.
In the camps, electronic checks were carried out by a team of ophthalmologists. A total of 1,815 workers attended the camps and 1,098 spectacles were given free-of-charge to the needy. “We conducted more such camps in Bellary, Bangalore and Peenya Industrial estates in subsequent years,” he said.
BLOOD DONATION CAMPS
The CMAI had set up a blood donation Camp at the 62nd National Garment Fair (NGF). Speaking about this initiative, Mr Mohan Sadhwani, Executive Director of CMAI said, “The blood donation camp was for a social cause. The CMAI provided the space, set-up and promoted the Blood Donation drive which was organised in association with Tata Hospital, Department of Transfusion Medicine, wherein it was an appeal to the guests, exhibitors and visitors at the NGF to donate blood. The camp was set up for two days during the January event and the donors were given a blood card, which will be useful to them in time of need.”
CLOTHING FOR KIDS
Since the past few years, CMAI’s managing committee members have been appealing to children’s clothing manufacturers and brands to donate their surplus stock, which is then given to an organisation called ‘ Salaam Baalak Trust’
that works for street children. Talking about the same, Mr Sadhwani said, “Till date, we have sent them almost 1500 pieces. These are unused and undamaged clothes which are collected by CMAI and sent to them and brands like Gini & Jony, many kidswear manufacturers, as well as fashion institutes like B D Somani have come forward to donate clothes for these kids.”
“We collect these clothes once a year or once in two years and send them to Salaam Baalak Trust. All the manufactures and brands are always more than happy to contribute to this cause,” he said.
Speaking about CMAI’s commitment to the society, Kulkarni said, “Even before the CSR committee was formed, the CMAI had made contributions to the victims of the Bhuj Earthquake and the 2004 Tsunami. We collected fabrics, clothing, and whatever was necessary and available from our members and sent them to the affected areas. We did the same for the recent Chennai floods. Industry members from these areas are roped in and the work towards these social causes is carried out with their help.”
In 2018, CMAI plans to revive the CSR division to chart out a calendar of events with a focus on Health and Education activities, keeping in mind the needs of the workers.
Elucidating this initiative, Mr Kulkarni said, “All these years we have been carrying out random activities from time to time, but from this year onwards we are going to have a calendar of events like eye-check up camps, health check-up camps and supervisory training.”
Expounding on these activities he said, “Starting this year we are planning to do one health check-up camp in Mumbai and one outside Mumbai, every year. We would like to take our eye and health check up drive to places like Solapur in Maharastra, Tamil Nadu, and Indore in Madhya Pradesh, where there are a significant number of small-scale industries. In the forthcoming year, we will be carrying out activities in these three places, as well as identifying more places where we can take such camps, for the benefit of the workers in those areas.”
“The problem of eyesight is very critical since the workers have to strain their eyes while working on garments. This process damages their eyes and affects not only them but also the productivity and the longevity of the labourers, stunting their contribution to the production cycle. In such places, we will be educating the factory owners about appropriate lighting in the workplace, so that the workers don’t have to work in poorly lit conditions,” he said. In the future, CSR will also conduct blood check-up camps for the workers so that cases of diabetes or high BP can be diagnosed. Workers with ailments will be directed to charitable hospitals, where CMAI will assist in their medication.
With a focus on educating the current workforce to upgrade themselves, the CSR unit is keen on starting a Workers Training Programme.
Explaining the idea, Mr Kulkarni said, “We are thinking of starting programmes to upgrade the workers by training them, so that they can become employable on an upper grade as supervisors. Good workers with sufficient educational background will be picked out and trained through these programmes. We are planning to start this from the month of April this year. The first of these training sessions will happen at our Asmeeta Apparel Park, in Kalyan.”
CMAI is also looking at roping in young individuals who are willing to make a career in the garment industry by introducing new programmes for them. Regarding this, Mr Kulkarni said, “We are thinking of starting short courses of around 6 to 8 months for fresh graduates from the Science stream, or Diploma holders, and train them so that they can become employable in the apparel industry. They will be trained in work-study methods, efficiency requirements, productivity calculations, etc. According to this model, we will also give them an opportunity to earn some stipend while they are learning. The structure will be such that four hours will be for learning and four hours would be for working on the factory floor. As a CSR initiative, these courses will be subsidised and more affordable compared to other institutes, so that it is accessible for students from humble backgrounds. The training centres will also be located around garment hubs. We are in the process of developing this model and starting these programmes by mid 2018.”
FROM IDEA TO EXECUTION
In pursuit of its commitment to social causes and in line with its declared objective of giving back to the Garment Industry, the CMAI is working continuously on its CSR initiatives, and is dedicated to keep doing it in the future.
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) sub-committee of CMAI has taken small but vital steps in the past to fulfil their responsibility towards the industry and society through medical camps, donations and calamity support. This year, with new plans, the CMAI is all set to revive CSR initiatives with earmarked events.