Tearfund’s Impact Investing initiative has helped our Indian partner Saahasee to launch GladRose, a nursing care services social enterprise.
For over 17 years, Saahasee has established savings-based Self-Help Groups and Women’s Cooperatives, which today engage close to 40,000 women from slum communities in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. Through these groups, and Saahasee’s reputation for offering care and compassion to marginalised people, the organisation’s credibility began to grow amongst middle-income families and corporate institutions.
A few years back, Saahasee provided care workers in response to requests from working professionals requiring basic healthcare support for ill or ageing family members.
“In both cases, we were able to provide the care workers and it was highly appreciated. The families asserted that they appreciated Saahasee care providers as they were a lot more courteous, caring and engaged,” shares Eddie Mall, Saahasee’s director. “This gave us the impetus and the ‘eureka moment’ for developing the business idea of setting up GladRose – Nursing Care Services as a social enterprise. We were inspired to build a Christian quality care service to the city, and at the same time, provide dignified employment for women in our network.”
We were inspired to build a Christian quality care service to the city, and at the same time, provide dignified employment for women in our network.
GladRose provides a three-month intensive training course in conjunction with a renowned hospital, to equip their care providers to handle supportive care professionally. They are then engaged in roles in homes of middle to upper income class families or in hospitals.
In the 2 years since launching GladRose, Eddie shares that positive impacts are clearly being seen amongst the women involved, the families they support, and the wider community.
“We are seeing that women whom we train from the slum communities are able to generate an income as well as gain respect and acceptance from these families and hospitals. This has in turn increased their levels of self and social worth.”
Families have remarked on GladRose’s endeavours to provide a professional service in what is typically an informal sector.
“They often commend the quality of GladRose care providers and say that they feel more secure having them into their homes due to their regular health checks, timeliness and affiliations.”
Saahasee’s vision is for GladRose to grow and impact many more women in the slum communities, while serving a need in families and hospitals. Achieving this is not without its challenges, but Eddie and the team are encouraged by the resilience and adaptability of the women, and changing attitudes amongst the community.
“At first, some families of our care workers believed that working at clients’ homes is unsafe and insecure, and they also disapproved of doing night shifts. That started to change when care workers shared that it was quite the opposite and that they were treated like family and felt very safe at their clients’ homes. On some occasions, we have had to deal with clients enquiring covertly about the background of our care providers. This often reflects prejudices and stereotyping towards certain communities, caste and religions that is still prevalent in India. While we expect this issue to come up occasionally, we are working towards changing these views.”
“Despite these challenges, the enthusiasm of these women in their newfound self-worth, as well as positive feedback from clients, has given us the encouragement to keep going. We are witnessing GladRose’s vision of empowering these women and our approach to quality care service is starting to gain increasing acceptance and support.”
GladRose is supporting home-quarantined patients – many whose incomes and livelihoods were significantly impacted. The support of our care workers has also been greatly welcomed in three hospitals whose capacity has been overwhelmed.
COVID-19 has presented new challenges too: the pandemic has deepened the need for healthcare support services, yet hampered GladRose’s operations significantly due to lockdowns.
“While in lockdown, we were preparing ourselves to be ready to respond when required,” Eddie explains. “Via digital technology, we have trained our care providers regarding containment, safe distancing, identification and personal protection so that they can adhere to all safety protocols in their work.”
After two months of lockdown, GladRose was organised to work in tandem with the government representatives and municipal authorities to respond to COVID-19.
“GladRose is supporting home-quarantined patients – many whose incomes and livelihoods were significantly impacted – through administering rations, symptomatic treatment, referrals to hospitals and transportation for COVID-19 emergencies. The support of our care workers has also been greatly welcomed in three hospitals whose capacity has been overwhelmed. This has enhanced our credibility with the hospitals further as we seek to work closer with them post-COVID-19.”
GladRose still has a long way to go before it is established, but Tearfund is excited to witness how impact investing is opening up new possibilities for a long-term partner like Saahasee. Please pray for GladRose as they continue to build as a social enterprise during this unique and challenging season. Pray for protection as the trainers and employees serve the GladRose Mission, and that, while adhering to restrictions and safe distancing, GladRose workers will bring an expression of God’s love as they touch hearts and minister holistically.