Call to realise contribution of cabin restaurant workers

Kathmandu, February 8:

Positive attitude towards girls/women working in rapidly growing cabin restaurants in the Kathmandu Valley is a key to develop this vocation into a dignified field.

Since this is one of the sectors that is tapping the largest number of unskilled and illiterate women migrating to the Valley, its reorganisation is vital to turn it into a dignified sector.

According to a baseline survey conducted in 55 cabin restaurants by RAHAT, an NGO, in May 2005, 82 per cent did not have any skill and considered themselves unskilled.

Easy access to the sector as it does not call for any particular expertise, has swelled this sector.

Despite its high remuneration besides salary, the girls do not find this profession morally satisfactory.

The survey also revealed that 59 per cent of the girls expressed their dissatisfaction with this job, 32 per cent expressed satisfaction while the remaining did not give any response.

Their regular income ranged between Rs 2,000 to 3,000.

They also added that their income might be above Rs 10,000 depending on the tips. Of the total respondents, 68 per cent utilised their income to support the family.

Fifty-two per cent girls were unaware of the nexus between trafficking and the girls working in cabin restaurants.

Shyam Sundar Sharma, spokesperson at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said: “At present this sector is not considered a favourable one.

Mechanism and regulatory framework are crucial to make this sector dignified and transparent, which would lead a way to make the profession secure with contracts and job appointment letters.”

Professor Dr Madhavi Singh, president of Rahat, said positive attitude is also important to raise awareness about their health and safety measures, which are important to prevent them from being exploited for sex work by their employers.