Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Sunday said heat caused by climate change poses an additional challenge to women workers in informal sectors and a global 'Climate Resilience Fund' will help tackle this challenge.
Addressing members of Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad on the first day of her two-day visit to the state, Ms Clinton said a group of concerned people has come together to help start the climate resilience fund which will be the first-of-its-kind in the world.
"You've overcome so many obstacles, broken through so many barriers. But now you face an additional challenge--the challenge that climate change presents--of heat," Hillary Clinton said at the event to mark 50 years of SEWA as a trade union and to pay homage to its founder and renowned social activist Ela Bhatt.
"Whether you're in construction, or you are in waste recycling, or you are in plastic, or you are a street vendor, or you are a farmer, whatever you are, your challenge to make an income to support yourselves and work throughout the days of overwhelming heat will be the next big problem that SEWA will help you try to resolve," she said.
Hillary Clinton said she had spoken to SEWA director Reemaben Nanavati over the new struggle heat was presenting as it would affect every job that members of the women's trade union represents.
Speaking on the 'Global Climate Resilience Fund',Ms Clinton said Clinton Global Initiative, Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Algorand Foundation, Council for Inclusive Capitalism, and the American India Foundation will be working with SEWA.
"These will be some of the partners with SEWA to begin to address this very significant challenge. We are going to be working over the next months and years with SEWA and all of these committed organisations and others who will join, because this is not a problem just for SEWA," she said.
Anyone who has to go outside for work, like police officers, firefighters, as well as people in every walk of life going in and out to work in heat, would need the kind of help and support this project pioneered by SEWA will provide, she said.
She said SEWA's advice would be needed on various issues, like the kind of tools or gloves or cooling or insurance, as its members are experts who can best say what help was needed to deal with the heat from climate change.
SEWA members, including a construction worker, head loader, waste recycler, shared their stories and experience with the organisation and how it helped them overcome obstacles.
"Your stories are stories of courage, determination and inspiration. You have created new opportunities for yourselves, for your families, for your communities," Ms Clinton said, adding it was probably the reason why SEWA's membership more than quadrupled to 2.5 million since she was here in 1995.
"I hope you know there are women around the world who follow your examples, who themselves are self-employed, seeking a better life for themselves and their children. You have come so very far, and I am so incredibly honoured to have made some of the journeys with you," Ms Clinton said.
Hillary Clinton also unveiled a plaque in tribute to Ela Bhatt at Victoria garden, now called Lokmanya Tilak garden, in the city depicting the journey of SEWA as a women's movement.
Along with Ms Clinton, floral tribute was also paid by Varun Mehta of the Torrent Group, whose Foundation, along with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, has created a memorial for Ms Bhatt at the site.
On Monday, Hillary Clinton will visit Surendranagar district of Gujarat to meet salt pan workers and understand the farming process and announce Climate Resilience Fund.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)