Jan Sahas | 2023

Jan Sahas

Unlocking life-enhancing benefits for domestic migrant workers

Domestic migrant workers have built many modern cities. And yet, they are often unable to access the social protections designed to support them. Jan Sahas is working to strengthen delivery systems — and chart the path toward resilience, dignity and safety.

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Jan Sahas client family in a village



Globally, there are three-quarters of a billion workers who migrate within their countries. These internal migrants work on construction sites, in textile manufacturing and agriculture, doing difficult labor. In India alone, which is home to 200 million migrant workers, they directly contribute at least 10% of the country’s $3 trillion GDP. Yet, many of these workers face hunger and debt, unsafe working conditions and forced labor. They exist one job loss or health emergency away from deeper poverty. This is the case even though India has extensive safety nets in place, with over 7,000 benefits and billions of dollars in funding designed to provide benefits like cash transfers, food subsidies and healthcare for migrants and others. However, most simply don’t know about them. Even if they do, the requirements are too complex and numerous to deal with when they also have to earn a daily wage. The money and programs exist. But the delivery system is not working for migrants.

Big Idea

Jan Sahas started the Migrants Resilience Collaborative (MRC) in 2020 to support domestic migrant workers in South and Southeast Asia, starting in India. MRC uses a two-pronged strategy to help migrants secure access to the benefits and worker protections for which they are eligible from the government. First, their field teams — themselves from migrant communities — make sure workers and their families in the most isolated circumstances are able to get benefits. Second, they support the government in strengthening infrastructure and employers in increasing support for workers. Over the next five years, Jan Sahas will supercharge these interlocking strategies to directly support 10 million vulnerable migrant households — over 15 million workers — and help an additional 20 million more through systems change. This will enable migrant workers to be more socially and economically resilient, and serve as a blueprint for other countries too.


MRC will work across 100 districts in India, through their 1,000-plus member field staff. Field staff will build awareness around benefits, accompany households through the process of accessing them and, through a toll-free hotline, support them in redressing unsafe working conditions and instances of exploitation alongside law enforcement officials. They will also build the capacity of communities to sustain access going forward. At the same time, MRC will leverage their deep understanding from direct work with these communities to collaborate with government and employers, and ultimately strengthen underlying delivery systems. This includes supporting state agencies in design, development and implementation of tech-enabled delivery infrastructure to address the specific barriers migrants face, and working with large employers and their investors to make social protections for workers a standard part of business practice.

Why will it Succeed?

Jan Sahas has more than two decades of experience of working with migrant worker communities in India. In the last two years alone, MRC has scaled its work to nearly 100 districts in 13 states, facilitating social security benefits for more than 2.3 million migrant workers and unlocking over $100 million in government benefits on their behalf. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many already vulnerable people further into poverty and walked back years of progress, with Jan Sahas and other organizations bringing the unique vulnerability of migrants into the national spotlight. There is momentum and a desire to act — from the government, industry and the public.

Project Impact

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