Under CAF Certification, workers are involved in the design of due diligence mechanisms. They are engaged at the start point, not the end point. To reflect this process, CAF has employed a Worker Engagement Officer, Pritika Karmacharya, to assist CAF Reps and cleaners in engaging with and understanding the certification process and ongoing compliance with the CAF 3 Star Standard. As a previous CAF Rep and cleaner, Pritika brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and empathy to her role. We asked Pritika a few questions about her thoughts on the role so far:
What do you enjoy about your role as Worker Engagement Officer at CAF? I really enjoy being part of the CAF team and working for the betterment of cleaners. I was previously a cleaner and CAF Rep before starting work at CAF, so I can really connect to CAF’s mission and relate to the cleaners I work with in my role.
How did you find the transition from being a cleaner to Worker Engagement Officer at CAF? Being a cleaner I knew what to expect in my day-to-day job. Working for CAF is different, no two days are the same. At first, I found it challenging because I had to learn a whole new set of skills. I still struggle sometimes, but now, if I experience something challenging at work, I’m confident that I can handle it. It was a hard transition, but not a bad one, I’m already starting to see positive changes.
What did you enjoy about working as a cleaner and CAF Rep? At my previous workplace, most of the cleaners I worked with were like my family. We were all from Nepal and new to Australia, so we formed a very close bond. Having someone who can understand you because you do the same work for the same company is really important. When something happened to one of us, it felt like it happened to all of us; We were there for one another and would help each other out.
What are your hobbies? I enjoy cooking. I’ve been cooking so much recently and experimenting with new foods. Last week I cooked a curry with eggplant, and this week I cooked a curry with pumpkin: two ingredients I’d never tried cooking with before. Sometimes I cook without a recipe to see how it will turn out but, often, I will get recipes from my mum. When there’s something that I crave, like a taste from Nepal, I just call my mom or send her a text: “Hey, how do I cook this? Tell me your recipe.”
What’s your favourite food? I really love Puri Tarkari. It’s a curry with potatoes and beans and peas served with a really thin roti, called a Puri. The curry, the Tarkari, is served in a ball and the Puri, which looks like a really thin tortilla, comes on the side. When you have it together it’s so delicious. It’s my favourite food; the thing I love having. I can make the curry, but I haven’t been able to successfully make the puri unfortunately, It’s something I really want to learn how to do in future.
What are you most looking forward to this year? I’m really looking forward to my mum coming here to visit me in September. It will be the first time she’s come to visit me in Australia in the 5 years I’ve been living here. I’m hoping to learn so many things from her while she’s here, especially her cooking. A lot of things I cook on my own do not turn out how I want them to; Sometimes I undercook things, and sometimes I overcook things. I’ve got a list of foods I’d like for her to teach me to cook while she’s here, and I’m really excited to learn from her.
Pritika Karmacharya is a Worker Engagement Officer at CAF. Previously a cleaner herself, Pritika knows first-hand the challenges cleaners face and uses this knowledge to inform her role. To get in touch with Pritika about worker engagement at CAF, email: firstname.lastname@example.org