Focus: Livelihoods, Women
DUE to resource and informational gaps, health services often do not reach economically disadvantaged populations. SEWA identify chronic health issues in thousands of urban and rural communities and provide targeted solutions through a mix of preventative and treatment care, interactive sessions and campaigns on issues like maternal care, menstrual hygiene, malnutrition and sanitation, and health camps. Each information session costs ₹1,200 and delivers services to 20 women and families.
SEWA conduct several market-led skills training programmes to help women from marginalised communities overcome their education and skills gap and choose a career. These include computer literacy training, hospitality management, fashion design, et al. The women are also mentored with an emphasis on soft skills to help them establish strong social networks and gain in confidence. Over 10,000 across six states have been trained so far. ₹1,150 will give one woman employment and independence.
SOCIAL security schemes are critical for low-income group families but often illiteracy and a lack of awareness mean these rarely reach their intended beneficiaries. SEWA operate community centres that provide a service point for women to learn about and access public welfare schemes, seek legal services and connect to SEWA programmes. Last year 30,000 women benefited from 18 such centres. Every ₹1,000 will give five women access to schemes such as ration cards and educational subsidies.
I can see SEWA’s changes in our community and with me personally. I’m also an aagewan and love helping others solve problems. People no longer call me 'wife of my husband' or 'daughter of my father', they use my name. I have an identity in the community.
From SEWA's agriculture training I learned how to increase my yield, turn livestock waste into products and switch to bio gas. I spend less on food and fertiliser, earn more from selling waste and have improved my health by using a cleaner way of cooking.
Being a master weaver taught me the importance of working together. I became an aagewan [group leader] with SEWA as I wanted to build a future for our community. The biggest change is our awareness of rights - especially when I negotiate with contractors.
I don’t work for contractors anymore. I've invested my wages in my family and myself. I did my political science degree at Delhi University and learned embroidery and computer skills at SEWA Youth Resource Centre. I hope I'm a role model to my siblings.
Three years into the self-help group, I took a loan to start a small shop to follow a passion of mine to sell accessories like necklaces, earrings, cosmetics and skin creams. Now I’m able to take control of my income and pay our household expenses easily.
- Renana Jhabvala President
- Sanchita Mitra National Coordinator