Women workers in the informal economy are exploited by middlemen, face constant risk of job loss, and bear the brunt of economic shocks. By organizing women into working collectives, they are empowered to demand fair employment and decent working conditions. SEWA Bharat facilitates direct market linkages to create ethical and transparent supply chains that link informal workers to domestic and international companies and eliminate middlemen. To ensure sustainability of women’s livelihoods, SEWA Bharat women members engage in training to build their technical skills and business capacities. Using an integrated approach, SEWA Bharat connects women to diverse development activities.


  • 5 SEWA Bharat supported women’s run producer companies and cooperatives around India
  • 1,976 poor women workers empowered as shareholders
  • 3,121* SEWA Bharat members earned fair wages through diverse livelihood programs(*Total: 60 silk weavers + 150 Katihar saundarya sathi (community waste collector) + 1,386 agarbatti (incense) worker+ 450 Delhi-based artisans for Ruaab SEWA + 75 Bareilly-based artisans for Ruaab SEWA + 1,000 women farmers in Uttarakhand)
  • Wages worth Rs. 1,69,95,700 earned by SEWA Bharat women cooperative members

Importance of cooperative model

  • Builds a political and social identity for women workers
  • Demands legal and economic recognition from the government and mainstream economy
  • Promotes women as leaders
  • Acts as a platform to build alliances and supportive networks
  • Connects women to services that would otherwise be out of reach (i.e. finance and credit)
  • Reduces risk but also pools resources

Table of cooperative details

Institution name Location Product(s) Production members Shareholder members Production (Rs.)
SEWA Udyogik Swabalambi Sahakari Samiti, Ltd. (2005) Munger, Bihar Raw incense (agarbatti) sticks 1,337 women 722 women Rs. 92,42,259
SEWA Shram Sugand- hit Producer Company Ltd. (2008) Munger, Bihar Scented incense (agarbatti) sticks 49 women 228 women Rs. 2,51,636
SEWA Saheli Bunkar Sahkari Samiti Ltd. (2010) Bhagalpur, Bihar Handloom textiles, silk 60 people (30 SEWA members + husbands) 101 women Rs. 11,89,855
Ruaab SEWA Artisans Producers Company Ltd. (2010)** Delhi, National Capital Region Embroidery, women’s clothes, accessories 450 Delhi-based + 75 Bareilly- based artisans 750 women Rs. 57,49,389
SEWA Ekta Automonous Producer Co-op Society (2013) Uttarakhand Organic spices (chilli, tumeric, etc.) 1,000 farmers 125 women Rs. 1,27,000


Annual Report

SEWA Bharat Annual Report 2013