Case Studies


Sabramem Case Study jodhpur

Sabramem is a bandej worker, mother of three, SEWA aagewan, and most importantly, an active role model for women everywhere regardless of class, caste, or religion. Sabramem is engaging in two SEWA skill-building courses to enhance her capacity to be financially independent and open her own business. Sabramem is also benefitting through the SEWA Shakti Kendra’s social security support system for poor working-women.

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Pooja’s Story

Pooja, 23, comes from a struggling community in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, but she has managed to get training, a job placement, and earn a steady monthly salary in a local beauty parlour through SEWA Bharat’s SYRC (SEWA Youth Resource Center).

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“I got married while in university and I was lucky I was able to finish my degree. It is tradition for the wife to take over the house after marriage—but I wanted to work in beauty. I needed more training and hands on experience to find a job—my in-laws strongly disapproved and I faced a lot of discouragement from my husband’s family. But this was my dream and I wanted to pursue this for my family’s future and myself.
I learned about SEWA and their and the skill development classes they offered—it was almost too perfect to believe because I could afford it and finish the classes each day in time to fulfill my household duties. I remember at the start of the program having so many questions on the machines and techniques beauty parlors were using when we visited local shops—and now I’m using them every day.
I found a job, a dream job, at a local beauty parlor and am saving a third of my income so that in the future I can open my own parlor and support my family independently. I found a lot of support and love from my mentors and peers that motivated me each day—it was unlike anything I experienced in any schooling. The only thing else I want to say is that girls need to have skills in their hand. Girls should be independent.”


Sitara’s Story

Sitara, a Ruaab SEWA home-based worker, says,

“Since working for SEWA, I feel like I am able to express myself.”

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For migrant workers in Delhi, a new life is a welcomed change. But it comes with startling challenges. When Sitara and her family left their village in Uttar Pradesh, she never imagined the difficult living conditions they would face in Sundernagari, a former slum area on the outskirts of East Delhi. In the summer, the government water supply is cut, the ‘urban village’ residents are forced to drink from borehole tubing from the ground, and a sewage trench surrounding the colony is used for defecation.

On top of poor living conditions, economic stability is precarious and exploitative employment is the norm. Sitara’s husband, Nasir, found work as a daily wage laborer, but while expenses were regular, his work was not. Sitara needed to find a way to support her husband and four children. However, like many village women, Sitara had barely any schooling and no formal job training. She began embroidery work for irregular contractors who would pay her low piece rates. Despite supplementing the family’s income, Sitara found that her family was still suffering.
In 2005, SEWA Bharat opened a center for women embroidery workers. SEWA outreach workers approached Sitara about joining the center, but faced a common list of problems encountered when organizing poor women: the women’s lack of confidence, fear, and skepticism. Without training and education, poor informal women workers are frozen in the shadows of the mainstream market.

SEWA’s grassroots empowerment model helps given women like Sitara role models, confidence, and opportunities. Sitara joined SEWA’s embroidery center and began to earn a fair rate for her embroidery work – more than double what contractors paid. Sitara now supplements her family’s income by Rs. 2,500-3,000 per month. Sitara is also a shareholder in SEWA’s embroidery cooperative called the SEWA Ruaab Artisans Company. Sitara has tapped into SEWA’s diverse development activities and has three savings accounts in SEWA Delhi’s Thrift and Credit Cooperative.

Sitara’s advancement extends beyond economical and financial improvements; she now is confident and empowered. Sitara says, “Since working for SEWA, I feel like I am able to express myself.”

By building women’s leadership and connecting them to finance and skill building, SEWA Bharat enables women to make positive changes in their communities. SEWA members have brought local impacts through advocacy campaigns. In 2013, members in Dehradun successfully advocated for cleaner public restrooms.

Meena Devi’s Story


Meena Devi, 52 year old, Munger

Meena Devi, 52 year old, Munger

Case of Bihar- Micro Credit


Annual Report

SEWA Bharat Annual Report 2013