Founded by Ela Bhatt in 1972, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) works to empower poor women in India’s informal economy by equipping them with the personal confidence, community support, and practical tools necessary to fulfill their needs and exercise their rights. With over 2 million active members across fifteen states, SEWA is a nationwide movement, as well as one of India’s largest and oldest nonprofit organizations.
SEWA is set apart by its ability to integrate state- and national-level strategies with grassroots values and priorities. Through its close ties to an extensive, diverse, and multigenerational network of members, SEWA brings women together into a supportive network, tailors its
wide range of large-scale development programmes to specific community needs at the local level, and provides both capacity building support and a national platform for women on the ground to voice their concerns and advocate for their rights at the highest levels of
policy and industry. Through its philosophy of women’s empowerment, and its vision of securing self-reliance and full employment for one of India’s most vulnerable populations, SEWA unifies members across cultural, geographic, and linguistic lines to bring about
sustainable, inclusive change from the ground up. Comprising a nationwide network of over 100 autonomous grassroots organizations, SEWA is coordinated by its national office, SEWA Bharat (www.sewabharat.org).