SEWA Bharat’s History in Punjab

SEWA began its work in Punjab 2016, in conjunction with the National Health Mission, leading a capacity building program of Mahila Arogya Samitis (MAS) across eleven districts. The MAS are urban slum-based health committees of women leaders responsible for connecting their communities to efficient and effective health solutions. Local women leaders or Agewans were elected among MAS members and they have in turn become extensions of the SEWA unit, serving as a link between the community, the SEWA field organisers and area mobilisers. Since then, SEWA Punjab has been carrying out integrated development activities to uplift and empower informal women workers in six districts.

In line with the SEWA values, SEWA Punjab aims to secure for community members the twin goals of full employment and self-reliance. Various trades have been identified and women encouraged to form trade-groups to strengthen a sense of community and work identity.
Acknowledging its work, Govt of Punjab signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SEWA Punjab with the objective to establish a framework for increased empowerment, social and economic development of women in the state. Till date over 6000 members have already registered and at least 50,000 more benefited through its programs. Beneficiaries of SEWA Punjab are women workers of the informal sector, including domestic workers, home based workers, construction workers and agricultural laborers.

Major Trade Groups

Domestic workers

Home Based workers

Construction workers

Agricultural workers

Grassroots Women Leaders
SEWA Members
Women Linked With Social Security Schemes
Health Linkages & Referrals

Our Approach


Enabling women microentrepreneurs and women-run collective social enterprises to become resilient beyond COVID-19

Agewan vikas

Capacity building of grassroots women leaders to enhance their organizational capacities and lead the change within communities.

Financial Inclusion

Promoting economic self-reliance through a Business Correspondence model to enable greater financial inclusion of people living in areas lacking banking facilities.

Organizing trade groups

Our members have been mobilised and organised into trade groups based on common occupations and livelihoods. In Punjab we are closely engaging with domestic workers, home based workers, construction workers and agricultural workers.

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Trade meetings are helping them become more aware of their own status and rights as workers. While the agricultural workers trade groups started during the farm laws protests, it will pick up pace as the SEWA Punjab work expands into rural areas. Domestic workers are being identified and organized block-wise areas. They are slowly asserting their demands and entitlements, starting with three leaves per month. On International Domestic Workers’ day, our representatives were involved in taking out rallies, conducting awareness drives and pamphlet distribution highlighting their demands and rights as workers.

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Major Advocacy initiatives

Domestic violence is a concern among the informal women workers. To address this issue, regular awareness sessions are conducted where a mutual trust is built so that women come out and speak about it.

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In this way we are able to refer them to “One Stop Centres” set up by the Ministry of Women & Child development with an intent to support women affected by violence. We also get in touch with the Station House Officers (SHOs), and the CDPOs wherever required to help these cases.

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Addressing Community Issues

With the Mahila Arogya Samitis set up, women leaders were identified and enabled through Mohalla groups where they would take up civic issues, like street lights in urban spaces.

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Today our members have been shown the way by their community leaders to identify and settle their own local issues. They are able to write letters to relevant officials, take the initiative to mobilise their sisters and take them along for advocacy meetings, and work on ensuring several concerns being resolved such as managing garbage disposal, sewage and drainage, getting roads cleared, setting up better sanitation provisions and accessing clean water.

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Capacity Building

Business correspondence – Around 10 to 15 women from rural unbanked areas were trained as Business Correspondents who now provide door to door financial services such as withdrawal of money, accessing pension and social security benefits.

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In the process, they have been linking poor women and their families to banking services through Customer Service Points. The Sangini program mobilises marginalised women, provides them with specialized training in Elder Care and Child Care services that equips them to earn livelihood with good working conditions in the Tricity area. Till date over 60 sanginis have been skilled. The program currently focuses on training that meets the demand for full time and in-house caregivers in the Tricity. Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) in Punjab have been identified that provide courses on candle making, pickle making, stuffed toys making, bag making, etc. We have engaged RSETIs in Moga, Ferozepur and Sanour given the interest of our members.

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Read more about SEWA’s work in Punjab here