“SEWA” Self-Employed Women’s Association

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Gandhi Legacy Tour has been visiting the SEWA organization in Ahmedabad for over a decade now.  Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with several of the empowered women in leadership positions.  We are always greeted with love and blessings and then given a passionate tour of (1) a sampling of various grass roots projects they’ve initiated, (2) their headquarters, and (3) the local community SEWA bank.  They give the legacy group a broad overview of their history and honorable accomplishments along with field tours in order to share first hand experiences of the solutions they’ve implemented to address the community need.

SEWA is a trade union registered in 1972. It is an organization of poor, self-employed women workers. These are women who earn a living through their own labor or small businesses. They do not obtain regular salaried employment with welfare benefits like workers in the organized sector. They are the unprotected labor force of our country. Constituting 93% of the labor force, these are workers of the unorganized sector. Of the female labor force in India, more than 94% are in the unorganized sector. However their work is not counted and hence remains invisible.

Self-Employed Women’s Association (“SEWA”)

Reema Nanavati Ted Talk (11 minutes)

In her Ted Talk, Reema Nanavati (above) shares how she has facilitated thousands of women with the right tools to become new-age entrepreneurs. She helps them achieve economic freedom to live with dignity and self-respect. Born on May 22, 1964 in Ahmedabad, Reema graduated in science from Gujarat University and was selected to IAS services of Government of India. Reema leads Self Employed Women’s Association’s (SEWA) economic and rural development activities reaching out to seventeen million women and their families across India.

Reema is recognized across India and in the neighboring countries as a champion of making livelihoods of the poor women reach markets they deserve. As a manager, she developed the regional rural water supply scheme of Government of Gujarat and SEWA into an integrated water project, and made women central to water decisions. She stayed on with SEWA and expanded the project into an ongoing Women, Water and Work campaign of 1,000,000 women.

Dr. Margaret McLaren, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Rollins Collins, Orlando Florida has partaken in two Gandhi Legacy Tour of India trips and the Satyagraha Tour of South Africa journey with Dr. Arun Gandhi.  She has visited India many times on her own including a two week stay in Ahmedabad to further study the SEWA organizational model.  

She gave permission for Gandhi Legacy Tour to share the following published paper on “Gender Equality and the Economic Empowerment of Women” she co-authored.  She illustrates the connection between women’s economic empowerment and the resulting overall improvement of quality of life by looking at the models of Marketplace of India and SEWA two of the organizations she developed a relationship with while on the Gandhi Legacy Tour of India. 


Join Dr. Arun Gandhi and Dr. Tushar Gandhi on an upcoming Gandhi Legacy Tour – www.gandhitour.info/tour-summary