Support, guidance and motivation can help someone turn their life around. That’s what NGOs do, they bring about a change, offer aid to those in need and address issues that cause an imbalance in society. One section of society that needs such support and help is women. Gender discrimination and violence against women are common in India. According to a report by the National Health and Family Survey, one in every three women in India, starting from the age of 15, has faced some form of domestic or sexual violence. 50% of women in India believe that the violence inflicted by their partner is ‘normal’. They often accept discrimination against them as their destiny.

With such heart-wrenching statistics and facts, the importance of NGOs is crystal clear. With increased awareness, more organizations have taken a step forward to help women in India. They are becoming the lifeline of marginalized and disadvantaged communities, giving people a reason to live. Led by an amazing and dedicated group of people, the NGOs are serving different parts of the country. Women’s empowerment, health, education, equality and so much are only a handful of major issues taken up by these organizations. On World NGO Day, TC46 applauds the work of some of the finest NGOs in India that are striving hard to make the world a better place for women.

5 NGOs Helping Indian Women Get Empowered

1. SEWA

The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) was established in 1972 by Ela Bhatt in Gujarat. Originally a trade union, SEWA is now recognized globally. It is an organization of poor, self-employed women workers. These are women who earn a living through their own labour or small businesses. They do not obtain regular salaried employment with welfare benefits like workers in the organized sector. This organization’s main purpose is to strengthen women by giving them identity as informal workers. Beyond that, they try to work on women workers’ rights and to use non-violent methods of demonstrations. SEWA bank, SEWA movement, SEWA Bharat are a few of its organizations. As of now, they have 1.9 million women members proudly representing their rights.

At SEWA they organize workers to achieve their goals of full employment and self-reliance through the strategy of struggle and development. The struggle is against the many constraints and limitations imposed on them by society and the economy, while development activities strengthen women’s bargaining power and offer them new alternatives. Practically, the strategy is carried out through the joint action of union and cooperatives. Gandhian thinking is the guiding force for SEWA’s poor, self-employed members in organizing for social change.

2. Prerana

Prerana works towards the rescue, protection, and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims. They work with various state governments to frame anti-human trafficking schemes and policies to rescue and rehabilitate victims. They also help with legal proceedings to restore their rights. Also, it provides survivors with psychological counselling. You can donate to this program and help in the rehabilitation of rescued human trafficking victims. Prerana works to end intergenerational prostitution and to protect women and children from the threats of human trafficking by defending their rights and dignity, providing a safe environment, supporting their education and health and leading major advocacy efforts. Since its establishment in 1986, Prerana’s pioneering efforts have been instrumental in supporting victims through the entire cycle from prevention to repatriation.

Prerana’s Night Care Center (NCC) is a space created to ensure the safety and development of children living in the red-light areas. This program was initiated as a response to the needs of mothers in the sex trade to keep their children safe during the night.  The NCC provides services such as – protected shelter, wholesome nutrition, education support, safe play options, safe sanitation options, and opportunities for skill development, awareness sessions, and an overall platform for holistic personality development and growth. Apart from this, this organization leads a ton of programs for the betterment of women and children who survived human trafficking.

3. Guria India

Guria India’s approach is to focus on rescue and legal intervention. Due to the stigma surrounding sexual assault, it helps the victim with all the necessities to fight their case starting from filing an FIR to helping them collect evidence. Guria lawyers help prepare the victims for court. Not only does the NGO help women get legal justice, but it also provides counselling and provides victims with financial support.

This organization works towards fighting the sexual exploitation of women and children, especially forced prostitution and sex trafficking which has further become severe and complex due to sex tourism and the spread of HIV/AIDS. What sets Guria apart from other organizations is that not only do they strive to rescue victims, they also strive to fight the organized prostitution racket completely. Over the years of its working, Guria has managed to develop a multidimensional approach to fight sex trafficking successfully. While responding to their immediate suffering this NGO is focusing on the root causes of prostitution – poverty and inequality.

4. Sayodhya Home For Women In Need

Sayodhya runs a short stay home for women/young girls in distress and provides an emergency response through its 24 hours telephone helpline. In critical cases, they help women get legal justice by taking them to women protection cells where they explain the process and help women file cases. The shelter works closely with police and judicial officials to ensure that survivors have access to protection, entitlements and other legal measures to assist with employment opportunities, as well as skill development support, as and when needed.

This NGO works with the primary aim of assisting and providing continued support to women who need help in dealing with various issues related to education, employment, domestic violence, harassment, abuse, mental health and other legal matters. The help and support are provided in the form of emergency shelters, free family counselling, vocational training, job placements, legal and psychological counselling to sufferers of abuse, coaching for various examinations, assistance in obtaining education and shelter at the centre.

5. Committee For Legal Aid To Poor

Acid attacks are one of the most gruesome and heinous crimes committed against women. The Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP) was created to provide legal aid to the victims of this terrible crime. CLAP helps victims by monitoring court proceedings to ensure stringent punishment to wrongdoers, provides legal aid and helps claim compensation from the government and rehabilitates survivors.

CLAP has a mission to render legal services pro-bono to strengthen access to justice for marginalised and undertakes juridical advocacy for legal reform. It originated with a view to broaden the horizon of legal services in its various dimensions for promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights. Over the years it evolved as a specialized organization in the field of law and justice. Broadly the Legal Service Institute endeavours to eliminate injustice from society and is engaged to promote justice. Through its strategic legal intervention, the Legal Service Institute re-affirms its commitment to strive towards the progressive realization of fundamental human rights with the dignity of individuals and the communities. While doing so it aims to bring about good governance based on rule of law through the strategic application of law which is equitable, transparent and accountable as well as gender-responsive.

When we help women get justice, we are taking a small step in the direction of eradicating gender discrimination, poverty, violence and so much more. There is a lot you can do to make this world a better place for women. Support an NGO for women to help improve the lives of the women in need and give them an independent life filled with dignity.

Srushti Pathak
Srushti Pathak

A blogger, aspiring author and old soul at heart, Srushti Pathak believes in writing stories that touch the heart. She maintains that curiosity defines her zeal for writing and creativity in all spheres of life motivates her.