SWATI began its journey in 1994 as a community based organisation committed to initiating a mass based rural women’s movement. The initial articulation was around socio-economic empowerment of women through building village level collectives that would federate at the block level. Soon we realized that rampant systemic violence faced by women in the home is the biggest barrier to their development.
To combat this SWATI adopted a two-pronged strategy of empowering women to take up leadership:
In the social sphere through setting up of women led forums that worked on Violence against Women ( VaW).
In the economic sphere through building women’s capacities to manage and control resources by catalyzing self-help and access to resources.
Very early in the journey, SWATI envisioned the direction of growth for grassroots women’s collectives and the changing role of SWATI. We envisaged the collectives to be the community based organisations led by women drawn from the sangha membership and working for the development of the area and the community.
The Mahila Vikas Sangathan – a collective of over 3000 is today a separately registered organisation and marks a stage in the fulfillment of the vision of SWATI.