Snehadhar was established in 2011, but Snehalaya actually started working in the field of women empowerment in 1989, with women caught in the vicious cycle of the sex trade. Since then we have been carrying out pioneering work for the health, advocacy, rescue and rehabilitation of women.
The first helpline for women was started by our founder Dr. Girish Kulkarni when he used his personal landline number to support female sex workers. Later on, these services were extended to any woman or girl in difficult circumstances. In 2010, the formal launching of the first National Helpline for Women in distress was started and Snehadhar was established as a separate project to support those who needed shelter and other services.
For the last 10 years, Snehadhar has been focused on interventions for women and girls providing helpline assistance, short- and long-term shelter, legal and medical aid, counseling, education and skill enhancement opportunities, rehabilitation and repatriation options, as well as linkages with allied agencies, all under one roof. When the ‘Nirbhaya’ incident occurred in Delhi in 2012, Snehadhar started the ‘Nirbhay Kanya Abhiyan’ to create awareness among the younger generation in educational institutions. This received an overwhelming response with self-defense demonstrations and knowledge sharing about laws for women and legal procedures by experts from that field, government agencies, police, etc educating girls and women on risks and their rights.
In 2019, we started conducting surveys to identify incidences of atrocities on women and girls in our district and concluded that we needed to extend our reach to include more local governance members, volunteers, peers, self-help groups (SHG) and make the ‘Nirbhay Kanya Abhiyaan’ more extensive and inclusive to reach more girls and women. To do this we created standard operating procedures (SOPs) and restructured and trained our team to be more proactive and responsive.
Thanks to support from Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, Bengaluru, the revamped Snehadhar project will continue delivering interventions at a much deeper and extensive level through renewed awareness programs and the creation of support groups. By creating SHGs, we aim to make at least 10 villages self-sufficient in ensuring women and girls safety to significantly reduce the percentage of the atrocities against them over the next three years. The revamped Snehadhar was formally launched in September and our extended team of 11 has recently completed their induction and training program.