Re­nana Jhab­vala

Re­nana Jhab­vala has taken SEWA to 14 states and set up co-op­er­a­tive bank and hous­ing fi­nance com­pany.

Business Today - - CONTENTS - By DE­VIKA SINGH

Many women have said to me that ear­lier we were afraid, but now we are not,” says Re­nana Jhab­vala. “I think that is the most worth­while thing about what we do.” Jhab­vala, 64, a Padma Shri awardee, is Pres­i­dent of SEWA Bharat, the fed­er­a­tion of SEWA units across In­dia. SEWA is, of course, the glob­ally renowned trade union of women in the in­for­mal sec­tor, the Self-em­ployed Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion, set up by the re­doubtable Ela Ramesh Bhatt in Ahmed­abad in 1972, whose fore­most lieu­tenant, with her since 1978, has been Jhab­vala.

SEWA is now ac­tive across 14 In­dian states with around 1.9 mil­lion mem­bers, sev­eral sis­ter out­fits, its own co­op­er­a­tive bank, Shri Mahila Sewa Sa­hakari Bank, and skill de­vel­op­ment units. Delhi-born Jhab­vala joined it soon af­ter her visit to its Ahmed­abad of­fice while pur­su­ing a Ph.D. in Eco­nom­ics from Har­vard Univer­sity. She was the prime mover be­hind the spread of SEWA. Among her re­cent achieve­ments is the set­ting up of a hous­ing fi­nance com­pany, which pro­vides hous­ing loans to women in the in­for­mal sec­tor, the Sewa Grih Rin Ltd. ~

RE­NANA JHAB­VALA Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor/ SEWA

WHY SHE MAT­TERS For 40 years, she has been help­ing self-em­ployed women im­prove their liveli­hood and as­sert them­selves

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