What We Do

We work to advance gender equity by responding to urgent needs in communities, through national advocacy and grassroots initiatives.

Community Development Projects

Pipal Chhaya, Trilokpuri

Primary Objective

Upliftment of backward communities by implementing sustainable livelihood and skill development trainings and actively engaging with the Young Women to provide a Safe Space for their personal, mental and social development.


Pipal Chhaya Project is set up in Trilokpuri, New Delhi, a place quite remembered for the communal riots during Sikh massacre in 1984. It started as a home for socially deracinated, poor and disadvantaged people who were cleared out of their homes during a slum-cleaning drive in the 70’s.

YWCA India has been an active agent in providing vocational training, formal & non formal schooling and remedial classes for school dropouts as well as sensitizing and building awareness on legal rights, HIV AIDS, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Trilokpuri since 1984.

The Pipal Chhaya project continues to focus on Empowering women, young women & children through:

  • Creative access to health & education of children. Remedial classes
  • Educating women & girls on their rights
  • Mental Health Awareness and counseling centre
  • Awareness on social issues
  • Recreation & life skills training
  • Vocational training and skill development for employment which includes mehendi design training, beauty culture courses, tailoring centre and baking unit.

Background note

In 1976, YWCA of India approached the Delhi Municipal Committee to grant space in the Resettlement colony being set up at Trilokpuri to continue working with more than 1000 families who were being resettled in this area. The MCD in response provided a piece of land measuring 150 sq meters where a Building was constructed and the YWCA of India started to address issues of relief, counseling, shelter and skills development for women and children .The Trilokpuri became a model project for the YWCA of India as it was self-sustaining, was proactively addressing the needs of the community and was empowering women to take leadership roles.

Intervention Centre for Growth

The YWCA of India piloted a Mahila Cooperative Society engaging more than 35 women in skills training, in Book Binding and producing stationery items like Files, Folders & Writing Pads. The Milan Mahila Cooperative was graded as the Best Cooperative and the women earned a livelihood from marketing their products and developed skills in marketing overtime.

Over the years Pipal Chhaya has partnered with organizations such as Oxfam India, Habitat Learning Centre, Amba Foundation, Council for Child Welfare, Shehnaz Hussain, Nehru Bal Samiti, Directorate of Civil Defense to explore and expand the community programmes to include children and young women of the community with programmes on Better Life Option (BLO), Adult Literacy Classes, Adolescent Reproductive health, civic rights awareness and skill development trainings with beautician’s course, mehendi designing course basic computer classes, proposal writing & remedial education classes.

The ‘We Can’ programme under Oxfam was launched in 2005 to address issues of domestic violence. This led to the Civil Defense Trainings which were conducted with the collaborative efforts of Govt of Delhi and Crime Women’s Cell. Through this we were able to build a base of 150 civil defense volunteers who have later on initiated defence trainings and workshops across the state.

Rehabilitation through economic empowerment has been the focus for Pipal Chhaya to advance it to the next stage. A baking unit was set up for the women to learn and utilize the facility for income generation.

The pandemic brought the unprecedented cessation of classroom activities in Pipal Chhaya. As households were struggling to keep afloat with the meagre income, women in Trilokpuri were organized to make masks, sanitizers and soaps. With a limited number of women the products are being designed and tailored and the revenue generated adds to their income. A day care centre which functions as a creche is also functional in the project to help young mothers for better employment opportunities and provide standard education to the children.

Sarhaah Project, Aizawl

Primary Objective: To broaden the concept of rehabilitation of HIV positive women, single mothers and children by providing them livelihood options. To empower the HIV positive youth to advocate against the societal stigma associated with AIDS.

Our Approach

YWCA India implemented the Saraah Project in Aizawl with the purpose of developing leadership skills and empowering PLHIVs with a focus on women and children. It was implemented to identify specific target communities living below poverty line and work on lifestyle intervention involving literacy, health and hygiene education, SRHR, medical interventions where required, livelihood assistance to either the PLHIV or in case of extreme ill health to another member in the family.

Through regular lifestyle intervention programmes identified at two communities, the project led to promoting behaviour change communication thereby creating a positive behaviour for WLHIVs to stimulate community dialogue.

Work was concentrated around building Y Deepa Clubs involving Awareness Building, Behaviour change communication, Exposure to remove stigma, Leadership building among participants to share information and bringing about a behaviour change among peers.

Beyond the scope of addressing a range of issues, health and hygiene education, emergency support, Loss to Follow Up assistance, leadership training, vocational skill development, mental health welfare etc are provided through the Project.

Supporting HIV positive women with seed money to initiate their own enterprises, was a successful model in engaging in a solution oriented direction towards financial empowerment and facing poverty.

Impact Story

The community project in Aizawl has been touching many lives affected and infected with HIV/AIDS since 2012. The story of Chanchinmawii has been very inspiring for all of during the project. She has been one of our beneficiaries initially in Aizawl and has been trained during the Rise Up leadership training. A young HIV positive mother of two has been associated with us for a long time and she shared our story of social stigma, which she faces on a daily basis. She has excellent skills in doing crochet work and she financially sustained herself by using this skill. She was afraid to showcase her talent as she feared social stigma. But due to regular awareness building, she became much more confident and also now owns her own shop where she sells her crochet work and is named after her daughter ‘Isabella’. After the training she has trained several young women in the community and now she does counseling with one of the NGOs in Aizawl.

Kharberia Project, Calcutta

Project Overview

Encourage pro active participation of women from the marginalized families by providing livelihood opportunities. Provide quality education for children from marginalized families.

Background Note

The YWCA in Calcutta began in the year 1878. The vision of the YWCA has always been the empowerment of women and girls and the YWCA in Calcutta has done much work in the region in the past years. The Khareberia project is one of the prime examples of the complete engagement in the community. The project takes its name from the location. The Bengal famine in 1944 brought many families to a desperate economic position especially in rural areas. At that point of time the YWCA of Calcutta decided on a rehabilitation plan bringing alive a rural Welfare Centre at Khareberia. Around five bighas (acres) of land was purchased by the YWCA of India after adopting this village and chalking out a sustainable programme. Khareberia is a village on the 15th mile of Diamond Harbour Road, seven kilometers out of Calcutta opposite the Bhasa Station.

Intervention Strategy

The Weaving Centre
This initiative started in 1944, where training in spinning and weaving of cotton fabric was provided to the women – widows, deserted wives and destitute; which helped in income generation and empowered them to stand on their own feet. The Centre continues to provide training as well as a regular means of earning to the women of Khareberia. These women are predominantly from a marginalized community and several of them are elderly and some are destitute. The few who have families are the sole breadwinners in spite of their own challenging situations. Even the elderly women provide for the families of their children as the sole income provider. Several have health issues that have been minimally addressed as part of the project. The centre also provides one nutritional meal to the weavers. They grow a few vegetables on the premises and this is an added supplement to their food.
Nursery School
The free Nursery school began around the same time that the weaving program did to meet the needs of the lower income population who were directly affected by the famine in the state of West Bengal. The need to provide basic education for children from the community was looked at and the children were supplied with uniforms (woven and sewn at the centre) combs, towels and soaps to ensure basic hygiene. These children were also provided with a fresh set of uniforms every day after they reached school. The premises are also used for community programmes /meetings with the villagers. The children who attend the school come from a ‘below poverty line’ background and most of the parents do not earn enough to provide them with a proper meal and therefore other basic necessities are definitely not met.The children coming to school are provided with a free noon meal. Through this we have extended support to nutrition related programmes to counter the growing malnutrition amongst the children of the marginally backward communities. The teachers meet with the parents on a regular basis to share information on basic health and hygiene. We do ensure that the children do have clean and comfortable clothes to wear at school and maintain basic hygiene. The children follow the regular curriculum set out for them by the government as this then helps them to move into the regular government schools when they pass out from here. This is organized to ensure that they get regular nutrition. To ensure that the children get a regular health check up the centre works with doctors to volunteer their services.

Kandhamal Project

Project Objective

Women empowerment through enhancement of sustainable livelihood opportunities and leadership skill for the women of Dalit and Tribal communities in Kandhamal, Orissa.


Kandhamal is mostly inhabited by Adivasi and Dalit groups. Out of this total group about 80% are under Below Poverty Line (BPL). Agriculture, physical labour and collection of minor forest products are their main sources of their income. The land suffers from low productivity due to lack of irrigation facilities. Since hills and forests surround it, the cultivable land is very less in comparison to the population. The per capita income of the people is very low. The low yield causes object poverty and starvation even for farmers. Young women also lack knowledge on basic legal rights and usually suffer the domestic violence at home. Unavailability of livelihood opportunities resulted in stress migration to other cities among youths and women. People are forced to work under unhygienic and stressful environment. Illiteracy and ignorance put them into an unsociable rim. Few are trafficked and are forced to do unsocial activities. Forced marriage, sexual exploitation are some of the consequences faced by the women of this area.


The project was implemented with an aim directed towards the goal that the leadership and the skill development programmes would educate the youth to build safer families and to access the Govt. provisions and schemes available for them. It was also directed to create an opportunity in the community to prevent stress migration and arrange safe migration. The community manages the records and keeps track of the people going out and coming in with the help of the local police.

The project helps in reorganizing and restructuring the women self help groups, so that they may evolve into income generation programs. Some of the groups formed are promoting cultivation of Kitchen gardens as a source of income and also to meet the growing nutritional needs of their households. Women groups are also trained in value addition of Non timber forest produce and marketing. Alternative livelihood options are identified to help the women in engaging to earn. Ground turmeric powder, dried fish, leaf plates, candles, livestock products, bamboo products, sanitary napkins etc are few of the products which are sold. YWCA supports them with seed money and guidelines to initiate their own enterprise and train them for optimum utilization of the resources which will lead to sustainable long term results.

Young Women are given awareness on women’s rights and how to engage within their community to mitigate the increasing cases of abuse and violence against women. They are given trainings on personal development and social growth which has enabled them to explore more in terms of higher education and vocational courses.

Dehradun Project – Badhte Kadam Project

Project Overview

Providing holistic development and progress of children who are school drop-outs and are from vulnerable communities and emerge as safe space for women.

Our Approach

The ‘Badhte Kadam’ project in Dehradun started as an education centre for children who had no means to continue school education. The students are divided in 2 batches- one for school dropouts and one for school going children. Nutritious meal is provided daily. Computer literacy programmes for children with free accessibility to computers are implemented. Workshops, sessions on health and hygiene, child rights etc are conducted regularly. In collaboration with NIIT, certified computer courses were provided for the students. Though this was prior to the pandemic, efforts are being put to revive the programmes through online sessions and classes.

Resettlement Project in Dadu Majra

Project Overview

Provide better livelihood opportunities and promote economic independence for women and young women.

Our Approach

Dadu Majra is a resettlement colony at about 4km from the university campus west of sector 38 Chandigarh. Approximately 2000 residents from sector 25 and 14 were rehabilitated in this Area by the Chandigarh Administration. The YWCA started working with 300 rehabilitated families in 1979 and started a tailoring and sewing centre, literacy classes as well as Child care and nutrition programs for the benefits of these families.

The Chandigarh administration in February 1981 had allotted land at Dadu Majra to the YWCA of India to run this community development programme.

Anugraha Project, Salem

The YWCA of India supports projects run by the YWCA of Salem that contribute to the economic and social empowerment of HIV infected and affected children, youngsters, their guardians, families, and communities. The YWCA of Salem started working in the field of HIV and AIDS for more than 15 years. They have been responsible for spreading awareness, counselling, dealing with issues of discrimination for the entire district and have also been involved in donating an entire ward for counselling persons diagnosed with HIV and AIDS at the Government Hospital in Salem. They have been involved in actively working on providing livelihood options for young persons affected and infected with HIV and AIDS.

The interventions aspire to improve people’s social status by reducing discrimination and stigma, enhance the livelihood potential, increase resilience to economic misfortune, and reduce risky sexual behaviour.

The project partners are keen to make the livelihoods projects more HIV sensitive, that are accessible and relevant for families. The Anugraha project of the YWCA of Salem provides the necessary support in terms of nutritional supplements for victims of HIV and Aids. In addition to this the YWCA also provides for a specially trained dietician and nutritionist to assist each and every PLHIV who visits the government ART centre which is a part of the Government Hospital at Salem. This ensures that the individual is given specific nutritional counselling and monitored on a regular basis.

Livelihood and Skill Development

Understanding the current situation our country is facing, YWCA focuses on economic independence for women and financial inclusion of the vulnerable tribal and Dalit communities. We identify and access communities and groups and based on their need and potential to grow we assist with establishing centres for training and providing them opportunities for livelihood which is centered on sustainable and long term growth. For accountability and better implementation, we also follow the model of making these women stakeholders in the projects and build the ecosystem of continued growth.

An aspect of the Decade of Action is to reduce poverty and in order to meet this requirement efforts are accelerated to generate sufficient employment opportunities. Through our initiatives we strive to bridge the gap of unemployment and employability and give sufficient opportunities for young women to pursue their interests and be financially independent. This also helps in preventing child marriages and reducing gender inequalities.

Tailoring: Sewing courses are conducted in collaboration with ‘Singer Company’, and as a furtherance to that a Women’s patchwork Group has been started to provide them income generating opportunities. Women willing to join this Group are provided one month training and subsequently paid per completed piece of Patch as well as an attendance allowance to encourage them to come daily. The patchwork group makes bags, pouches, quilts and quilt covers. Revenue from sales serves as an income for the women and also supports the project for more intakes. YWCA ensures that the livelihood programmes are focussed on principles of sustainability to carry forward the progress and impact created.

Mehendi Design and Beauty Culture: On popular demand from the communities, a Mehendi design Course is being conducted along with Beauty culture training to enable the community women to find regular income through the same. Nail art classes are also provided on demand for the women. Since the commencement of the classes from October 2016, till now it has trained over 300 women.

Geriatric Care Course: Today, India is home to one out of every 10 senior citizens of the world. A vast majority of the 81 million senior citizens in India battle failing health, financial constraints, loneliness, emotional stress and abuse in the dusk of their lives, leading many to end their lives in depression or to lead a pitiable existence. Despite this scenario not much attention has been given to the needs and care of India’s elderly.

The YWCA of India took up the challenge to start a pilot project to reach out to the elderly in Chandigarh which has 57,785 older persons in its total population of over 0.8 million as of 2011 census clustered into 47 sectors and 26 villages.

The Geriatric care providers’ training launched in September 2015 is a three month program and is aimed to provide training to school drop outs on basic health and home care where they get opportunities to work in hospitals senior citizens homes, home nursing etc

Since 2015 five batches of 103 students have passed out and 55% have got placements in various clinics, hospitals and care centers.A curriculum based on the needs of the elderly is developed and replicated by the YWCAs and any others interested in starting the Training programme.

Computer Classes: Across the projects tapping into the power of computer and digital technology has been given priority to unveil a world of opportunities for the youth. Unfortunately, women in a male dominant society are seldom allowed to own or even operate a digital device. This gap is unnerving and calls for inclusive, quality education to eliminate gender disparities. Steering towards this goal, we have partnered with NIIT to provide certification computer courses especially for the students from marginalized families, school dropouts and street children.

Livestock Development: 70% of the rural households in India have agriculture with its allied sectors as the largest source of livelihood. Along with Agriculture, YWCA provides support to engage in non- agriculture approaches through means such as animal husbandry, poultry farming etc.

Bakery training and Baking Units: Methodology for baking cakes and snacks, costing of products, project management, packaging and sales are the core areas in which hands-on training is imparted to the women. YWCA provides a space to sell their products and to create a sustainable project model. This is being implemented in many of the member associations.

Stories From Communities

Community development project of Arakkappara and Kothaikunnu Thodupuzha

As a women’s movement YWCA is in a unique position to take the lead in raising awareness of violence against women and children, awareness about resource conservation, good solid waste management and safe guarding the environment for future generations. As family is the basic unit of society, betterment of families can improve the society and nation at large.

The project was for 3 years starting from September 2014. The project aimed at a holistic development of families in the project area. It aimed to empower girls and women and end violence against women through community action project and to mobilize men and women collectively against violence. The project also looked at ways to create cleaner, safer, healthier and more economically viable places to live, work and play. The project also looked at training house wives for better family management and economic security.

The specific objectives of the project were to increase the awareness level of 100% of the target population on women and child rights and to help the majority of the families to become financially independent through IGP (Income Generating Programs.)

In the first phase of the project YWCA members and Assistant Coordinators along with Al-Azhar Public School NSS students and staff conducted a survey to do a community mapping and get to know the community better. Various workshops were conducted where topics such as Family Empowerment, Means to Gain Happiness, Creative Parenting, and Prevention of Domestic Violence Act 2006 etc. were covered. Group counseling was provided to the Community People. There was also Individual counseling for Cancer Patients. A training session on vegetable gardening and cultivation in Grow bags was organized for the Community People

On 30th May 2015 YWCA members along with the Y Deepa students had a trip to Amarankavu, Near Kolani Thodupuzha. It is a 3 acre forest where the beauty of nature is preserved in the natural state by the vigilance of the local community. Here the girls were taught ways and means of preserving nature and natural resources in its original condition.

In the second phase the participants were made aware of 3Rs – reusing, recycling and reducing during the awareness program. They were taught how to make compost by using PVC Pipes, so that they could convert their home waste to manure which could be used for kitchen gardening

Sessions of Behavioral counseling and life skills education were conducted. A number of women were trained in jewellery making, cookery and flower arrangement along with other life skills education. Periodical visits were made by YWCA members to boost up the morale of the beneficiaries and to assess the impact of the project in the community area.

Bellickal & Ammanadu, Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu

The YWCA of India supported by its National Project Anandagiri in Ootacamund started a community development programme at Bellical and Ammanadu in the tribal belt of the Nilgiris. The population of these villages belongs to the Irula and Kurumba tribal communities who belong to the primitive vulnerable tribal groups in the country.

The work began on a voluntary basis by providing free tuition to the children which are about 12 at Bellical and 22 at Ammanadu. Since the classes started three girls one from Bellical and two from Ammanadu have joined nearby residential school which is a matter of pride specially as out of the three ,two were school dropouts. The funding for their education is from donors who have now begun to see the effort that is put into this work.

Efforts to form a village development committee to get basic needs -safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for the communities, are ongoing.

Temporary shelters to conduct classes have been built and one generous family has also helped by giving their home to take classes, which is also very small to accommodate nearly 28 children.

As of now there are 12 students upto 2nd standard and 9 students from 3rd to 5th and 13 students from 6th to 10th. As of now there are 34 students registered . There are four honorary teaching staffs taking classes every week on Saturday afternoons.

Efforts are also being made to readmit the Boys of age between 15-19 in the nearby Vocational Training Institute and process is going on.

Access to Government schemes is also one area where efforts are being made and the Tahsildar has promised all help in future .Since nearly half of the villagers have no community certificate, getting the schemes to this area may be delayed, because a community certificate is a mandatory requirement to avail government schemes. Now the Project has started to make work on building awareness of the importance of having government certificates including community certificate , ration card , bank accounts and land documents etc. As a first priority, work to get the community certificates is underway.

Trainings are being provided on:

  • Importance of planting the trees and its benefits and dangerous consequences of Deforestation.
  • Small water filtration system to use in homes.
  • Health and Hygiene Awareness program for women and children especially girls.
  • After being trained on sanitation almost all the houses have started constructing toilets at their houses.

We have handed over two applications to the tribal welfare department for the scheme of free seeds and fertilizers for small farming and two applications for the scheme of house renovation.

Workshops on Environment and social concerns are part of the work. Say no to plastics was one of the key issues that was addressed.

Y Deepa work has been initiated in this region as well. Important points from Lesson Self esteem is taken and explained to the youth of age group 17 – 21 and student of age above 11 years

An Eco club composed of students to teach them environmental issues has been formed. An organic farming expert, entrepreneur and faculty member of one of the organic farming institutes, has conducted training on organic farming and has offered to provide employment as well.

Young Women Catalysts for Change

YWCA lays special emphasis on young women and empowering them for transformational leadership,strengthening and channelising their creative skills to make them accountable partners in co- creating solutions in programming, implementing, decision and policy-making. Every project and programme developed at the YWCA focuses on embedding roles and responsibilities for the young women to take them forward, restructuring and rebuilding them to the next level. We envision that this crowdsourcing of ideas from the youth and making them decision makers will enable them to grow as catalysts for change.



To empower young women and men and to build their leadership capacities to lead to the ultimate goal of nation building.


  • To work with both young girls and boys in order to challenge their thinking to help them build a sound understanding of social and environmental concerns.
  • To build in them a capacity to handle the societal stigmas and conflicts in a positive way and to build in themselves a healthy self esteem.
  • To assist them to develop a sound code of values that will help build a safe space for the citizens and the environment in this country.
  • To build in them an understanding of tolerance and the importance of learning to live together in an atmosphere of harmony.
  • To create a safe space for the genders
  • To engage them in activities that will lead them to become responsible citizens of the nation
  • To make them independent and help them realize their rights

Target audience

The Youth’ is considered as the phase between childhood and adulthood  where young girls and boys are most vulnerable to risks that our society throws up like gender inequalities , sexual harassment, HIV/AIDS, cyber bullying, peer pressure, drug abuse ,academic pressure, inability to tackle stress; and the list is never ending.

Keeping our objectives in mind, we need to encourage the young people from age 10 to 18yrs to be a part of our Y Deepa movement. They can be further be broken into sub groups which can be children from age of 10-13 years which will  enable them to focus on issues like coping up with academic pressure, pros and cons of online addiction whereas the girls and boys from years 14 to 18 need to learn about their right to equality, tackling depression ,building and maintaining relationships. 


The need of the hour is to train the trainers who can inspire our young women and men to become responsible citizens of the nation. A person who has just stepped into his/her adulthood will understand the importance of empowering our youth.  They have some experience having just dealt with issues of adolescence and the motivation to help others with what they themselves have been through is usually high. Moreover as they are almost peers of the young women/men themselves it is easier to work together as this works on a peer mentorship model.

The trainers need to be trained as to how they can conduct sessions with different age groups, how to start a session, how to make the session interactive and the audience attentive, how to encourage everyone to participate in the discussions. The total duration of the session must not exceed 2hours and it should be activity based which will help them to understand the topics better. We urge our volunteers between the age of 18 to 30 years to continue to inspire and work with the young girls and boys.

The Y Deepa curriculum: A Guide

To make the sessions knowledgeable and interesting the trainers can use the Y Deepa curriculums (Vol-1&2). These curriculums cover several aspects of societal issues that need urgent attention and those topics as well that the youth is sometimes not aware about.

To make the sessions a fun learning space the trainers can refer to the various set of activities and icebreakers mentioned in the curriculums given in the knowledge hub.


RiseUp! is a young women’s leadership programme guided by the WORLD YWCA implemented by YWCA India that delivers training on the core human rights issues that young women in our community face. These issues include violence against women (VAW), sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), and gender equality. The programme adopts a ‘Training of the Trainer’ (ToT) model where young women teach other young women about their rights. This creates a network of young women who are learning about, and advocating for their rights. In this sense, it is a programme for young women, led by young women.

What is India’s RiseUp! story?

Phase III of RiseUp! program began in India in the year 2012. Over these years we have trained more than 5000 young women across the country. These Young women in the YWCA of India focused mainly on issues of SRHR and adolescent health. It was seen that these young women can be the advocates for change and they continued to do community based trainings across India through initiating community projects.

India with a population of more than one billion, the current pattern shows about 64% youth population. Even though the country has a developing economy, the gaps between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is large and continues to widen. Most young girls drop out of school at a very young age, and are married off at an early age especially in the rural communities and lower income groups. Some of the issues addressed during the project are empowering women of these communities on SRHR and also on how to deal with issues of violence. Our RiseUp! training focuses upon the key issues facing young women in our community. Research shows that India has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world.

In India, RiseUp! has not just delivered training to young women, but has also supported the trainers and participants to be part of advocacy campaigns, workshops and events, and capacity building opportunities.

Rise Up! Methodology

Rise Up! Uses Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA). This is based on the principles of; equality, and non-discrimination and believes no one should be left behind.

Using this approach, Rise Up! Empowers young women and encourages them to participate in claiming their human rights. We do this through education, knowledge building about their rights, and supporting them to advocate for their rights. But the approach is not just about empowering young women as Rights Holders. It is also about supporting young women to claim their rights. It is also about encouraging Rights Bearers to be accountable and aware of their responsibility to protect young women’s rights. To know more about the Rise Up Programme, check out the Rise Up! Manual from the Knowledge Hub.

Is there more to the Rise Up! Story?

Yes! We are excited to move forward with our donors and World YWCA on taking the project of Rise Up! Phase IV towards a promising and sustainable future by developing a force of Transformational Young Women Leaders.

Training of Trainers (TOT)

A key part of the Youth initiatives that we take up is to train young women to be trainers. They go on to train other young women on what they have learnt. We believe that continuity and sharing of experience is what will keep the cycle going. This is also based on peer to peer leadership which is key in building the young trainers as future leaders to spearhead programmes in different communities.

Advocacy and Civic Engagement

Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (POSH)

The YWCA of India as part of its commitment to change has taken up many challenges and responded to the changing needs of the changing community particularly women, to empower them to take charge of their lives and make decisions for themselves. This change is being brought about through:

  • capacity building for women through planned and ongoing advocacy and community development actions, trainings, seminars, workshops, conventions, consultations,
  • creating platforms for women to articulate their experiences and seek solutions by making them aware to access the laws and their legal rights,
  • Counselling and crisis intervention programmes with women violence and harassment,
  • Activating redress through Complaints Committees for sexual harassment of women at work places,
  • Monitoring and lobbying for a gender sensitive policies and laws as well as demanding ban on unfair and discriminatory practices

The YWCA of India’s involvement on Complaints Committees for prevention of Sexual Harassment at the work place

Following the issuance of the Guidelines in the State versus Vishaka matter in 1996 where the apex Court recognized the right of protection of a woman at her work place ministries and government bodies as well as public sector undertakings were directed to set up complaints Committee to address the issue of sexual harassment of women at the workplace

The Supreme Court had recognized Sexual Harassment as “any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether, occurring in public or private life” is violence.

The Supreme Court also decided the composition of the Committees keeping the content of this definition in mind with emphasis on a NGO representative on the Committee

Several Ministries, Bank, Government Departments being aware of the YWCA work in areas of empowerment and development of women of the country invited it to serve as a NGO representative

The YWCA of India was invited by the Ministry of Women and Child to work with other Government agencies (NIPCCD and NCW) Legal bodies(Lawyer Collective) to draw up a list of matters which needed to be incorporated in the proposed Bill being drawn up by the Legislative Committee of the Government. All suggestions made by this group was accepted and incorporated in the draft Bill

The YWCA of India was also invited by the Parliamentary Standing Committee to present it views on the draft Bill prior to its tabling before both House for adoption. All suggestions made by the YWCA of India were appreciated and considered by the Committee in the Final Bill .The Bill had final become an Act for Prevention, Protection and Redressal of Sexual Harassment at the Work Place in 2013

What has the YWCA of India done since then

The transitional period from closed economy to increasing liberalization and globalisation have generated new ideas and ways of living, exposure to unreal aspirations and widening gaps between aspiration and fulfillment. In this women are easy and vulnerable targets. Today there is a marked increase in hidden crimes and violence against women. The YWCA of India aimed for preventive measures and started to focus on bringing awareness through changes in mind sets identifying stereotypes, loopholes in legislation and protective mechanisms which could be rectified for effective redressal of complaints.

As YWCA works mostly in urban / semi-urban communities comprising of nurses / housewives / students / teachers / health practitioners etc. and interacts on a continuous basis with these communities, families, media, decision-makers as well as enforcement authorities, it had a ready target group in which to create an environment of responsive awareness and advocacy.

The YWCA of India subsequently was invited to serve on the Complaint Committees. Presently we are serving on 42 Committee and the YWCA of India has nominated members looking at their caliber to handle this issue sensitively but also forcefully.

As during the meeting it was noted that there is total lack of awareness on the guidelines as well as the issue with the staff and also Committee members, the YWCA of India initiated awareness and training programmes as a preventive effort in Corporate bodies, Ministries,Banks ,Private Offices and staff and Slums . The YWCA members and staff are also being provided with trainings to enable them to serve as members on the Complaints Committees

Additionally the YWCA of India has been invited to advise and guide units outside Delhi who are needing suggestions to handle such matters

Posters and Handbooks have been developed by the YWCA of India and used by several agencies to display at strategic locations and to create awareness

As a part of its commitment to this issue the YWCA of India for use of victims and committees which is being used by all concerned as and when required.It has also adopted a policy on Sexual Harassment at the work place which finds space in the Personnel Policies of the Staff of YWCA of India

Building Networks

As noted in the ‘Theory of Change’, collaborative efforts with our partners was intended “to develop solidarity with one another through peer groups and collective action.” Throughout the 125 years and till now we have built numerous networks, engaged with many NGO’s, donors, individual partners, government agencies, civic bodies and other like minded organizations. Through facilitating forums, creating safe spaces and online communities,we support young women to advocate for their rights through advocacy campaigns. One of such advocacy campaigns initiated by the trainers is 33% reservation of women in the policy making of our country which had been revised to allotting 50% reservation.

Child Rights

The YWCA of India continues to liaison with India Alliance for Child Rights under the guidance of Ms. Razia Ismail participating in meetings and brainstorming on issues of child rights and loopholes in National Plan of Action for Children and the Sustainable Development Goals.

On October 1st, 2018 we were invited to the ‘International Human Rights conclave’ organized by the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) for a session on “Women and Children and SDG’s Prospects”.

We are now trying to revive the NACG-EVAC, Delhi Chapter (National Action and Coordination Group for Ending Violence against Children).

50% Reservation

For 21 years now, organisations have been struggling to get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed. The YWCA of India organised and participated in numerous Demonstrations, Peace Marches and Protests with other NGOs and Women’s organisations. A National Signature Campaign was conducted, where 4,000 signatures were sent to the YWCA of India from 13 of the local Associations.

The YWCA of India has been lobbying with political leaders and parliamentarians (our most recent meetings were with Ms. Sonia Gandhi and the Honourable President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind). Each year we fail to get this bill passed, but as young women leaders, we continue to push for endorsements from the various members of the parliament and other politicians. This campaign has been initiated country wide and through rallies, signature campaigns, each year its put forward.

The YWCA of India is proactively working for advocacy and justice for women. We have an all India presence

YWCA has been actively engaging in result oriented advocacy actions such as:

  • Drafting the policies
  • Consultancy on setting up of the Complaints Committee
  • Leading the investigation process
  • Create awareness through interactive sessions, trainings, workshops
  • Counseling and referral services
  • Preparing IEC material-Posters/Flier etc in regional languages

Online Training Workshops on gender sensitization and Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace, Mental Health Awareness

Silent rally to demand for equal rights for Dalit Christians

The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly asked the government to explain why Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims are discriminated against on religious grounds, which violates Article 15 of the Constitution. As a protest for the same the CBCI along with the National Council of Churches in India, National Council of Dalit Christians and The Federation of Catholic Associations of Archdiocese of Delhi organized a Silent Rally from Ramilila Maidan to Jantar Mantar. Followed by a Public meeting at the Jantar Mantar. At the rally they demanded from the Government of India for equal rights of Christians & Muslims at par with fellow citizens belonging to Hindu, Sikh & Buddhist religions.

People’s march in defense of the republic

Organized by Peoples March, a group of approximately 2,000 people, from various walks of life, assembled at Mandi House and marched to Jantar Mantar in protest of all the recent events displaying inequality and intolerance in our country.

The advisory group for study on support structures for survivors of trafficking

The YWCA of India was on the advisory group meeting at Women Power Connect on (WPC) the 18th of November 2016, regarding their research study on support structures for survivors of trafficking. They have worked on a resource directory for people in need that will have contact numbers and other information that a survivor may need. We were asked to comment on the draft framework of the resource directory. ​We suggested that they add child line to the list of contacts as well as suggested that they should do a back ground research of the shelter homes whose numbers they will be providing as it’s our responsibility that the survivor goes to a safe place.

Not In My Name Protest: On 28th June 2017 a citizens silent protest against the targeted lynching of Muslims going on countrywide. The latest being of 16 year old Junaid on 23 June 2017 in Delhi (NCR) on a suburban train. A protest was organized by several organizations to assert that the killings and the hatred being unleashed – Is Not in Our Name

Child Rights: The YWCA of India has been actively partnering with India Alliance for Child Rights and participating in meeting and brainstorming on issues of child rights and loopholes in National Plan of Action for Children and the Sustainable Development Goals. The focus of the Delhi meetings are on right to life, quality of survival, and safety against violence, with a conscious effort to assess proposed programming, but also to discern influences from beyond the purview of child development services. As a part of working against Child marriage the YWCA of India along with a few other organizations is working on a petition on the age disparity in the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act Demanding for equal age for both boys and girls.


YWCA lays special emphasis on quality education for children and young women to reduce the gaps in gender disparity and ensure better quality of life. Ensuring access to education has led us to establish night schools and adult literacy workshops. Remedial classes, primary education, training institutes etc are part of the approaches that YWCA adopts for the mission.

Women Against Violence

Being the key focus of the Quadrennium themes of the YWCA India, this has been one of the primary goals of providing women, young women and especially those belonging to the vulnerable groups, with information about their rights. We believe that knowing your rights is the first step to accessing your rights. Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Violence against women is an unacceptable human rights violation. YWCA prioritizes the elimination of all forms of violence and creates a just and safe world especially for women and children.

In India, some of the major human rights issues for young women include high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, VAW, child marriage, SRHR. Therefore, increasing knowledge on these issues has been the focus of programmes.

India has high rates of VAW. India has seen a rise in the number of rape cases and also the gap in the advocacy for HIV for women to be aware of the right to be tested for HIV to know the status. In RiseUp!, through our leadership training we create a safe space for young women to openly talk about issues of VAW and how they would like the society to combat it. We join hands with other NGOs who have the expertise in this field and involve them in the thinking process of how to push for stringent laws in the country. It’s important to involve other network partners to get an insight of the outside perspective. Through leadership trainings, focus group discussions, personal interviews, presentations and role plays, we empower these young women to not just have an awareness about their rights but also to be assertive and vocal to take a strong stance against the increasing atrocities against women.

We empower the youth to come up with action plans for their regions to come together on forums and the young women came with a resolution which was adopted at the General Body Meeting of the YWCA of India in the year 2018. The action plan undertaken has been focussed on the motto, ‘ EDUCATE INTERVENE ADVOCATE’

What is Violence Against Women (VAW)

Violence against women also known as gender-based violence are violent acts committed exclusively or primarily against women because of their gender. If is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non- partner at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. The United Nations General Assembly defines “violence against women” as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Why is there such widespread violence against women

Female subjugation is the ‘social norm’ of a patriarchal culture. VAW is a pattern of behaviour intended to establish and maintain control over women. Patriarchal values and their social norms normalise such acts of violence. We live in a patriarchal society that allows men the privilege of a superior status, power and control. Women are deemed inferior and objects for service and sex. From birth, the patriarchal system conditions men and women to take on gender roles that are considered masculine or feminine. Our cultural traditions and rituals, based on patriarchal values and gender discrimination further reinforce that men are dominant and women are submissive (covering of the head, obedience, weaker sex, male protection etc). Pornography, women as sex objects, domestic violence and sexual assault are social norms in a patriarchal society. The common manifestations of gender inequality and discrimination are son preference; dowry: domestic violence; low female work participation, wage inequality and economic dependence; sexual violence, trafficking and honor killing.

Who perpetuates VAW?

Violence against women could be perpetrated by persons of either gender. Family, friends, relatives, colleagues, teachers, employers, neighbours and even the state itself is the perpetrator. Patriarchal values give men power and control over women. Violence against women is perceived as normal. In the name of protection, women are controlled by social rules/ codes or behaviour that are discriminatory and restrictive (dress code, staying at home, not go out alone, not permitted to work and have a career). Both men and women under the influence of patriarchal values use violence to control women whey they cross these rules or codes These restrictions and limitations of freedom, choices and opportunities makes women powerless and increases her vulnerability and risk to abuse, violence and exploitation.

Though we have taken giant strides in facing this inhumane challenge, we realise work is not done and we have a long way to go. While women are becoming more aware of their rights, they often find that they do not have the support services to help them address violence. In a study conducted within the YWCA circle, it was addressed that the intricacies of law do not provide security to the women, instead lack of implementing it in the right manner and lack of accessibility is proving to be a matter of great concern This is where we are trying to bridge the gap with the active and continued involvement and programmes of our volunteers.

Eliminating violence against women: awareness desk

The Y’s Eyes publication – Dalit and Marginalized women and Sexual Harassment at Workplace booklets are offered for public. Awareness desk particularly for conducting awareness programmes, developing IEC materials, collaborating with government bodies, legal aid cells etc along with reaching out through our virtual platforms etc are being coordinated.

The staff also explained the work of the YWCA and the projects which were focused on eliminating violence against women. The YWCA of India staff also created IEC material, which included details of the most common types of violence perpetrated on women, the effect it has upon the victim, legal remedies available and steps to follow for assisting the victim. Some of the issues included, domestic violence, sexual harassment, women’s health and safety, rape and helpline numbers of NGO’s and the government for emergency and legal advice.

Creating Safe Spaces

From emergency shelters for survivors of violence, to safe spaces for young women to discuss harmful traditional practices and cultural taboos, to support groups for women living with HIV, and inclusive and accessible spaces for women with disabilities, YWCAs are synonymous with Safe Space. But what do we mean by Safe Spaces and how can you ensure that you create Safe Spaces for women, young women and girls? Training sessions and discussion groups offer spaces where young women can talk about taboo subjects without fear or judgment and can build their awareness of international and national commitments that affect their lives. In Safe Spaces, young women are encouraged to reflect on their own and other’s experiences, share ideas and information, and plan transformative actions. Safe Spaces can also help create opportunities for young women to engage in direct dialogue with government representatives, policy makers and other decision makers. YWCA transformative leadership trainings can build relationships between young women and local and national decision makers, which fosters accountability and can help connect local or national policies and programs to the lived experiences of young women. Young women’s leadership can flourish in Safe Spaces when these spaces include the:

  • Accessible and Safe Location: Trainings and meetings take place in accessible areas, central and convenient to women, young women and girls, where safety and privacy are assured. It is important to reach isolated communities through mobile outreach programs and rural networks, and to promote urban and rural visibility to ensure awareness of and participation in YWCA activities.
  • Leadership and Participation: YWCAs are women-led spaces that offer inclusive and empowering spaces for women, young women and girls of all ages and in all their diversity. Leadership development and participation are essential components of YWCA programming, fostering a sense of solidarity and ownership that transforms a beneficiary into an active agent of change.
  • Accurate and Reliable Information: YWCAs share and promote evidence-based information that supports women, young women and girls to make informed choices.
  • Building Trust: YWCAs are places where women, young women and girls can openly share their experiences, challenges and traumas, and be assured of confidentiality and support.
  • Holistic Approaches: YWCAs take into consideration the multiple facets of women’s lives and deliver services that respond to the life cycle of women, young women and girls. Education and economic empowerment are recognized as fundamental tools for empowerment, personal security and claiming rights.
  • Intergenerational Cooperation: YWCAs encourage intergenerational sharing, mentoring and cooperation between women and girls of all ages. These supportive relationships are based on respect and equality among different age groups, with a focus on developing young women’s leadership.
  • Dignity and Respect: The organizational structure of YWCAs provides a local and global network of women, young women and girls who support and inspire one another. It is a place where women, young women and girls in all of their diversity are respected and their dignity and rights are upheld.
  • Partnership and Accountability: YWCAs are part of their communities and are permanent, reliable and sustainable spaces for women, young women and girls. They work in partnership with local, regional and global actors to advance women’s rights and demand accountability from relevant duty bearers.

The YWCA Safe Space Hub provides a place where young people, especially girls can openly share their experiences and challenges, access information, develop more awareness of their rights and build their capacity to claim these rights as empowered leaders, decision makers and change agents. Safe space also creates opportunities for young people and girls to have friends. Having a safe space for discussion also helps build awareness about issues, bust myths, discuss common concerns, allows people to talk freely without being discriminated against or excluded for their identity and views and overcome issues of stigma and fear which can be addressed during the workshops once a safe space is ensured.

Mental Health Awareness: Creating virtual safe spaces has been a priority area of our Covid Crisis Response Initiative.

India was one of the worst hit countries in the aftermath of the pandemic. Having a population density thrice the size of China, social distancing and monitoring was practically impossible. In September 2020, India had the world’s fastest growing outbreak of COVID-19 reporting more than 5.6 million infections. Though restrictions were relaxed by July 2020, with the influx of International travelers and the migration of laborers, many states had to initiate isolated lockdowns, travel bans and containment zones. In parallel to the ongoing crisis of disrupting life and normalcy, India had to face aggravating multiple crises in forms of hunger, loss of jobs, disparities in availability of health care facilities, increasing rise of domestic abuse cases, and most crucially the deteriorating mental health of the population. The world had seen the million of stranded laborers returning back to their villages walking hundreds of miles. Agriculture sector which is the largest employer at 42% of the workforce had gone into depression due to suppressed incomes. The recent developments in passing the Farmers Bills led an outburst of protests and marches in New Delhi. To control the mass unrest, the Government had suspended the Internet and also down throttled internet speed leading to connectivity issues. Virtual sessions were affected for a few days as they were being organized by the head office in New Delhi. While Mental health had already been a matter of concern with international mental disorder rising to 15% by end of 2020 as against is around 10% as per the World Health report, Covid19 has escalated the issues manifold With schools and colleges remaining closed for more than seven months and children as well as youth and seniors stranded within the four walls of their homes, depression has set in at all levels. Depression alone accounts for 4.3% of global burden of the disease. In India mental disorder is 12.3% for common instances and 1.95% for severe mental disorders. National mental health survey (NMHS) has reported an overall treatment gap of 83% for any mental health problem. Despite its enormous social burden, mental health remains a taboo subject that is prone to age-old stigmas, prejudices and fears which is followed by denial and hesitation to seek help. It is often associated with erroneous stereotypes of an adult unable to handle life which is a sign of weakness and character flaws. Even though mental disorders can be cured or controlled, most people in India tend to sweep their issues under the carpet and suffer in silence. Mostly, it is because it is instilled in the mindset of the society that in case of an individual with mental health, only they themselves can come out of this ‘phase’. But it is imperative to understand that social factors and external environments affect mental health deeply and as a responsible society we need to nurture and provide ‘safe spaces’ for them to learn balancing of positive and negative feelings and processing them to instill a sense of optimism. Where this is not possible avenues need to be opened for the individual to seek professional help. Consequently, the need of the hour was not only to actively foster awareness about mental health, but also create awareness about the stigmas attached to mental health. Therefore, we formulated a strategy to initially work with the audience and spread word through virtual mediums as physical interventions were not possible to reach out to the masses. Understanding that investment in good mental health can result in resilience and the ability to deal with the challenges of life at every stage of human development we worked towards involving everyone including family and friends through training and counseling to identify the red-flag signs of mental health concerns. Through interactive sessions the plan was also to enable individuals to seek professional help without fear of being stigmatized. Working in continuation to the project which has helped us gain a better insight on the current scenario of the country and the ground reality, we are more focussed on building projects to have dedicated Virtual modules and training to handle mental health awareness for the many vulnerable sections and to begin counselling centres across the member associations in the country as well. As part of advocacy, we want to continue empowering schools and colleges to have counsellors or collaborations with counselling institutes to provide assistance to students as well as their parents. For the project we decided on a strategize to have three different approaches pertaining to the three different audience groups based on the demographics. We had to understand the different age groups and their behavioral pattern top mental stress to develop a three- pronged approach to the topic.

  1. For the Children and Young Adults:
  2. For the young adults and vulnerable:
  3. For Nursing Professionals and Social Workers
  4. Other groups

This was developed using the following action modes:

  1. Webinars:
    1. Children’s lives had been on an upheaval with attending zoom classes, appearing for online exams, not going out to play with your friends, and no activities leaving them feeling drained leading to depression. Through our Happiness -interactive online learning module, we targeted Children and /adolescents/ Undergraduate students to teach them through fun learning experiences how to deal with stress.
    2. Addressing the issue of deteriorating Mental Health amongst the young women and women, sessions were conducted on ways to deal stress, anxiety, depression and how to balance social life through virtual spaces. This platform was utilized to open up about their insecurities and seek professional help from experts in the fields.
    3. For the young adults and seniors, sessions on Dealing with the new normal was taken. These were interactive sessions where they can build a support system within the group and openly talk about how they are dealing with the mounting issues of confinement and mental health.
    4. In India, the cases of domestic violence and gender-based violence have gone up during the pandemic. Though various factors have attributed to this cause, the result is mental stress in women. Through the advocacy-oriented sessions, we reached out to the communities and men in particular to address the issue. Awareness on legal assistance and how to avail them also discussed. This module catered to providing sessions for the hearing impaired as well.
  2. Capacity Building:
    1. Through training our existing Y-Deepa volunteers, we wanted to equip them with training to identify mental health issues and create linkages with trained organisations/counsellors.
  3. Virtual Safe Spaces:
    1. Virtual Antidote for Mental Health Issues. An online space/platform created to provide an environment that encouraged all people present to share experiences, opinions, and views without fear or threat of political, economic or personal harm. For outreach and to enable young women (hostel Residents and Young Women Volunteers) with the help of networking partner (SafetiPin) young women were engaged to use a mobile app which can help in identifying local places where there is street stalking, eve teasing, bullying etc. Capacity has been built to enable them to identify the places most unsafe for women travelling to new places or for taking safest routes.
    2. Podcast series with young women having real life experiences dealing with mental stress have been launched and will be helpful for those who can relate and are going through a tough time. Also, regular episodes on balancing mental health and social life, and how to deal stress. Podcasts negate the elements of being present and can be accessible any time with even low data.
    3. Through Facebook, Instagram and twitter we reached out to the young women and women using infographics, posters and blogs. Through this media, we want to reach out to women and young women who would need counselling on mental health and can reach out to us through our social media or initiate live chat with mental health experts through our website (similar to r/IAmA in Reddit).
    4. For the children and young adults: To make the new generation understand about the growing threats of ‘Life Online’ and the growing concerns of mental health that are affecting the younger generation. Though one should not overload a child with the information, facts, and reports about the coronavirus crisis but providing right information and creating awareness is the key. To make them understand about the plausible impact in simple terms was the focus.

Just like how the entire world was ill prepared to respond to a threatening public health emergency, NGOs were also finding it difficult to have effective communication strategies to reach out to the people. To get behind the new normal of all virtual work environments from the office set up, to have the adequate technology, setup and processes was pulling us behind our program goals. But ‘Collective Effort’ is what has helped us since then. Through the implementation of this Project, we came to know about the power of networking and how other NGOs can help us in grey areas where we are lacking efficiency while we try to support them in areas we are competent in. Digital Revolution is one of the up-side of the pandemic but equipped are we as a country and a community was a big question in front of us. Economic disparity bridged the gap between the students from high income families and those from marginalized backgrounds. To realize the ground realities, we had to be in constant touch with our local associations to work on our programme management through digital approach. With timely guidance and intervention from the World Office we were able to share information and get our local associations to work with community engagements while keeping in mind the safety aspects. Empowering them to form coalition with networking partners and to step out from traditional responses to undergo the virtual makeover has been challenging. We feel like the Government should have taken proactive steps on a priority basis to impart information to the NGOs and civic bodies on social support and care for the vulnerable group. Harnessing existing NGOs and to promote their role in crisis response, while understanding their key areas of service would have enabled them to work with a proper coordination model to bring in cohesion and coherence in the response model.

Social Justice and Inclusion

YWCA has collaborated with organizations in voicing out the political issues particularly for the vulnerable and excluded communities. Policies and approaches have been developed that align with the Mission and Vision of YWCA and helps in strengthening partnerships with these communities. Intersectional development and justice for equal rights for all genders, dalits, tribals and other indigenous groups are where YWCA works to build social equality.

Silent rally to demand for equal rights for Dalit Christians

The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly asked the government to explain why Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims are discriminated against on religious grounds, which violates Article 15 of the Constitution. As a protest for the same the CBCI along with the National Council of Churches in India, National Council of Dalit Christians and The Federation of Catholic Associations of Archdiocese of Delhi organized a Silent Rally from Ramilila Maidan to Jantar Mantar. Followed by a Public meeting at the Jantar Mantar. At the rally they demanded from the Government of India for equal rights of Christians & Muslims at par with fellow citizens belonging to Hindu, Sikh & Buddhist religions.

People’s march in defense of the republic

Organized by Peoples March, a group of approximately 2,000 people, from various walks of life, assembled at Mandi House and marched to Jantar Mantar in protest of all the recent events displaying inequality and intolerance in our country.

The advisory group for study on support structures for survivors of trafficking

The YWCA of India was on the advisory group meeting at Women Power Connect on (WPC) the 18th of November 2016, regarding their research study on support structures for survivors of trafficking. They have worked on a resource directory for people in need that will have contact numbers and other information that a survivor may need. We were asked to comment on the draft framework of the resource directory. ​We suggested that they add child line to the list of contacts as well as suggested that they should do a back ground research of the shelter homes whose numbers they will be providing as it’s our responsibility that the survivor goes to a safe place.

Not In My Name Protest

On 28th June 2017 a citizens silent protest against the targeted lynching of Muslims going on countrywide. The latest being of 16 year old Junaid on 23 June 2017 in Delhi (NCR) on a suburban train. A protest was organized by several organizations to assert that the killings and the hatred being unleashed – Is Not in Our Name.

Women Leadership Development

Over the past years, the YWCA of India has provided leadership training from grassroot to managerial level for young women activists, leaders, volunteers and staff to take up leadership challenges in response to the critical development needs of women and girls.

In recent years however, the impact of rapid changes in technology and the influence of new social, political and economic trends on the marginalized sections of the society, has urged the Movement to look at new realities and new concerns for Women’s holistic development. In order to remain focussed and responsive to these, the YWCA has reviewed its MIssion and on development areas and secondly has taken an active advocacy role with regard to issues of social development with particular reference to young women and children.

The women Leadership project emerged following a baseline survey of 50 households which identified their level of income, size of household, sources of livelihood, their interest and aspirations. Rapport has been built in two slums for the purpose of the programme. Focused group discussion took place with the groups and the objective sharing of the project was done.

Training of Trainers

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

#MoreThanJustBrides – Model for fostering health and wellbeing for married adolescent girls and girls at risk of child, early and forced marriage

The YWCA of India in collaboration with the Society for Participatory Research in India (PRIA) conducted a study on early child marriage and forced marriages in January 2016. The universe of the study included three villages in Sonipat, namely Jharoti, Mahra and Rehmana and ward 5 of Sonipat and two villages in Panipat district namely Namunda and Manana. Interviews were taken of unmarried and married girls between the age group of 14-25 years. The findings of the study made it very evident that child marriage was very much prevalent in the Haryana.

From the study it was found that:

  • Out of the 105 married respondents, 15% were 18 years or younger with children. 3.8% were married before the age of 10 years and 59% were married between the ages of 15 – 17 years.
  • 54% of the married respondents shared that they were forced to marry. Out of this, 47% shared that they were forcefully married because of poverty. If the participant’s elder sister/brother was getting married, they were married along with them as it would reduce the expenses. 38.5% of the girls also shared that their parents felt that marrying off their daughter early would gain them social acceptance in the village. 23% of the girls shared that they were married off as it was not safe for a single girl to be alone.
  • 70% of the participants shared that their husbands forced them to have sexual intercourse on the first night after marriage. Many of these girls shared that they were unaware of the sexual act and the expectation of it in a marriage came as a shock to them.
  • 88% participants were not aware of family planning methods at the time of their marriage.
  • When asked about their age during the first pregnancy, 56% between the age of 15-17 years, 29% between 18-20 years, 8% before the age of 15 years , 6% between the age of 21-23 years.
  • 58% participants shared that they had their first baby at home.
  • 25% participants shared that their mother in laws helped them give birth to their first child at home while 25% shared that the village dai helped them give birth to their first child at home.
  • 37% shared that their first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage, 14% shared that their first baby was born premature or with an illness and 5% shared that they gave birth to still born babies.

Based on these findings, YWCA of India along with PRIA identified the need to intervene in these areas. This project aims to work with young girls who are at risk of marriage or are married with children. The child brides are often disempowered, suppressed, dependent on their husband or in-laws and dispossessed of their fundamental rights of education, health, and safety.

In collaboration with the State Education department to achieve sensitivity, consciousness and positive behavioural change on following themes:

Adolescent health and hygiene

Safety and Security of girls in schools and in the community

Gender Awareness and sensitivity among boys and girls

Various fun based activities are being done with a focus of sensitizing youth on stereotypical division of gender roles, adolescent health and hygiene, etc. As result of some significant changes among the youth had taken place.

Equal Partnership between boys and girl:Sports activities have helped and other activities have helped the youths to understand the importance to equal partnership among them. Now they are supporting each other and also are working together with unity.

Attitudinal Change and personal responsibility: Sessions have helped them in identifying the gender relations in their own surrounding. Consequently, many students have taken personal responsibility to question gender norms in their school and family as well.

Leadership among the students: Many students were seen taking the ownership of gathering students for the session. They were seen helping the trainer during the training sessions.

Formation of Hinsa Yuva Nikrani Committee

Unsafe Environment for girls is one of the main reasons behind child marriage. The concern about girls’ safety forces families to married off them early so as to safeguard the pre-marital virginity of their daughters. Therefore Participatory Safety Audit (PSA) was used as a tool to assess and identify safe, unsafe and moderately safe places for girls in their villages through discussion. The results and findings of PSA were shared with community leaders, sarpanches and panches to seek their support for making their safe for women and girls.

Some recommendations were also shared before panchayat members by these youth leaders, after many discussions and negotiations, both youth leaders and panchayat came to consensus to set up a Hinsa Yuva Nikrani Committee. The main objective of setting up this committee is to ensure the safety of girls within the village.

Freedom To Play

Freedom To Play is as an introductory sports camp developed to reach a large number of youth and bring them together to play with the opposite gender, with the goal being to get the youth interested in the values of the #MoreThanJustBrides programme, and select interested youth as mentors for other youths to become a permanent part of Mentor-Mentee initiative of #MoreThanJustBrides program. The rationale behind these camps was to bring together girls and boys to play sports and allow them to express themselves freely and also teach them various skills including those of leadership, team building, communication and equality.

Through these workshops, the youth questioned existing social constructs which often restrict women’s freedom and ultimately force them to get married. Many of the girls tried to voice their opinions, while boys also showed strong support.

The youth leaders were appreciated by the sarpanch for their work to end violence against women/girls. The Sarpanch himself took the oath to end violence against women in their village.

Liaison with Universities

A group of students and professor from OP Jindal University, Sonipat visited youth group boys and girls to research about the status of child marriages in India.

Broad Objectives of their visit:

  • To build an understanding on use of Participatory research methods in community based research.
  • To build an understanding on issues related to violence against women (VAW)

Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation

YWCA has been associated with did

Trainings and Capacity Building

We offer Training on Prevention on Sexual Harassment at Workplace, Leadership Building and Family Life Education for corporates and groups. We also provide specialized training for Day care centres on preschool curriculum and how to engage effectively with the children.

The Geriatric care providers’ training which was launched in September 2015 is a three month program and is aimed to provide training to school drop outs on basic health and home care where they get opportunities to work in hospitals senior citizens homes, home nursing etc

We also run customized issue based workshops as per the requirement. Capacity building training and technical support for staff secretaries and honorary officers on standard of good practises, accountability and NGO operations are held. These sessions are conducted not only to understand procedures, systems and processes but also to build in inputs and action plans on advocacy work and program development.

Women Empowerment

50% reservation

For 21 years now, organisations have been struggling to get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed. The YWCA of India organised and participated in numerous Demonstrations, Peace Marches and Protests with other NGOs and Women’s organisations. A National Signature Campaign was conducted, where 4,000 signatures were sent to the YWCA of India from 13 of the local Associations.

The YWCA of India has been lobbying with political leaders and parliamentarians (our most recent meetings were with Ms. Sonia Gandhi and the Honourable President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind).

Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (POSH)

YWCA of India has been one of the pioneer movement who have taken forward the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (POSH) Act since it came into force from 9th December,2013. The act was derived from the Vishaka Guidelines which was formulated from a case brought before the Supreme Court. Till then there was no legislative framework dealing with issues women faced at workplace or to ensure gender justice.

The formulation of the Act ensures that women are protected against sexual harassment at all the work places, be it in public or private. This contributes to realisation of their right to gender equality, life and liberty and equality in working conditions everywhere. The sense of security at the workplace will improve women’s participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth.

The detailed framework of the Act and the guidelines can be found under our Publications in Knowledge Hub.

Gender Equality (Financial Inclusion, Entrepreneurship… etc)

We at the YWCA believe that women and young girls have the potential to shape our country in the coming years. The key to transitioning our economy lies within the hands of the empowered young girls and women. They help in building up families, in turn building communities which will lastly lead to the rise of a powerful and empowered nation.

We work with the aim of involving women and young girls from marginalized sectors to be economically independent. This will enable them to have a working sense of earning an income of their own giving them an upper hand in affecting change within the dynamism related to money and financial stability. This will also give them an understanding of financial literacy tools such as budgets, investment, planning etc.

YWCA of India has its projects in Dehradun, Trilokpuri and Calcutta where we provide tailoring courses, beautician courses, mehandi courses especially for the women from marginalized sectors to help them build a better livelihood for themselves.

Through active volunteering throughout our associations in the country we extend support to the communities such as Dalits, Tribals etc. In Kandhamal, Orissa and Tamilnadu, we work with our networking partners to develop innovative approaches for the empowerment of the women from such communities. We invest in transforming the lives of women from the poorest background to give them access to quality healthcare and quality educations regardless of gender.

Keep Calm and Get Tested

The Keep Calm and Get Tested Campaign by YWCA of India for HIV/AIDS began as an initiative to get young people aware about HIV/AIDS and get themselves, their peers and community tested, to know their status and take appropriate action to ensure a long and healthy life. The young members of our movement kick started the campaign in August 2015 at the YDEEPA Leaders Training.

The YWCA of India is working along the guidelines of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Goal by 2020 to get 90% of all people living with HIV to know their status and for 90% of people diagnosed with HIV infection to receive sustained Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART), which should lead to viral suppression.

For IEC Material (The Keep Calm and Get Tested T-Shirts and Y’s Eyes Magazine on HIV/AIDS) or any queries pertaining to the campaign, do email us at youthdeska@ywcaindia.org or call or message at +91 8130420515.

Transformative Leadership for Young Women

Creating Safe Spaces

The concept of a safe space exists both in the physical sense and within the mind. Physical safe spaces can be linked with safety of specific sites, while a safe mental space will manifest in terms of freedom from fear and feeling of empowerment to achieving one’s capabilities.

Today’s youth always find ways to improve their personality; they want to be in the company of people who will help them in their personal development. The provision of a safe space is thus an essential component that should aim to enhance positive youth development.

For women and girls, these safe spaces cannot only be limited to exclusively designated spaces that they can access, but they must exist at multiple, immediate sites within the home, school, workplaces and in the society /community they live in. A true ‘safe space is one where there is presence and acceptance of large numbers of women and girls, from different social groups and of different ages, at all times. This requires an infrastructure that supports the presence of women and girls, and the absence of all forms of violence in public spaces.

A group of 3 friends sitting together and chatting, sharing secrets is a safe space for them because they are not judged or challenged for what they say as they all share the bond of trust, and this creates a safe space for them.  Where people can separate or isolate themselves from situations and people who disturb their safety and security and share their feelings with trusted peers contributes to become safe spaces.

For the home to be a safe space there has to be absence of all forms of discriminatory attitudes and practices that restrict women and girls, and support the fulfilment of their aspirations and potential. Similarly, schools, institutions and workspaces that support gender equality and negate all forms of violence can be considered as safe.

Concept of a Virtual Safe Space:

Creating Safe Spaces for Young Women has been our primary focus area for the quadrennium. In the current scenario, internet has emerged as a life line to millions of people stuck indoors due to quarantine. This leads to creating, ‘Virtual Safe Spaces’

What is Virtual Safe Space?

It can be any Online Space/Platform encouraging people to share experiences, opinions and views without fear or threat of political, economic or personal harm.

For Whom?

Our Safe Space are for women of all ages, those who may be isolated at homes and may be facing violence, stress or facing mental and health issues. It can be for volunteers as well, to have a good read or express their opinion without the fear of being Judged.

What is the Basis?

The basis is the 8 elements of YWCA Safe Space:

  1. Accessible and Safe
  2. location
  3. Leadership and Participation
  4. Accurate and Reliable Information
  5. Building Trust
  6. Holistic Approaches
  7. Intergenerational Co-operation
  8. Dignity and Respect
  9. Partnership and Accountability

There is a growing recognition of the fact that working with men and boys is not only effective, but also necessary to create and sustain violence free and safe societies for women. However, before we delve into the role of men, it is important to understand the interrelationship between masculinity and violence, and the barriers that prevent men’s effective engagement in reduction of gender based violence.

Find out more about Safe Spaces in our Publications in Knowledge Hub.

Mental Health Awareness

Rise Up



Get in touch with us

10, Sansad Marg, Janpath,
New Delhi, Delhi
India – 110001



General (Indian ) A/C

Bank Name

State Bank of India

Account Number




Branch Name

Main Branch 11,
Parliament Street
New Delhi- 110001


Bank Name

State Bank of India

Account Number




Branch Name

Main Branch 11,
Parliament Street
New Delhi- 110001