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Women in Distress

Women’s Resource Centres

There are times when a woman needs help to deal with a situation she is unable to resolve on her own. This may involve domestic abuse (whether physical or psychological), financial abuse, property disputes, witch accusations or other conflicts. Seva Mandir has helped to set up Women’s Resource Centres which are run by women we have trained, firstly to recognise cases which need to be referred to external bodies (for example, the police or courts), and then to resolve those within their remit, including by leading mediation. It takes time to identify and train women leaders to take on these roles, and they need to command the respect and trust not just of women, but also of the men involved in the cases they consider,

and also of the non-Seva Mandir-led village institutions, such as caste panchayats which traditionally rule on such disputes.

The efforts of Women’s Resource Centres have been recognised nationally. Seva Mandir received the runners-up award in ‘Social Innovation Honours 2012’ managed by EdelGive Foundation, Mumbai, for innovation in the empowerment of women. In 2013, the Women’s Resource Centre in Malariya village helped the gram panchayat win the ‘Panchayat Sashaktikaran Purashkar’ managed by the Ministry of Panchayat Raj, for doing incredible work to further gender justice.

Women’s Shelter

The Shelter or Swadhar Greh (partly supported by the government) has been run by Seva Mandir since 2004. Women often feel unable to resist or protest against violence in the home as they have nowhere to go if they are forced to leave their husband’s or in-laws’ house since they are usually not financially independent. Even in cases of extreme violence, women often feel unable to leave since they have no safe place to go. The Shelter is therefore a lifeline for these women, giving them somewhere to go to escape from oppressive and violent situations whilst retaining some dignity.

The Shelter offers support and rehabilitation to women victims of abuse. It offers shelter for up to five years, counselling services, legal aid, medical and psychological care (at home or in hospital), skills development training, employment opportunities, education for women and girls. Children are allowed to stay with their mother and educational facilities are provided for them. The Shelter aims to enable women either to return in safety to their marital home or to live independently and support themselves and their children. It has space for 30 residents.


To date, Seva Mandir has facilitated the creation of 10 WRCs, reaching women from remote rural and tribal communities. The WRCs have supported women and resolved a variety of cases from domestic violence to witch accusations.

Since 2016, the Shelter has given a safe space to over 770 women, the majority of whom were escaping violent situations in their homes.

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