Various studies, as well as our experience, have shown that when we work towards women empowerment, the whole society benefits. But unfortunately in India, far from being empowered, most women are denied even their basic rights like health, education, employment and a respectable status in society.

Swabhiman, meaning self-respect in English, was initiated in 2005 to address these challenges through a simple yet effective approach. The programme is specifically aimed at realization of both individual and collective self-esteem and inner strength for marginalised and socially excluded women and adolescent girls through innovative community practices.

A tailor-made strategy called the ‘4 S Model’ has been developed under Swabhiman for women empowerment. The ‘4 S Model’ is an acronym for four novel approaches, namely Seeking Healthcare as a Behaviour, Support for Education, Supporters through Male Involvement, and Sustaining the Change in Communities.

The programme identifies adolescent girls and women from the community and develops them into Change Agents, who in turn actively contribute to the community mobilization process.

So far, Swabhiman has successfully made a difference to the lives of over 500,000 women and girl children.

Inspiring Stories From Ground



“I’’ll take my mother on a vacation after I get a job. She has never been on one.”

Parul’s mother does labour work at construction sites with her husband. She works just as hard, but gets paid only half of what her husband earns. It was with these meager wages that she started sending her daughter to school, even though her husband was completely against the idea.


From the very beginning, Parul made her mother proud as she excelled in school, always coming first in class. When she secured 84% in her class 12th exams, even her father could not hide his happiness.


At present, Parul is studying Hindi Literature at Delhi University, and hopes to become a professor soon.

Parul received a scholarship under the Swabhiman programme which is a result of her hard work and she is one of the 92 exceptionally talented girls who are getting scholarship under Smile Foundation’s Swabhiman programme.

Parul wants to take her mother on a vacation when she gets a job because without her support she could not have grown up as a strong individual like she is now.

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