Our name, Swayam, literally means oneself and was chosen to reflect our focus on self-development. Our priority is to help women enhance their self-esteem and self-confidence.  Thus, apart from providing support at an individual level to the women, Swayam places great emphasis on working at a collective level with the women and children. We believe that these are also essential for their physical and emotional wellbeing.

The collective activities of the support centre have grown and flourished, largely due to the enthusiasm, commitment and initiative of the women themselves. From our original support groups of 10-15 women, a whole range of activities has developed.
Group activities have helped women discover and express their creativity and have resulted in the formation of the Swayam Theatre Group, and Prayas, the women’s magazine.

Groups activities include the Drop-in-Centre, support groups, general workshops, outstation workshops, self-defence workshops, Adda (Chat) sessions, annual day celebrations and the annual picnic.

Drop-in centre (DIC)

The drop in centre provides women a space they can call their own; where they can get away from their troubles for a while and spend time the way they want to. The DIC has a television and music system and toys and games for children. They read, listen to music, drink tea, sleep, play games, talk, make friends or simply relax and enjoy themselves. The DIC is also used by women to hold meetings, rehearsals and addas.

  The Drop-in-centre gives me moments of peace and relaxation and independence.

  The Drop-in-centre is a space where no one asks embarrassing questions about personal my life.

Support Groups
Support groups were started in order to allow women to share their personal experiences of violence and abuse and help reduce their sense of isolation. They derive emotional support and strength from each other and often forge strong friendships among themselves. Support groups also create a sense of community and provide an opportunity to involve women in the larger struggle for women’s rights.

  Support Groups have helped me to assert my views and respect others views at the same time. Support Groups relieve me of my pain, solitude and hopelessness. I value my friendship with support group members and consult them while taking important decisions in my life.

General workshops
General workshops bring all the women who would not ordinarily meet each other because they may belong to different support groups. The workshops are used to discuss Swayam's various services and activities , to generate new ideas and to provide information on various issues like health, HIV/Aids, sexuality etc . Through a mix of games, exercises and serious discussions we help them connect their personal struggle with the initiatives of the women's movement to counter the existing unequal social order.

As a result, many of the women have participated in demonstrations, rallies and cultural events on International Women’s Day and the International Fortnight Protesting Violence against Women and Girls. Knowing that they can be active agents of change increases the women’s self-confidence and self-esteem. They make their voices heard by writing and performing plays, songs and poems at these events.

  General workshops help us acquire an alternative perspective about life, increase our self-confidence and we generally have a good time learning and playing with our friends at Swayam.

Out-station workshops
Out-station workshops provide a space for the women to spend some quality time together, creating bonds of trust and friendship. The workshops also give the women some time for themselves, away from the demands of their family and domestic responsibilities and create opportunities for clarification and discussion on socially tabooed issues, self-exploration and stress release.

  Outstation workshops help us discover our positive qualities, be one with nature; and energise our dormant mind.

  They give us an opportunity to look into and learn about some intimate truths about a woman’s life which are definitely a must know.

Self-defence workshops
Self-defence workshops aim to help women to connect with their strength and translate the self-image of a ‘weak’ woman into a strong capable individual who controls her own life.

I never knew I had so much of strength within me.

After this day I will not let anyone beat me.

Addas are monthly chatting sessions where anything under the sun – from Saddam Hussain’s captivity to unusual cooking recipes are discussed. They are fun sessions. Each session usually ends with singing, music and dancing. They are also utilized to integrate new members into the core of group activities.

“Adda helps me to socialise, make new friends and provides me space where I don’t have to think about family matters.”

Adda is a time for music, dance and merriment for me.

Annual Day
The Annual Day is an occasion for women celebrate the birth of Swayam or ‘self’. Each year Swayam's birthday is celebrated through a small cultural programme where women and children who come to us for support sing, dance and recite poems written by them. The annual day also provides an opportunity for the women and children to meet each other and enjoy themselves.

Annual Picnic
The annual picnic is a time for fun, games and laughter for women, children and the Swayam staff.


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