Meri Abhilasha





Swabhiman Kendra Community Support Center for Women DomesticWorkers and their Adolescent Children, supported by:


Struggles with discrimination, unfair treatment, low wages and sexual harassment in the world of work are harsh realities that dominate women domestic workers' professional and personal lives. At the same time, they are proud women workers, who work with dignity and self respect.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, however, their dignity took a hard hit. With no warning, women domestic workers lost their jobs, were forced to subsist on dry ration, often without three square meals a day. Their daughters were pulled out of school and forced into doing domestic work. The heightened insecurity and increased violence in their lives impacted their confidence, and their ability to trust and lean on one another.

The most urgent, non-negotiable need they express during these trying times, is additional income to tide over future unprecedented crisis situations, and put an end to instances of violence and sexual harassment in their personal and professional lives. At this juncture, to alleviate these vulnerabilities, it is essential to rebuild confidence, hope and build awareness among women and girls in the community.

With ‘Meri Abhilasha’ (Community Support Centers for Women Domestic Workers and their Adolescent Children: Building Resilience in the Pandemic), DSP Investment Managers and Martha Farrell Foundation are supporting women domestic workers and their adolescent daughters to break out of the cycle of violence and oppression that generations of women in the communities have been forced into.

What We're Doing With Meri Abhilasha

Through the set up of a Community Support Center in Gautampuri, Delhi and support for an existing Resource and Support Center in Harijan Basti, Gurgaon:

Women informal workers (domesticworkers) empower one another with voice and agency, and utilise resources to seek skills and alternative sustainable livelihood opportunities and counter their risk to sexual and gender-based violence

Adolescents empower one another with voice and agency, and utilise resources to build leadership skills and be a part of the solution building process for women's empowerment and elimination of sexual and gender-based violence

Adolescents support women to seek and pursue alternative sustainable livelihood opportunities. Women encourage their adolescent children, especially girls, to studyand plan for successful careers and futures

Program Locations

Gautampuri, District
South Delhi, New Delhi

A resettlement colony that was established between 1999 and 2000 by the Government, it is estimated that Gautampuri has apopulation of about 1 lakh. Residents estimate that the community houses 15000 families, largely migrants. Most women work as domestic workers, or construction workers

Harijan Basti, District
Gurgaon, Haryana

Situated in the heart of high rises, just off the Golf Course Road in Gurgaon, Harijan Basti is home to roughly 60,000 residents. Almost allwomen in the Basti are engaged in domestic work in the nearby high rises. Men work either as guards, house keeping staff, drivers or as car cleaners in the same condominiums


Meri Abhilasha - Learnings from February '22
Authors: MFF