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SNEHA's Journey

In the early 1990s, neonatologist Dr. Armida Fernandez and her team were routinely caring for underweight and premature infants born into low-income households. These households often faced poor nutritional and health outcomes,especially among mothers and children. Dr. Fernandez and her team wanted to develop sustainable interventions that would go beyond simply providing stop gap solutions.

They spent time in Mumbai’s low-income settlements, learning about the compounding challenges of lack of information, resources and access to quality health services. SNEHA was thus established in 1999 to work on the twin goals of improving health-seeking behaviour among underserved communities and improving quality of public health services. Today, SNEHA is a 500+ person-strong organisation with extensive on-ground experience in helping build healthy lives of urban women and children. Its vision, mission and values affirm its commitment to the health of vulnerable women, children and families.

We are working towards bridging the health equity gap and going beyond fighting illness to ‘Raising Health for All’.

Milestones

  • 1999

    A group of philanthropists and neonatologists working in Mumbai’s largest public hospitals launch SNEHA

  • 2000

    The Centre for Violence against Women and Children established in the low-income settlements of Dharavi

  • 2004

    Launch of the City Initiative for Newborn Health, an initiative in partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and University College London

  • 2007

    Sure Start Project launched in partnership with PATH and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to improve quality of maternal and neonatal health care

  • 2011

    India’s largest urban Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme launched for children aged 0-3 years in Dharavi

  • 2012

    Received a five-year grant from Wellcome Trust for a cluster randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of community health resource centres

  • 2013

    Awarded a grant from WHO’s Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research to scale and strengthen referral systems for maternal and newborn health

  • 2015

    Upscaled our maternal and newborn health referral system beyond Mumbai to six neighbouring municipal corporations

  • 2016

    SNEHA chosen as ‘Mother NGO’ by National Urban Health Mission, Maharashtra to form women’s groups (Mahila Arogya Samitis) in communities across Maharashtra

  • 2017

    Launched a cluster randomised controlled trial in partnership with University College London on community interventions for prevention of violence against women and girls

  • 2018

    SNEHA designated nodal agency for training police personnel across 91 Mumbai police stations

  • 2019

    Department of Women and Child Development, Maharashtra, appointed SNEHA as “Implementing Agency” to run Mumbai’s first 24/7 ‘One Stop Center’.

  • 2020

    SNEHA deepened community interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to address food insecurity, increase uptake of Government social protection schemes, support public health systems for COVID-19 screening and related support

  • 2021

    Launched a new programme on Prevention of Violence against Children with a goal to ensure children’s safety and well-being.

  • 2022

    Started Mumbai's first palliative care OPD in partnership with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

  • 2023

    Supporting ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services)develop a model Village Child Development Centre in 62 villages in Kasara district, Thane.

    Established five Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics in partnership with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

    Launched Garima Package of Care, a web interface to support counsellors and social workers to address mental health concerns of survivors of gender-based violence.

Areas of Work

Map of SNEHA’s work areas in Mumbai

We work across vulnerable settlements in Mumbai, including Dharavi, Wadala, Mankhurd, Govandi, Kurla, Kandivali and Malwani. We work closely with the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai and the surrounding cities of Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayandar, Ulhasnagar and Bhiwandi.

We have worked in partnership with other organisations in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand.

Message from the CEO
VANESSA D’SOUZA


I’m greatly inspired by our team’s relentless search for newer and better ways to address public health concerns. We dig deep to understand underlying causes, we try new things, we sometimes fail, but our pursuit for solutions carries on. Looking forward, we strive to continuously adapt our models and build strong partnerships to develop evidence-based, scalable and sustainable public health interventions.


I’m often asked what my long term plan for SNEHA is. I actually hope that in the long run, there will be no need for SNEHA!


I hope that every woman has access to quality and affordable health systems and is empowered enough to make the right choices for her own health and the health of her family. Until then, we must pull together our resources, our thoughts, our efforts and our spirit, so that one day we will achieve our dream of a world in which every child is born healthy, everyone has access to quality health services, and all families live in peace.

RAISING HEALTH FOR ALL

Awards


Tejaswini award by Earth NGO for Prevention of Violence against women and children programme, 2021

Winner - Urban Nutrition Category for Child Health and Nutrition Programme (Aahar)

Finalist and Special Mention - Sandvik India Diversity Awards, Not-for-Profit Category, 2017

Social Innovation and Iconic Leadership Award - World CSR Congress 2016

Best Film - Health and Sanitation Category, World CSR Congress 2016

Changemaker for Mumbai Award 2015

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Ahtesab Humanity Award 2015

Vodafone Foundation Mobile for Good Awards 2014