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SNEHA Stars- I

May 24 2018 / Posted in Women

SNEHA Stars will be a monthly feature going forward, featuring inspiring tales of SNEHA staff tirelessly working towards better health outcomes for the community. Many of our staff experience personal trials and tribulations and show extraordinary moral courage in not only overcoming these but in using these experiences as a springboard to touch the lives of others.

By Shilpika Ghosh

Surekha is a resident of Dharavi and completed her matriculation, having developed a keen interest in contributing to society. Her mother was a domestic helper and actively participated in the domestic labor union in Dharavi.

Surekha was encouraged by her parents to work for Seva Niketan, a social welfare organisation that worked with slum children, as teacher. She became a part-time teacher at Seva Niketan and taught students about basic sanitation and hygiene. After two years of teaching at Seva Niketan, she got married and went on to have kids. She settled down to a life dominated by domestic chores until she had the urge to work on societal problems, again. In 2008, she was approached by an Anganwadi teacher in Dharavi who told her about SNEHA. There has been no looking back since, Surekha has been at SNEHA for almost 10 years now. According to Surekha, SNEHA has helped her achieve her dream of serving society. 'There is a family like environment at SNEHA,' she says. 'There is absolutely no hierarchy. Everybody is equal and this has helped me excel in my work,' she adds.

Surekha relates immensely to each of SNEHA's core values- excellence, commitment,trust, nurture and valuing every person.  She has tried to actively embody these values at both work and home. Thanks to her association with SNEHA, her son got exposure to the field of NGOs and community health. Vishal began participating in SNEHA's events, accompanying his mother to them. He would keenly listen to her experiences at home. Eventually, Vishal too expressed interest in pursuing a full-time role at SNEHA. He is currently a Program Officer at our Healthy Cities Project while simultaneously pursuing a distance education postgraduate program in Social Work. We wish this mother and son pair the very best!