Saheli Women, New Delhi: After the fire update and appeal


Saheli is a women’s “collective” in New Delhi that started out as a crisis intervention center thirty years ago.  It was a time when the women’s movement had been mobilized by many national events that brought women’s vulnerability to the fore.  One of these was the forced sterilization campaign that Mrs. Gandhi’s government had imposed during the Emergency in the mid-1970s.

I came to know the women of Saheli through their opposition to all forms of coercive contraception directed especially against poor vulnerable women. In 1997 they were co-plaintiffs in a public interest lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court against the promotion of quinacrine sterilization, introduced by two American men who worked with local doctors to sterilize women without their consent.  [It was an off-label use of the drug (made into pellets for insertion in the uterus) that the FDA had not approved.  In the US the men were associated with the anti-immigration lobby].

Saheli Women have challenged laws and policies, demonstrated against all forms of injustice, and supported sister organizations in the women’s movement.  They are “autonomous” which in the context of the Indian women’s movement generally implies that they are not aligned with a political party.  They do not take funds from NGO’s, funders, donors or any institutional source.  They do accept support from individuals.  Consequently, I wanted to bring their appeal to the readers and supporters of Women In and Beyond the Global. Saheli Women would appreciate a note of support even if you do not send a check. To me they have always epitomized feminist solidarity and strength.  Thanks for reading this note and their appeal below.  And do go to for their stories and accounts in their own words.



From: Saheli Women <>

Dear friends,

As you know, on 13th May 2011, a raging fire gutted many shops and along with that, our Saheli office. The devastation has been incredible, with much of our documents and other material collected over 30 years gone.

Many of you have been with us through these trying times  ̶ to keep our spirits up, to help clear the remains and to celebrate the spirit of ‘moving on’ on Saturday the 28th! Thanks so much for a fabulous evening, and for those of you who weren’t there, here’s a picture of what some called our “hip new york bar’ look!

But seriously speaking, the damage to the structure has been severe, and the Public Works Department says it will take them about 4 months to do their bit. In the meantime we taken temporary measures so we can begin to use the office in some form… so we actually have bricked up some sections and got ourselves a door with a lock to secure the place as ours!And we are now getting our first cabinet and bookshelf from friends.

But there is still a lot to be done: Civil works, re-furnishing the place, cataloguing and reprinting documents, scanning and uploading them, etc. Many of you have made specific offers and we will be sorting through our mails to get back to you for that…

Other help:

Physical work: For those of you who can help with sorting documents etc, we plan an intense spell again this coming week – so do call Vani @ 9891128911 to tie up. Once this work is done, we should be able to ask you all to dive into your archives for documents/reports etc we can’t trace at all…

Donations: Many thanks to all of you who have already made invaluable contributions, but we’re still quite short of our needs, so would be great if those of you who would like to donate, do it now, so that we can stop worrying at least on that one account.

Cheques: All cheques [personal ones only, of course] need to be in the name of ‘Saheli Women’s Resource Centre’ and sent with a letter/email stating they are meant for “rebuilding Saheli” along with your address and phone number/email to:

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre
C/o Ms Satnam Kaur
P-9/B, Ground Floor
Jangpura Extension
Near Eros Cinema
New Delhi 110014
Ph: 9899212066

Bank Transfers: If this is easier, drop us a line and we’ll send you the details.

Cash donations, of course, you can give to any Saheli you know or meet…

All donations to Saheli are exempt under 80G, and yes, and new receipt books have been our first ‘print’ job, so expect them in the mail!

Thank you once again for your continued support, love and solidarity and hope to see you soon under the flyover.

All of us in Saheli

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre
Above Unit 105-108
Defence Colony Flyover Market
New Delhi 100 024