Womengathering_2.jpgNISHTHA's History

NISHTHA was founded almost 35 years ago by Ms. Preetila Das.  During the year of 1974, Ms. Das saw her village go through a social holocaust.  That very year, four young housewives committed suicide, six newly wedded girls were thrown out of their homes by their in-laws, and many young girls were sold into sexual slavery.  She realized that she must do something to change the desperate plight of women in her village and so she started a small women’s center. Primarily, the activities of the center were limited to running a dispensary, an adult education centre and a stitching training school.  However, it’s more important function was as a gathering place that offered a patient and kind ear to the women who could share their untold miseries. At the women’s center they could at least give voice to their innermost pain. With time, NISHTHA’s leadership passed from Preetila Das to her daughter Meena and a group of young associates, including her granddaughters Mimi and Manami. The younger leaders stressed a change in focus from social services (benefactor) to an approach aimed at social change and women taking control of their lives (change agent).  NISHTHA has enlarged it's scope over the past 35 years to encompass more than 250 villages and encourages female empowerment through women’s groups, raising awareness of social issues, education and ensuring livelihood security.