SEWA’s Impact

We are happy to share these messages from those who were impacted by Ela Bhat and Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)’s work.

Aster Tefera Dubale on November 9, 2022

We heard the sad news about Elaben Bhalt. Her strength and leadership have been an inspiration to all leaders that work with deprived women. May her soul rest in peace. I wish SEWA friends to bear the burden and be enlightened to sustain her Vision.

Lucia Di Poi on November 6, 2022

We are very saddened to hear this news of Elaben’s passing, and recognize the loss to SEWA, and to the world. What an exceptional person she must have been to have built and led SEWA, a singular transformative force in Gujarat, India, and globally. On behalf of all of us at CLE we send our deepest condolences to Elaben’s family, SEWA’s staff and members. We know her legacy will continue in SEWA’s work, and continue to have reverberating impact on women, everywhere and especially those working in informal work in seeking equity and prosperity.
Warmest regards to all at SEWA.

Yogesh Ghore on November 6, 2022

I came to know about Elaben and SEWA’s work way before I got to meet her in 2010. I still remember that meeting: I had very enthusiastically described her my field work with women salt producers in the Little Rann of Kutch, giving her the details of the challenges women faced and ways to address them. She very carefully listened to me and did not say much about the work, but she said Yogesh, I FIND SINCERITY IN YOU. It was huge for me to hear that from her and more importantly it inspired me to do more. That’s how I remember my every interaction with her –full of hope and optimism. She gave hope and faith to those 2 million SEWA sisters in India fighting the good fight every single day, and many more across the world. Her compassionate leadership, simplicity, values and principles will continue to inspire us. Rest well Elaben.

Tsigie Haile on November 4, 2022

It is with great sadness that we heard the news on the loss of dear Elaben. On behalf of myself and the staff of WISE, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Elaben’s family, SEWA’s staff and members. The work Elaben started has been an inspiration to the creation of WISE and we treasure our connection which started back in 1996, when I first visited SEWA to learn from their programme . Her legacy will be remembered not only in India but also in other countries where SEWA’s influence has created similar works to support underprivileged women mainly in the informal economy.
In sisterhood


Edwin Amos Okama on November 4, 2022

It is very sad losing such an Icon. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

Anna Sangai on November 4, 2022

It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of this exceptional women’s economic empowerment activist.
The passing of Ela Bhat will be an enormous loss to her family, her extended family including the Self-Employed Women Association (SEWA), and to the women, she cared so much about.

Gord Cunningham on November 3, 2022

The world has lost a giant. Elaben was able to help build and harness the power of three movements (the Women’s Movement, the Trade Union Movement and the Cooperative Movement) in one organization (SEWA) with huge impact across Gujarat State, India and the world. Her legacy will continue in SEWA’s work forever.

Anthony Scoggins on November 3, 2022

It is with great sadness that I hear of Elaben’s passing. We first met almost 40 years ago when I was mandated to develop a new set of partnerships for Coady’s Cooperative Development Program, and SEWA was at the top of our list. Ela was wonderful to work with, constantly challenging us to work and think outside the box as we tackled issues of financial services housing, enterprise development, gender and more. Her legacy is there for everyone to see: a growing, innovative and successful organization of the world’s poorest women. We will not see her likes again. My sincere condolences to Ela’s family and colleagues.


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