Objectives & Key Strategies:
The elimination of gender based discriminations is one of the fundamentals of the constitutional edifice of India. In fact the Constitution empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women for neutralizing the cumulative discrimination  which women face. The struggle for legal equality is one of the major concerns of SAFMA. We believe Legal literacy is about demystifying the law and making it accessible to the people who can use it to assert their rights. It is often felt that due to their relative isolation in rural areas and lack of  available material in vernacular languages; there exists a lack of knowledge among vulnerable sections on issues of Child marriage, Dowry, Rape, Untouchability laws, Labour Laws, Succession, Domestic Violence etc. 
-Our PUBLICATIONS by being in the language of the people, address this need. 
 -SAFMA has come out with two compendiums, one a DIRECTORY of Supreme Court & High Court judgements on issues relating to WOMEN & CHILDREN and the other on VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. Cases selected promote opinion-change and positive collective action in order to prevent and combat violence against women. 
-SAFMA sponsored publication ‘Married But Not Legally Wed’ dealing with domestic violence ie. Violence against women in matrimonial relationships, be it in a relationship that may be from a legally and socially sanctioned marriage, or a socially sanctioned union, or for that matter the new phenomenon known as live in relationships.
- Legal literacy manual “HAR KAAM MAIN HAI SAMMAN” has been published for making female sanitation worker aware of their rights. These women face discrimination related to their caste and occupation, and deprived of their rights and entitlements under the law. They are paid less than minimum wages and are often forced to borrow money in order to survive and consequently end up maintaining the relationship of bondage. The publication was distributed at ‘Workshop on Awareness of Rights and Upliftment of Women Safai Karmacharis’ organized by National Commission for Safai Karmacharis at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 27.06.2013.  President SAFMA also as Member NCW speaking in the special session on laws made women participants aware of their rights and entitlements under the laws as workers. She stressed that there are several specific legislations like Factories Act, Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, Mines Act, Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, Plantation Labour Act etc. details of which are given in the publication, but no separate legislation for Protection of rights of the Safai Karmacharis, and for regulating their employment. Also most of the persons working as Safai Karmachari belong to historically deprived communities, such as Valmiki; as a result of which they are subject to indignity and atrocity. SAFMA recommended that to provide dignity to them and their work, the nomenclature “Safai Karmachari Workers” be changed to “Sanitation Workers”. 
- Booklet and Poster on “ZERO TOLERANCE” to Sexual Harassment at workplace was designed and conceptualized by SAFMA in association with the GENDER COMMUNITY of the UN Solutions Exchange for NCW. The same has been used and printed by numerous public sector organisations, including banks and widely disseminated.

Information Distribution IN VERNACULAR LANGUAGES

Objectives & Key Strategies:
Filling the gap of Information Dissemination and advocacy of Rights in hindi and vernacular languages SAFMA’s provides information and spreads awareness of the law in the language of the people. Often women are not aware of their rights and do not have access to legal recourse, often because of their relative isolation in rural areas, being socially disadvantaged and due lack of available material in vernacular languages. Hence there exists a basic lack of knowledge about the laws and procedures, which SAFMA publications  in the form of simple Self help Manuals aim to address. We at SAFMA such an approach would invest in the development of women, inspiring them to seek better futures, enhancing self-sufficiency and ensuring access to justice.

Legal Literacy and Training

Objectives & Key Strategies: 
SAFMA has organised and conducted numerous Workshops on Legal Literacy and Advocacy of Rights, specially in rural areas, with the objective to raise awareness among the local community in order to access and avail the existing legal remedies. Also training local human resource/law graduates/ teachers.
Project SAJEEVTA consisted of Pre-marital Counselling and Advocacy of Reproductive  Rights Participatory Workshops  aimed to create an environment for adoloscent girls to seek knowledge and information in order to make informed choices and sensitize adolescent boys on gender issues. Infact SAFMA was the sole partner of Delhi Social Welfare Advisory Board (DSWAB)  in  sensitizing adolescent boys on gender issues. The boys took an oath not to take dowry on 29 May 2003 at a function organised by DSWAB. Workshops  with financial assistance from Central Social Welfare Boardhave been conducted in Rajasthan, and Delhi (East) areas where social discrimination and neglect have been aggravated by the negative impacts of new technologies for sex-selective elimination of female foetus, spread of infanticide, and an increase of violence against girls and women. 

Gender Sensitisation Activities
SAFMA has organised and conducted numerous Gender Sensitization Workshops and seminars on gender and the law. In 2007-08 in coordination with Delhi Police and Sunanda Bhandare Foundation Gender Sensistization Workshops have been conducted for constables in 19 Police Stations of South Delhi District.


SAFMA strongly propogates removal of aberrations in the personal laws and lobbies to harmonize them with the the constitutional guarantees of equality. SAFMA efforts including participation in seminar on “Property Rights:A Gender Perspective” in June 2003, organised by Times Foundation in collaboration with CARE INDIA and Indian Institute of Public Administration, resulted in amendment in the law making it equitable.

Services Delivery

SAFMA provides free legal services and counselling to abused women/children, victims of dowry harassment and domestic violence. Since 2007 SAFMA had been involved in a unique experiment of providing legal aid and counselling to children in conflict with law at the Juvenile Justice Boards, Delhi Gate and Mukerjee Nagar, Delhi including counseling families of children diagnosed HIV POSITIVE. Free legal aid work is being undertaken by SAFMA in association NGO Women of the Element Trust with at Saket Court, New Delhi.

Research & Documentation Unit

SAFMA’s documentation unit maintains legal journals, judgements and newspaper articles on recent developments in case law. Special mention must be made of the Independent Survey & Documentation conducted by SAFMA of the Hand Block Printers/Chhipas (an OBC community) of Bagru, District Jaipur, Rajasthan with a view to protect their Intellectual Property Rights. This is the first project of its kind to be conducted in India and was sponsored by the Office of the Development Commissioner, Min. of Textiles, GOI.

SAFMA has also undertaken a survey on behalf of National Commission for Women (NCW) on the “Human rights violations of victims of trafficking” (2005-06) focusing on the human rights concerns of workers engaged in the sex trade (commercial sex workers), and their right to be recognised as “workers”. SAFMA has conducted a survey on “Discrimination of Girl Child in Uttar Pradesh” on behalf of NCW in 2005-06.

Source of funds: Donations, Govt of India, Ministry of HRD, Dept. of Women & Child Dev, Ministry of Law & Justice and Ford Foundation.


Objectives & Key Strategies: 
SAFMA has been focusing on the Rights of  Traditional & Tribal Artists, with special emphasis on protection of their intellectual property rights right from it’s inception.

SAFMA has been focusing on the Rights of Craftspersons and tribals, with special emphasis on protection of their intellectual property rights. It believes that we are poised at a unique point of time in history when it is possibleto generate unprecedented wealth through knowledge; and there is no reason why CRAFTS of India, should not benefit and face new opportunities with high levels of protection at par with international standards through SAFMA has been working with craftspersons and Geographical indications in the interest of economic development and eradication of poverty. Most of the artisans belong to the weakest sections of society and are vulnerable to being exploited by unscrupulous traders who deal in cheaper counterfeit products, which further exacerbates the tension.

SAFMA  has been working with craftspersons in the field of protecting their Intellectual Property Rights by providing identifiable benefits to artisans that would mainly include, among others 

• Brand Building and promotion of “GI Logo & Mark”; 
• Integration of traditional craftspersons in the modern economic system through GI LOGO registration and usage as a marketing tool thus development of the capacities of local communities in terms of economic opportunity;
• Increased market negotiating power of craftspersons; 
• Enhanced saleability leading to regional development with small local producers enhancing their reputation; 
• Capacity building of local communities in terms of economic opportunity thus contributing to sustainable socio-economic empowerment of this artisan community.

In pursuance of the same SAFMA has conducted numerous GI Awareness workshops including Door to Door  Advocacy among artisans with financial assistance of the Office of the DCH. Due to SAFMA’s intervention Blue pottery artisans were the first in India to have ALL applied for registration as Authorised Users. This success led to other initiatives including ‘Brand Building and promotion of “Leather Toys of Indore”, “Bell Metalware” of Datia and Tikamgarh in Bundelkhand Region (M.P.). SAFMA extended it’s work relating to GI awareness and brand building  to tribal and disturbed areas namely Chhatisgarh and Odisha - Bastar Dhokra in Districts of Bijapur, Kondagaon, Bastar, Narainpur, Dantewada, Sukma and Kanker in Chhattisgarh state; and ongoing projects of Konark Stone Carving  in Odisha and Pokaran Pottery Craft of Rajasthan. 

Awareness of Intellectual Property Rights

-As early as in 1999 SAFMA also held an  International Workshop, in collaboration with India International Centre and Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Speakers included Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister for I&B,  Mr. Jaisingrao Gaikwad Patil, Minister of State for Education and Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, Chairman Law Commission of India. 

-In 1999-2000 with financial assistance from the Ministry of Textiles and the  objective to demystify the intellectual property laws SAFMA published a Legal Literacy Self- Help Manual in 7 languages besides including Hindi, English, Tamil, Assamese, Bengali, Oriya and Gujarati. SAFMA has held a series of interactive legal literacy workshops for the Office of the Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Min. of Textiles, GOI. 

-President SAFMA expert in IPR has PhD. Thesis on protection of Intellectual property rights of holder of indigenous knowledge with a comparative study between Australia and Philippines. Hence in recognition of our endeavors President SAFMA had been appointed Member, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Protection of Holders of Indigenous Knowledge, set up under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Dept. of Education, Min. of Human Resource Development, Govt of India.

-In 2006 SAFMA held a National Seminar on IPR and Protections of Expressions of  Folklore in association with Indian Society of International Law (ISIL). The Seminar sponsored by HRD Ministry and  resulted in the formulation of a Draft Bill on “Folklore & Traditional Knowledge (Protection & Regulation)”. 

Source of funds: Among others, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Office of the Development Commissioner, Ministry of Textiles, HRD Ministry.


SAFMA’s is working in the field of child rights since its inception. Children bear an unequal share of the burden of poverty, hence the special need for care & protection.

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SAFMA believes that children in India bear an unequal share of the burden of poverty and hence are more vulnerable to criminalisation and come in conflict with law. Since 2007 SAFMA was involved in a unique experiment of providing legal aid and counselling to children in conflict with law at the Juvenile Justice Boards, Delhi Gate and Mukerjee Nagar, Delhi including counseling families of children diagnosed HIV POSITIVE,  under the umbrella of FREE LEGAL AID GROUP (FLAG)/ MUFT KANOONI SAHAYTA along with its associates.

SAFMA was not only involved in PROVIDING FREE LEGAL AID to children in conflict with law but also involved in COUNSELLING the children, helping them trace out their parents. In addition SAFMA had been daily counseling families who do not know how to rehabilitate their children, and who want to get their children out of the cycle of poverty, dropping out of schools, taking up addictions, and committing offences in peer groups.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 defines  a child or juvenile as a person who has not completed  18 years of age. It outlines two target groups, namely  Children in need of care and protection and Juveniles in conflict with law. It also states that when a police officer comes in contact with a juvenile he must place the child with the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) who must report the child to the board without delay. The SJPU are responsible for informing the juvenile's parents of the arrest, as well as inform the Probation Officer who will make the necessary enquires about the child. Being a relatively new Act  and in order to simplify it SAFMA  published two manuals separately on Children in need of care and protection and the other on Juveniles in conflict with law, which have been used by UNICEF for police training. The manuals are also being used for training of SJPUs regarding their powers and functions.


SAFMA has been working with children in need of care and protection by providing them educational, medical and other forms of support. Notable is the work of SAFMA in rescuing children from being exploited by making them beg in religious places. Many run away children coming from poor families, sleep on the streets and are exposed to risks of accidents when they beg in heavy traffic,  they are subject to constant abuse and aggression from general public, vulnerable to being co-opted into criminal acts, etc.  In order to protect the childhood of thesee children, they have been counseled by SAFMA in partnership with the Child Welfare Committee, Kingsway Camp, Delhi to leave the street life and be voluntarily placed in a home.


Even in this modern age of science and technology, social evils like child marriage are prevalent in our society, despite the fact that they are prohibited by law. India has the highest number of child brides in the world, although the incidence has been decreasing. Less girls are marrying before the age of 15 (from 23.5% to 18.2%), but rates of marriage have increased for girls between ages 15-18 (26.7% to 29.2%). Major factors perpetuating child marriage are economic considerations (poverty, marriage-related expenses, dowry), gender norms and expectations, concerns about girls’ safety and family honour, and a lack of educational opportunities for girls.

The most effective remedy is to bring consciousness against this evil practise through education and social awareness. SAFMA self help publication on Prevention of Child marriage are used with rural school going children as a tool for advocacy against child marriage.
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SAFMA believes that the survival and well being of mankind depends on sustainable development.  As we enter the threshold of the 21st centuary the vulnerability of our planet’s already fragile eco-system  continues to be threatened with wide scale depletion of natural resources taking place continually.  SAFMA has worked with tribal communities and conducted  programmes in schools in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where students were taught the need to protect and preserve the environment. An holistic and integrated approach is being used so that the right to environment is integrated with the right to life and other legal rights.


SAFMA is committed to the empowerment of vulnerable sections of society, specially tribal women and children. The intervention ACESS TO JUSTICE was conducted with tribal students who were trained to in turn become capsules of change.  Scheduled tribe girls and boys of different academic levels constituted the target-group of the Participatory Workshops. The term ‘rights’ being interpreted rather compendiously to cover not only statutory enactments but also embracing government policies and facilities being targeted towards the scheduled tribe communities. 

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SAFMA is committed to the goal of a drug free society and concerned about the use of drug abuse by vulnerable sections of society, specially children. SAFMA held legal literacy workshopS on prevention of drug abuse  in Bagru, Dist. Jaipur, Rajasthan in 3 local schools covering over 500 students. Since there exists very little knowledge on women drug abuse in India,  SAFMA as follow-up to the legal literacy workshops  conducted a fact finding survey among scheduled caste women in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.


Charity work includes providing medical aid to needy women and children.
SAFMA has a memorandum of understanding with The Stephen's Patient Welfare Society under which it provides financial assistance for treatment to young girls, who had contracted polio in their infancy. Lack of funding and access to education are barriers in their leading a normal life.

The Polio Ward  of the hospital is India's only polio ward headed by Dr. Mathew Varghese, an orthopaedic surgeon, offering corrective surgery for free to those who are unable to afford the charges. Many of the parents of the girls often feel that they had apprehensions of their daughter remaining unmarried but now after the surgery there is a new hope that they will be able to walk on their feet and lead a normal life. Since 1987 more than 7,000 children have been treated at St Stephen's, where in addition to surgery, the hospital manufactures calipers and braces in-house, to keep costs low. 

Source of funds: Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt of India and Donations


SAFMA-TIMES Project for Tsunami Affected Women
Whenever a disaster strikes it is women who bear the brunt! Their houses are destroyed, belongings lost, property damaged and yet the task of keeping the family together falls on the woman, alongwith the burden of obtaining food and water. While there are many NGOs committed to human rights issues, SAFMA’s particular initiative is in imparting legal literacy to women with a view to making them aware of their rights and entitlements; and in integrating poverty alleviation strategies i.e. enterprise development with legal rights awareness amongst women.  Thus helping create an environment where justice, liberty, equality and fraternity are available.

Entrepreneurship and Legal training was provided to women of Tsunami effected villages in Tamil Nadu,  ie Karikattu Kuppam  and Kokillamedu Kuppam, with the aim of creating greater opportunities for women to secure decent employment and income. Entrepreneurship education and Financial services included computer training, use of solar technology, masala making, jewellery designing, use of good accounting practices eetc. Legal literacy included familiarization of women  on the special Constitutional provisions for women, Right to Life including right to health and leisure; Violence against Women including Domestic Violence, Dowry, Female Feticide, Sexual harassment, How to file a FIR, legal aid; Panchayati Raj & Governance.

FILM - “SWASAM- Breathing New Life”,  a 16 minute documentary film highlighting the role of civil society in disaster relief and rehabilitation, in context with TSUNAMI.

Gujarat Earthquake Relief Work

The earthquake which struck Gujarat on 26 Jan., 2001 shook the conscious of the nation. SAFMA in coordination with  the local administration of Panchasar village, Morvi Taluka, District Rajkot, assisted with relief materials. The area was totally devastated -80% of the residential units turned to rubble and the local primary school razed to the ground.The worst hit were women and their items of daily need were totally destroyed. SAFMA helped out by distributing utensil sets to approximately 300 women and provided financial assistance for construction of house of a woman from minority community.

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Objectives & Key Strategies:

SAFMA’s  focus is  on improving the livelihoods of poor women and on increasing awareness and knowledge of their  rights and entitlements under law. 

In 2002-2004 PROJECT SWABHIMAN a Pilot Project for Women’s  Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation was undertaken in Village Hironda, Tehsil Kheragarh, Dist. Agra, Uttar Pradesh The Project had a two-fold objective. One is an intervention by way of organising and building the skills and capacity of women (mostly poor) in income generating activities and small enterprise development through their own self-reliant group action. The other simultaneously  on raising women’s knowledge base and awareness levels of their rights and entitlements, as well as gender sensitisation of the community at large to break socially oppressive traditional practices. The emergence of greater awareness, self-confidence and  “Self-esteem” will make women become transmitters of change initiatives and lead to improved governance, through the demands they make on local governments and authorities.

- SAFMA's continuous endeavor is to address specific needs of women's income generating activities and has provided support to women entrepreneurs who want to be self employed like mehndiwali (application of henna on hands), door to door beauticians etc.

- Supported for formation of self help groups and access to micro finance.

- SAFMA is contributing to Gender equality and women's empowerment which are central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Yet, w
Source of funds:
Ford Foundation, New Delhi   and Donations

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SAFMA  complained to NHRC about  the death of  11-year-old girl reported (Indian Express) to have died in Jharkhand’s Simdega district last month, allegedly due to non-availability of ration, had been removed from the state’s public distribution system because their AADHAAR cards were not linked to the new list. While stakeholders and authorities are quibbling as to the whether the cause of death of the young girl was hunger, or malaria or disease, what is most disturbing is the fact that a system meant as a boon for the poor has become a curse. No one is doubting the need for Aadhaar -linked benefit transfers PDS as it stops leakages, but the insensitive way it has been implemented raises the hackles of any rational sensitive person. The news report quoted Koyli Devi, mother of Santoshi Kumari who died on September 28, saying “We had gone to the PDS shop at Patiamba, about 5 km away, some seven-eight months ago. They told us that our names were not on the list. We did not go there again,” she said.......... Koyli said, “I did not go to any doctor with my daughter, nor did anybody come visiting here. We did not have grains in our house, due to which my daughter finally died.”.....We earn our living by selling wood from the forest. One or two bundles would fetch us around Rs 40-50 per day. We used to make do with whatever we could buy from that,” said Koyli, a mother of seven who has now lost 3 children due to various reasons, including illness.

SAFMA held authorities liable to answer the following questions:-

1. In case of persons like Koyli Devi, who live from hand to mouth and due to non availability of AADHAAR, their names are deleted from the ration list, whose responsibility is it to ensure that they acquire AADHAAR card? Has any door to door effort been made at the grassroot level for AADHAAR card enrolment? Specifically in Patiamba, JHARKHAND.

2. There are many poor persons like Koyli Devi who live in abject poverty and do not understand the importance nor requirement for AADHAAR? Is it not the responsibility of the implementing agency/ state authority to ensure they acquire AADHAAR card?

3. There have been conflicting reports, that Koyli Devi did have AADHAAR card, but her name was removed from the state’s public distribution system because their AADHAAR cards were not linked to the new list issued by the government. In such a case who is responsible to ensure the linkage? Further who will be held liable for death by criminal negligence in a case where a person has AADHAAR but state due to criminal negligence has not linked it leading to the death of a child?

4. When a name is cancelled from the PDS list, do not the authorities question as to why a person’s name has been cancelled? Was it due to death/ghost card/ or other? So that authorities become aware of the shortcomings of their own scheme and can take corrective action, before an unfortunate incident occurs.

5. After all this has Koyli Devi been provided with AADHAAR card and more importantly has it been linked to the PDS? If not done still, authorities must be penalised.

Koyli’s statement “I did not go to any doctor with my daughter, nor did anybody come visiting here,” is a sad reflection of state apathy and lack of food and medical benefits. It is important to hold authorities liable, pin pointing the liability of person/authority, for even the poor have the right to live in dignity; unfortunately however, poverty nullifies their economic and social rights such as the right to food and safe water, and right to health, among others.



SAFMA has been working in the field of child rights since it’s inception and believe that children’s education and health, lead to leadership critical to a positive social change. Unfortunately in India it is the children, especially disabled children from SC/ST communities who bear the unequal share of the burden of poverty, beginning with the absence or inadequacy of health services, and clean water, leading to "health" poverty and thereby denying potential gainful opportunities of them.

SAFMA made complaint to NHRC about deprivation as reflected in report titled “Paralysed 8year old travels 467km for treatment” (Indian Express). It is sad that on one hand India boasts of medical tourism; while on the other hand due to lack of primary health facilities like X Ray an eight-year-old tribal girl is compelled to travel 467 km to Mumbai from the tribal belt of Nandurbar bordering north Maharashtra to seek treatment for a spinal injury that led to paralysis.

SAFMA requested NHRC to hold authorities accountable, including asking for the percent of budget money spent on health infrastructure, giving breakup (primary, tertiary, super speciality) and amount apportioned for tribal regions of the state, specifically Nandurbar.


SAFMA invited to attend NHRC) One Day Meeting on ”One Stop Centre” on 26.09.2017 Chaired by NHRC Member Ms Jyotika Kalra. The objective of the meeting was to review status of implementation of One Stop Centre assessing the existing ground situation and to have inputs from all stakeholders and sharing of best practices. In the meeting senior officials from States of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Ministry of WCD, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Law and Justice, NALSA NGOs participated. SAFMA was represented by it’s President and National Convenor who gave valuable inputs regarding making the process child friendly among others.


SAFMA was nominated  by IPC-EUI Project Management Team to make  presentation on “GI BRAND DEVELOPMENT – Success Story & Strategy to Enhance Visibility” at Jaipur. IPC-EUI Project Management Team organized a series of training and workshops on GIs and new Trade Mark Rules 2017 in Jaipur, Goa, Varanasi and Puducherry.

At the JAIPUR Training held on 19 July 2017, SAFMA President focused on enhancing the capacity of the Indian productive sector, specially Indian handicrafts to compete in different markets, at local, regional, national and international level. In relation to this, the specific objectives were twofold: (i) to provide further specialised training and sharing experience with the Indian legal community, such as IP advisors and attorneys, in addition to GI producers, (ii) to contribute to their capacity to provide expertise to the business community, and in particular, to GI producers. Emphasis being on the importance of control and quality standards and on visibility strategies for GI products. In addition, the Trade Mark Rules 2017 were be briefly presented by the CGPDTM. Over 50 participants attended the  IPC-EUI specialised training, the presence of whom was coordinated by SAFMA team with assistance from RUDA. Topics covered referred  to  both,  the EU  and Indian GI system, GIs and complementarity with other IP rights with strategies to avoid conflicts. SAFMA President shared with participants’ successful and unsuccessful stories from the Indian perspective.

    Prevention of Gender Based Violence