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The Swades Foundation is a registered Section-8 (not-for-profit) company and all our operations and projects are undertaken as part of this company (w.e.f 1st April 2017).

Read on to know about our journey from being SHARE (Society to Heal Aid Restore Educate) to the Swades Foundation. Ronnie Screwvala with an initial corpus of Rs 1,000 began SHARE (Society to Heal Aid Restore Educate) and continued to progress in small steps. SHARE began by starting a sheltered workshop for the mentally challenged in the Dharavi and Chembur areas of Mumbai which provided training and employment opportunities for young adults.

At the workshop a 'Recycle, Restore, Reuse' programme was implemented which converted old newspapers, cloth pieces, catalogues and calendars into doormats, photo frames, pen stands, carry bags, gift tags etc. They were also provided with the skills to produce agro based products like pickles, squashes and spice powders, thereby generating an income for them and restoring their self-confidence.

SHARE then collaborated with SNEHA (Society of Nutrition, Education & Health Action), an NGO dedicated towards improving health for women & children; we provided a fully-equipped mobile van and supported with doctors and medical supplies to help street children with health care services. SHARE helped many of these children get admitted into de-addiction centers to address their problem of drug abuse and also created vocational training opportunities for them.
In 1999, SHARE started its interventions in rural Maharashtra by creating a savings groups among women in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The program, however, was poorly received due to the non-participation of these women as most of their time was spent in arranging for water for their domestic use.

This led, SHARE (in the year 2001) to begin work to improve access to drinking water in the region through rainwater harvesting. Since then, SHARE undertook over 570 rainwater harvesting projects such as building bunds, ponds, spring cordoning, trenches and afforestation, gabions, eco-friendly bore wells, rooftop rainwater harvesting structures and more.

In 2003, "The International Year of Fresh Water", SHARE forged a partnership with Rotary and SCESA (Sophia College Ex-students/ Staff Association) to work together with the village communities in Raigad district. SHARE contributed its resources (technical and infrastructure) and with support of donors and community (who provided free labour in the form of ‘Shramdhan’) began its work to solve the problem of water scarcity.

Over the next 5 years, SHARE constructed over 1,400 sanitation blocks, installed over 700 smokeless chullahs (cooking stoves), provided over 290 solar lanterns, installed solar street lights, and aided local educational institutions by introducing computer classes and additional English classes.

To enhance livelihood, SHARE trained and assisted farmers to plant a second crop in 2,500 acres of land and implemented an immunization plan for over 13,000 cattle. SHARE also equipped people with vocational skills such as sewing, kitchen gardening, vermi-composting amongst a host of others.

SHARE also facilitated the formation of 111 farmers groups and 276 women's Self Help groups through which most of its programmes are implemented.

Ronnie, who started this initiative of empowering rural India as SHARE, in 2013, renamed it as the Swades Foundation inspired by the movie of the same name with Shahrukh Khan in the lead, which he co-produced. The movie also spoke about improving conditions of villages in rural India.

Swades Foundation, is now a professional organization with a strong team of 350+ professionals & experts and operates with the single-minded focus of empowering 1 million Rural Indians every 5 years. We aim at bringing together best global practices, corporate thinking and accountability, highest standards of corporate governance to create a model of sustainable development, which is an industry benchmark and can be replicated at scale.

In ~3 years since then, we have reached out to all of 2,000 villages in our current geography (6 blocks of Raigad dist., Maharashtra: Mahad, Mangaon, Mhsala, Poladpur, Shrivardhan and Tala) impacting over 471,000 people.