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Reema Nanavaty

Executive Director, Self Employed Women Association

Biography

Reema Nanavaty joined SEWA in 1984. Under her leadership, SEWA has grown to become the single largest union of informal sector workers in India with around 1,836,550 women members. Her focus is on women’s economic empowerment by building women-owned enterprises and women-led supply chains in energy, agribusiness, food processing, waste recycling, and textiles. Ms. Nanavaty founded the SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), now owned by 15,000 women artisans. Under her leadership, the TFC model is being replicated in all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries to build the social enterprises of homebased women workers. She also initiated SEWA’s food security programme that covers one million households. She spearheads the ‘Hariyali’ Green Energy and Livelihoods Initiative to provide 200,000 women access to renewable energy. Ms. Nanavaty worked to rebuild the lives and livelihoods of 60,000 earthquake-affected rural women as well as 40,000 members affected by communal riots in Gujarat. She leads rehabilitation programmes in crisis-torn Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. She was awarded the Padmashri by the Government of India in 2013.