The Work of the Smile Foundation’s Swabhiman Program

Swabhiman Program pic
Swabhiman Program
Image: smilefoundationindia.org

As the vice president of outsourcing services at Cameo Corporate Services Limited, Ashok (Ash) Bagdy works closely with clients to confront pertinent issues for the healthcare firm. A charitable person, Ashok Bagdy supports numerous non-profits, including the Smile Foundation of India (Smile).

Female empowerment is among the many issues that Smile focuses on, and to help in this area it has implemented its Swabhiman initiative to advocate for women and girls. Literally translated as “self-respect” in English, Swabhiman has focused on India’s issues regarding both underage marriage and anemia in pregnancy since 2005.

The program helps women develop self-esteem and the strength required to overcome marginalization in communities that traditionally exclude young women and girls. Swabhiman’s “4 S Model,” which stands for Support for education, Supporters in men, Seeking health care as a behavior, and Sustaining community change, has proven key to these efforts.

Since its inception, Swabhiman has positively influenced the lives of 150,000 women and girls. In some cases, these women become “Change Agents” who reinforce Swabhiman’s work at the community level, ensuring continued advancement in the area of women’s rights.

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