How we do

Value-based work


I know the path      

It is straight and narrow

It is like the edge of a sword

I rejoice to walk on it             

I weep  when I slip.         

God’s word is:      

“He who strives, never perishes.”

I have implicit faith in that promise

Though, therefore, from my weakness

I fail a  thousand times   

I will not lose faith    

but hope that         

I shall see the light

 Mahatma Gandhi



Preservations  and  maintenance  of  moral  and  ethical  values  while  carrying  out  all activities  has  been  a  critical  element  of SEWA RURAL’s  organizational culture.  At SEWA-Rural, we believe that means are as important as ends. Accordingly,  a resolve  similar  to  the  serving  the  poor,  was  made  right  from  the  beginning  of SEWA RURAL   about  not  to  compromise  in  the  values  in  all  functioning  and  working  of  SEWA RURAL even  though  it  may  entail  delay,  greater  efforts,  lesser  achievement,  at least  in  the  beginning,  and  even  extra  financial resources.  Our approach is reflected in following examples which reflect our transparency and accountability, accounting practices, respect towards women employees and efforts to preserve character of all employees.


SEWA Rural insists on issuing a formal receipt for all donations which eliminates financial contribution of unaccounted money. Situation  often  arose  when  large  fund  is  at  hand  in  one  particular programme  while  another  one  has  severe  financial  crunch  for  one  or  other  reason.  In spite  of  this SEWA Rural’s  policy  is not  to  divert  the donated  and earmarked  funds  from  the  programme for  which  it  was  received  from  a  trust,  agency  or  individual.  As  the SEWA Rural   accounts books  and  correspondence  are  open  to  staff  members,  they, and at  times even  the donors,  would   occasionally wonder  at  this  apparent  paradox  but  lately  have  started  appreciating  the  worth  of  this  value. Our annual report is the proof of our transparent accounting practices as it contains detailed information about the same. Click here to read last annual report.


Once  in  a  while,   sections  handling  cash  would  find  it  difficult  to  reconcile  the exact  cash  accounts  but  SEWA Rural has  resisted  short  cuts  of  any  kind. And  when  a mistake committed  by  an  individual, it is identified  and  owned,  the  entire  organisation comes  forward  to  accept  error  and  all join  in  the  remedial  measures  emphasising  joint  collective  responsibility. Following case study demonstrates such an incident which tested our resolve.


SEWA RURAL  found  out,  rather late,  that  an  accountant  working  in  the  office  for  several  years  swindled  Rs. 4.0 lacs over  a  period  of 2-3  years.  It  was  shocking  to  all  involved  in  managing  the  affairs  of  organisation  including  couple  of  visiting  consultants  of  the  concerned  area.  The necessary  formalities  and follow  up,  including  ensuring  his arrest  in  a  far  distant  place,  were  duly  completed.  But what    about the actual deficit?  And the  accountability to people and the  cause ?

First,  the  entire  episode  was  discussed  in  greater  detail  not  only  to  find  out  the  truth  but  also  to  share facts with  all  including the staff  members, SEWA RURAL’s  well-wishers  and  larger  society.  It was  consciously  decided  not  to  hide any  facts  in  any  circumstances,  though  it  was a  major  embarrassment.  It  was  also  decided  in   the  staff  gathering  and  trust  board  to  make  up  the  shortfall  by  voluntary  contribution from  all.  Of  course  it  required  4  years  of  time  for  all  to  mobilize  funds  from their  personal  savings.  Looking  back,  SEWA RURAL  feels  highly  satisfied  that  the  organisation  could  fulfil  its  obligation  as  per  its  cherished  tradition  and  value  system.

Another  ethical  aspect  is  related  to respect  for  women &  preserving character.  Being  largely  involved  in  Health  and  Medical  services  there  are  large  number  of  women,  many  of  whom  young and unmarried. SEWA RURAL does not  take  kindly  any  kind  of exploitation  of  women,  transgression  in  character and interpersonal relationship.


Reaching out & assisting the poor
Reaching out  & assisting   the  poor


Reaching and serving needs of the poor has remained the  foremost  mission  of  SR  all  these  years.  It  permeates  all  programmes  and  projects of  SR,  be  it a poor  patient  of  hospital, an  old  woman  attending  diagnostic  eye  camp  for  possible  cataract  surgery or  young  blind  man  trained  how  to  run  petty  shop  in  village  or  a  tribal  from  distant panchamahal  district  attending  TB  clinic,  a  mother  receiving  maternal  care  by  Traditional  Birth  Attendant  or   a  new  born  being  attended   by  a  village  level  worker  or  paediatrician  of  the  hospital,  a  child  of  disadvantaged  family  attending  Tutorial  classes,  a  school  drop  out  from a distant  village  enrolling in  Vivekananda  Gramin  Tekniki  Kendra   or  a  woman  working  in  PAPAD  centre  who  earlier  worked  as a labourer  in  farm.


The  strong  emphasis  on  reaching  out  poorest  of  the  poor  and  ensuring  that he  or  she  is  not  left  out  is  stressed  again  and  again  at  various  forums  or  SR.  This  approach  kept  the  so-called  well  to do  family  away from  participating  the  programme or  taking  advantage  of  services.  e.g.  they  did  not  want  to  have their   bed  next  to a  poor  family  while  admitted  to  the  hospital.  Though  none  was  denied  treatment,  such  happening  was  perceived  as a  tangible  evidence  of  our  having largely  reached  the  group  who  needs  to  be cared  the  most.   As it  happens  often  the  services  and  benefits  meant  for  the  poor,  some  how  or  other,  get  cornered  by  the  well to do  section  of  society. Rarely  it  is  difficult  to  pursue  the SR workers  to  make  necessary  efforts  and  room for  the  poor,  the latter sometime being  irresponsive  or  similar  reason.  But  emphasizing  reaching  the  poor, as a mission,  through  group  and  staff  meetings,  informal discussion,  workshop,  discourse  by  eminent  personalities  from  time  to  time,   the   main  focus  of  the  work – LAST  MAN–  i.e. poorest  of  the  poor,  usually,  remains.  Our  efforts  to  reach  out  to  the  poor  at  times  alienated  us  form  the  well  to  do  sections  of  society,  particularly  in early  stage.   But  slowly,  for  one  reason  or  other,  they  have  started  largely appreciating  and  accepting  our  approach.



Self development and spiritual outlook
Self development and spiritual outlook


The third  and  last  component  of  Mission  has been  self-development  of employees.  This  may  be loosely correlated with  popular  human  resource  development. But there is  a  difference.  It  has  its  roots  in  spiritual out look,  as  one  of  critical  approach   of  SR  towards  life,  work  and  probably  world.



As long as  I  live

So  long  do  I  learn.

– Sri  Ramakrishna

It is  believed  and  hoped  that  all  the  voluntary  efforts  and  other  endeavours  in  civil  society  will significantly  reduce poverty,  exploitation and  injustice and also bring  about  considerable  changes  in  several  other  situations  related  to environment,  governance  etc.    It is  also  obvious  that  the civil society  changes  but  very slowly  over  a long  period  of  time.  It  involves  efforts  of  many  individuals and institutions  at  several  levels involving  multiple  fronts. A young  idealist,  when  he  starts  getting  involved  in bringing about  social  change,  sooner  or  later,  gets  exhausted  and,  at  times,  disillusioned  seeing  either  no  change  or  very  little change  in  the  larger  society.  He needs  an  additional support  at  a  personal  level,  an  inner  anchor  as  it  is,  to  accept  the  paradox  of  assenting  no  change  in  society and  at  the  same  time  making  all  out efforts  to bring  about  the  change.  SR feels  that the  spiritual outlook  provides the necessary clarity, conviction  and  strength  to  the  people  involved in  this  process  of  social  work  and  social

change  to  accept  these  two contradictory  situations.   It  provides  the  essential   grit  and  stamina  to  continue this  struggle  in life,  work  and organisation.  And  this  is  the  meaning  and  import  of  self-development  as a third critical element  of  SR’s  mission.  This has  found an  expression  in the saying  of  Sri  Ramakrishna  that  is elaborated  in  SR  time  and  again,  as  and when necessary, in relation to programme  discussion.


There  are  several  small  but  significant  inputs  in  daily  schedule  and  routine  of  most  of  SR members  by  which  self-development  aspect  is  emphasised  over  and  over  again.  The  process  is  slow,  rather voluntary and  interwoven  in  many tasks of  programmes.  It takes  a form  of inspirational  reading  in  the  beginning  of  most  of  discussions  and  meetings,  prayer  or  quiet  time  of  couple  of  minutes,  elucidating  elements  of  mission  in  relation  to  achievement, difficulties  or  failures of  either  individual,  group  or  organisation encountered  during  the  programme  implementation.     For  this  SR  draws  upon  rich  heritage  of  Indian  culture and diversity  besides  spiritual  literature  related  Vedanta,  Christianity,  Jainism and Buddhism  etc.    In  addition  experiences  of  other  voluntary  initiatives,  training  and  academic  institutions  also  help  in  clarifying  and fortifying  the  same.



Apolitical approach
Apolitical approach


For  several  reasons, SR  has ensured that its work and organizational culture is apolitical  and  not  to  get  involved  in  partisan  politics.  As  and  when  required  in  relation  to  programme  need,  interactions  with  Govt.  officials  are  done and intimate contact  with  the  elected representative  is  kept  at minimum. It  was  consciously  decided  that  in formal programme  inauguration  and  annual  functions  either  social  workers  or  spiritual  luminary  are  given  a prominent  place.


SR  took  adequate  care  right  from  the  beginning  so  that  it  did  not  get  identified  with  one  group  or  other  in  local  political  scene.  Due  to  SR’s  nonpartisan  approach  all  sections  of  civil society  including  different  local  groups  and  state  level  eminent  persons  and  intellectuals  readily  comes  forward  to  help  us  overcoming complex  problems.  The  outright  support  from many spheres of  state  level  society  and  almost  all  sections  of  local  community,  including the local  administration,  removed  the  doubt,  if  any,  of desirability and  efficacy  of  SR’s  nonpartisan  work  approach.



Collective leadership

Collective leadership


The  concept of Collective  Leadership is  an  important  part  of  SR  right  from  the  beginning.  It  grew  into   intensity  over  a  period of  time  and  has  become  a  critical part  of  informal  core  value.  It  helped  SR  to  undertake  many  programmes  all at  a  time.  It  provided  enough  impetus  to  decentralize  the work considerably after the  initial policy  decision  was  taken  and  accordingly delegated  substantial responsibility  to others.  It  gave  lot  of  scope  for freedom and innovations in  programmes  which were  very  important  because  many  young  professionals  joined  SR’s  original  group.  And  this  may  be  one  of  important  reasons  why  several  of  them  continued  to  work  in  SR  for  many  years. As on date,  SR has  75   workers who  have put   in  more  than a  decade’s  work.  Along with entrusting  responsibility to the  core group  and   key   members of  SR, careful efforts  were  made  to  share  power  with  them  in  managing  the  affairs  of  organisation.  The  recognition from society  in  form  of  accepting  awards bestowed to  SR,  media  coverage,  contact  with  leaders  in  different  fields,  attending  national  and  international  workshops  were  not  kept  in  custody  of  couple  of  people  but  was  readily  shared  with  the  core  group  members  and  others.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  in  many  situations  where  there  is  limelight,  race  will  ensue,  so  to   say,  to  pass  on  the  spot  light  to  a  colleague.


Two  members  of  SR  who   joined  as  full  time  employees in  very early  stage  of  organisation  became  core group  members  and  eventually  lifetime  trustees  of  SR.  This was  done  seeing  their  commitment,  technical  capability,  proven  ability  over  a  period  of  time  and  because they largely subscribed to ideals  and mission  of  SR.

Succession  in  top  leadership


For SEWA Rural, its mission is the most important issue rather than individual power. 1992  was  the  momentous  year  in  the  life  of  SR,  as  it  witnessed  the first succession  in  top  leadership.   The  Chief  functionary  and  founder  Managing Trustee of  the organisation,  Dr. Anil  Desai, decided  to  pass  on  the  organisational  leadership  to  his  colleagues.  This  was  the  first  change  since  inception  of  the  organisation  and  was  carried  out  through  careful  planning  and  deliberations  at  all  levels. In  the  first  week  of  January  1993,  Dr.  Lata  Desai  and  Shri  D. A.  Anandpura  took  over  as  Managing  Trustees.  The  change  was  very  smooth  and  proved  that  the  team  building  efforts  and  spirit  of  collective  leadership  were  really  effective  to  sustain  and  ensure  growth  of  the organisation  and  enthusiasm  of  the   whole  team.  It  is  felt  that  in  the long  term  interest  of  organisation,  similar  change  needs  to  take  place  after  few  years  for  which  at  least  initial  spade  work  in  form  of  informal  discussion  has  already  begun. After the untimely demise of Shri D.A. Anandpura, Dr. Pankaj Shah joined Dr. Lata Desai as a managing trustee in 2004. To continue this tradition, Dr.Lata Desai resigned from managing trustee and Shri Bankim Sheth joined Dr. Pankaj Shah as managing trustee in 2010


Latest News

  • Use of technology for surveys

    SEWA Rural is organizing a workshop with title “Use of technology for surveys” on 20th & 21st December 2017The objectives of the workshop are - participate should be able to narrate the concepts involved in use of technology,  advantage - disadvantages of technology, task involved in technology, non-technology tasks to maximize use of technology in the survey, primary orientation of open source survey, and also able to make the basic application for the field survey. 
     Interested persons can contact us on and with subject title “Technology
    workshop”. The closing date for receiving application is 11-Dec- 2017.