Brief History

brief-historyDisha Social Organization was formed in 1984 in Sultanpur, a semi-urban area in Saharanpur district, to address concerns of the vast rural population, particularly women, dalits and minorities.

Beginning from initial activities that included training to traditional weavers, organisation of baan workers (mainly dalit landless), stitching training school (for dalit and Muslim women), education centres for women and men, and health training, Disha has today emerged as a professionally managed organisation working in a large area in two northern states Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand with some 4 million people. For outreach, please click here.


1985: Formation Ghad Kshettra Mazdoor Morcha, a forum of baan workers.

1985: Formation of communication team. Till date the team is providing support to mobilization activities and has won a number of accolades.

1986: Formation of six Mahila Jagriti Samitis (MJSs) in as many villages. These MJSs deposited their meagre membership fee in bank account and used the proceeds to help each other financially.

1989: Formation of Mahila Mazdoor Evam Laghu Kisan Morcha, primarily as a result of social action by MJS of Sultanpur and Pather villages. MMELKM and GKMM have together launched several agitations and successfully tackled them.

1991: Relief work for earthquake victims in Uttarkashi city and adjoining rural areas, then in Uttar Pradesh and now in Uttarakhand. The quake had killed over 1,000 people and caused widespread loss of property.

1991: Association with Mahila Samakhya programme; beginning of legal aid programme

1992: Beginning of construction of office-cum-training centre complex, now known as Disha Training Centre. Land for the construction was leased out to Disha for 99 years by Rajiv Jain, one of the founder members of Disha.

1993: Pather’s anti-liquor agitation

1995: Implementation of Total Literacy Campaign, benefitting 10,000 illiterate people, including 6,500 women.

1995: Formation of self help groups of women begins. Over the years, the number of SHGs and savings has grown phenomenally. To meet expectations of loans Disha India Micro Credit comes into existence in 2007.

1995: A training centre-cum-office complex comes into existence at Devidhar in Uttarkashi district. Only non-residential training are held at this training centre.

1996: Technical and financial support to small organisations and individuals of Uttar Pradesh begins. Over the three years five voluntary organisations, 13 CBOs and three individuals were supported.

1996: Watershed conservation and development project was taken up in a 1,200 hectare watershed, covering seven villages, in Uttarkashi district. This watershed was developed over a period of next five years.

1999: Disha becomes partner of Uttar Pradesh Diversified Agriculture Support Project (UPDASP). This project increased the organisation’s operational area to all the villages in five (of 11) blocks of Saharanpur district.

1999: Construction of temporary shelter for earthquake victims of in Tehri Garhwal district, the quake had hit Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts too.

1999: A major study titled Green Revolution, Equality and Environment Protection: A Study on Western Uttar Pradesh starts and completed in six months.

2000: Formation of woman cell to provide space to the work being done among women.

2002: The   organisation's director visited The Netherlands to present a paper Violence against Women in India: Suffering Continues Despite Progress All Over at the International Conference on Social Welfare.

2002: An intervention with support of ITC Ltd. was initiated in 10 villages of Sarsawa block. This was the first CSR project and addressed health, education and livelihood concerns.

2003: Interventions in Dehradun district begin with a campaign on prevention of violence against women in a part of the plain areas of the district.

2004: Partnership with Oxfam GB in 'We Can' campaign. Disha spearheaded the campaign in 13 districts of Uttarakhand in partnership with 25 local voluntary organisations.

2005: Two decades of work completed. A function was organised on March 15, 2005, to mark the occasion. The highlight of the function was a seminar on the topic Role of Voluntary Sector in Women Empowerment and Prevention of Violence against Women.

2006: Partnership in Aaroh Campaign. The campaign is underway in 14 districts of western Uttar Pradesh in collaboration with as many voluntary organisations.

2006: Interventions in four villages Jhabreda block bear Roorkee in Hardwar district begin to uplift the socio-economic status of the rural women through self help groups and to develop the personality of the rural youths through computer education and life skill classes. Lands of farmers of these four villages were acquired by AIS Glass Ltd. for setting up its factory. This is second CSR project.

2007: Formation of a sister organization Disha India Micro Credit (DIMC), a non-profit company, to provide small loans to the needy people.

2008: Intervention at Rampur district under UPDASP Phase II for the diversification and intensification of agriculture and horticulture crops.

2009: Collaboration with Ambuja Cement Foundation: To implement RCH-II Mother NGO Programme to strengthen the health services under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

2012: Intervention at Moradabad district under UPDASP Phase II for the diversification and intensification of agriculture and horticulture crops.