Brief History

Disha Social Organisation 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.


Formation Ghad Kshettra Mazdoor Morcha, a forum of baan workers.
Formation of communication team. Till date the team is providing support to mobilisation activities and has won a number of accolades.

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.

Formation of Mahila Mazdoor Evam Laghu Kisan Morcha, primarily as a result of social action by MJS of Sultanpur and Pather villages.

Relief work for earthquake victims in Uttarkashi city and adjoining rural areas, then in Uttar Pradesh and now in Uttarakhand. The quake killed over 1,000 people and caused widespread loss of property.
Association with Mahila Samakhya programme; beginning of legal aid programme

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.

Pather’s anti-liquor agitation

Implementation of Total Literacy Campaign, benefitting 10,000 illiterate people, including 6,500 women.
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.
A training centre-cum-office complex comes into existence at Devidhar in Uttarkashi district.

Technical and financial support to small organisations and individuals of Uttar Pradesh begins. Five voluntary organisations, 13 CBOs and three individuals were supported.
Watershed conservation and development 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.

Operational area increases to all the villages in five of 11 blocks of Saharanpur district following association with agriculture diversification project.
Construction of temporary shelter for earthquake victims of in Tehri Garhwal district. The quake had hit Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts too.
A major study titled Green Revolution, Equality and Environment Protection: A Study on Western Uttar Pradesh done.

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

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.

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

Partnership in ‘We Can’ campaign. Disha spearheaded the campaign in 13 districts of Uttarakhand in partnership with 25 local voluntary organisations.

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.

Partnership in Aaroh Campaign. The campaign is underway in 14 districts of western Uttar Pradesh in collaboration with as many voluntary organisations.
Interventions in four villages Jhabreda block near Roorkee in Hardwar district begin to uplift the socio-economic status of the rural women.

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

Relief work in Uttarkashi district in the aftermath of torrential rain and related mishaps, claiming about 80,000 lives and massive destruction of property.

Commencement of girl child education programme to provide informal education to the girls in 6-14 years age group in remote villages of Saharanpur and Haridwar districts.

Health interventions begin in 10 villages of Saharanpur on a pilot basis so adolescent girls and women can take care of their health and hygiene for better healthy future.

A major organisational development intervention, entailing multi-sectoral strategic activities, begins to prepare the organisation for the future.