Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

Hum Sab Ek Hai is tribute to India’s poor working women. The project owes its realization to the Self Employed Women’s Association and its extensive network of cooperatives and trade unions. SEWA members gave generously of their time to meet researchers and artists, while recounting painful stories from a difficult period in their lives. This project would not be possible without the trust placed in the collaborators by SEWA to attempt to chronicle for the wider world their stories of struggle and resilience. Where possible, we have sought to tell it in their own words, and through their own experiences. At other times, we have brought to bear academic and artistic tools to interpret and learn from their stories. 

SEWA’s network provided a strong foundation for engaging with the women and ensuring their active participation in the interviews and throughout subsequent stages of the project. The organization’s established relationships, expertise, and understanding of the needs and challenges faced by women in the informal sector greatly facilitated the project’s access to the community.

The collaboration with SEWA offered a broader perspective and contextual understanding of the structural disadvantages faced by women in India’s informal sector. SEWA’s guidance and support helped frame the interviews and project objectives within a larger socio-economic framework, enhancing the project’s impact and ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the issues at hand.


Dr. Satchit Balsari

Harvard University, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Hiteshree Das

Master in Design Studies, Public Domain (’24)

Ravi Sadhu

Master in Global Health and Population (’24)
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Sabrina Lynn Motely

Director, Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Mihir Bhatt

Director, All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI)


This project is supported by SEWA, and by research grants for archival work and graduate student field-research by: 

  • The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health