Home About Our Work Resources Careers Contact Us

Crisis helpline

+91 91675 35765

One-Stop Crisis Centre at KEM Hospital


Our Story

SNEHA is a non-profit organisation that works with women, children and public health and safety systems. Our innovative work in urban informal settlements aims to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, child malnutrition and gender-based violence.

SNEHA's Journey

In the early 1990’s, neonatologist Dr. Armida Fernandez and her team were routinely caring for underweight and premature infants born into low-income households. These households often faced poor nutritional and health outcomes, especially among mothers and children. Dr. Fernandez and her team wanted to develop sustainable interventions that would go beyond simply providing stopgap solutions.

They spent time in Mumbai’s low-income settlements, learning about the compounding challenges of lack of information, resources and access to quality health services. SNEHA was thus established in 1999 to work on the twin goals of improving health-seeking behaviour among underserved communities and improving quality of public health services. Today, SNEHA is a 490+ person-strong organisation with extensive on-ground experience in helping build healthy lives of urban women and children. Its vision, mission and values affirm its commitment to the health of vulnerable women and children.


  • 1999

    A group of philanthropists and neonatologists working in Mumbai’s largest public hospitals launch SNEHA

  • 2000

    The Centre for Violence against Women and Children established in the low-income settlements of Dharavi

  • 2004

    Launch of the City Initiative for Newborn Health, an initiative in partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and University College London

  • 2007

    Sure Start Project launched in partnership with PATH and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to improve quality of maternal and neonatal health care

  • 2011

    India’s largest urban Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme launched for children aged 0-3 years in Dharavi

  • 2012

    Received a five-year grant from Wellcome Trust for a cluster randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of community health resource centres

  • 2013

    Awarded a grant from WHO’s Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research to scale and strengthen referral systems for maternal and newborn health

  • 2015

    Upscaled our maternal and newborn health referral system to seven municipal corporations around Mumbai

  • 2016

    SNEHA chosen as ‘Mother NGO’ by National Urban Health Mission, Maharashtra to form women’s groups in communities across Maharashtra

  • 2017

    Launched a cluster randomised controlled trial in partnership with University College London on community interventions for prevention of violence against women and girls

Message from the CEO:
Vanessa D’Souza

I’m greatly inspired by our team’s relentless search for newer and better ways to address public health concerns. We dig deep to understand underlying causes, we try new things, we sometimes fail, but our pursuit for solutions carries on. Looking forward, we strive to continuously adapt our models and build strong partnerships to develop evidence-based, scalable and sustainable public health interventions.

I’m often asked what my long term plan for SNEHA is. I actually hope that in the long run, there will be no need for SNEHA!

I hope that every woman has access to quality and affordable health systems and is empowered enough to make the right choices for her own health and the health of her family. Until then, we must pull together our resources, our thoughts, our efforts and our spirit, so that one day we will achieve our dream of a world in which every child is born healthy, every woman is safe, and all families live in peace.


Winner - Urban Nutrition Category for Child Health and Nutrition Program (Aahar)

Finalist and Special Mention - Sandvik India Diversity Awards 2017, Not-for-Profit Category

Social Innovation and Iconic Leadership Award - World CSR Congress 2016

Best Film - World CSR Congress 2016, Health and Sanitation Category

Changemaker for Mumbai Award 2015


Ahtesab Humanity Award 2015

Vodafone Foundation Mobile for Good Awards 2014

ICICI CNBC TV India Inclusive Awards 2012