The Centre for Women’s Development and Research (CWDR) was initiated in 1993 by a group of women activists who noted a lack of women-led organizations working for women’s development and felt women headed organizations are best suited to address women’s issues and development.CWDR promotes women’s rights, leadership and empowerment through issue-based campaigns and community level activities.CWDR’s field level interventions focus on three highly vulnerable groups of women: adolescent girls, single women, and domestic workers.We have initiated 3 CBOs-Community Based Organizations ‘Manushi’ a trade union for domestic workers, ‘Maithri’ an association for single women and ‘Snehidhi’ an association for adolescent girls.We are working in 85 slums of Chennai city and 24 villages of Edaikazhinadu Panchayat, Kancheepuram district Tamilnadu.


K.R. Renuka

K.R. Renuka, The Executive Director, has three decades of experience in women’s education and empowerment activities, she has done her M.A. Economics, M.Phil Micro level planning and From Columbia University’s HRAP-Human Rights Advocates programme, New York. She is also one of the founder members of Centre for Women’s Development and Research-CWDR. She is responsible for overall activities of CWDR. She believes that more women headed and women friendly organizations are needed for women’s empowerment. She has many publications related to women’s empowerment, domestic workers rights and SRHR-Sexual Reproductive Health Rights of adolescent girls. She leads by example the CWDR Team and the family with two daughters.


By mobilizing these women and girls through community organizing and advocacy CWDR strives to transform the cultural attitudes and laws underpinning the marginalized position of women in India today.


The Center for Women’s Development and Research (CWDR) was founded in 1993 by a group of female activists in order to counter the lack of non-government organisations (NGOs) for women, led by women. They recognized the importance of female-led organizations in the improvment of women’s issues.
The CWDR’s goal was to serve the marginalized and vulnerable communities of women in the slums of Chennai and surrounding communities.
The CWDR has grown substantially in size and scope since 1993 and now serves close to 100 slums in Chennai city and 25 villages in the Edaikazhinadu Panchayath Kancheepuram district. In addition, the CWDR has expanded it’s focus to include income generation projects for women such as catering, domestic worker job placement, and soap making. The CWDR also became involved in relief efforts for women and children following the devastating tsunami in 2004. Through the building of strong relationships, teamwork, and collaboration with other NGOs and government organisations, the CWDR has established itself as a leader in the region and continues to successfully advance its mission at the grassroots level. Importantly, the CWDR has earned the trust of the women in the communities it serves, aiding it’s success as a grassroots organization.

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