Indien: Parmaben Sava

I am getting old but I shall continue to provide my services to all who ask for them, as long as my health permits. I am happy and satisfied, but I am concerned about others around me.

— Parmaben Sava

Parmaben Sava is a traditional birth attendant who became a leader within her community by educating women on reproductive health issues and rights. A Dalit by birth, she has concentrated her energies in the Kutch area, changing the lives of the women with whom she has interacted, and the generations she has helped bring into the world. At last count, 2496 women had adopted Parmaben as a role model and, over 1000 deliveries later, she is still going strong.

Having given birth to four daughters, Parmaben obviously knew the difficulties a pregnant woman faces and the pathetic situation when giving birth in the region in which she lived. There were birth attendants in the villages, but the services were insufficient, and that motivated her to help other women in giving birth. She learnt from experience and training programs, and these set her on the path to revolutionizing women's health during pregnancy and childbirth. The 57-year-old mainly lives and works in the villages of Banni Pachcham in Bhuj; her greatest success lies in introducing conventional and innovative approaches in the area of women's health in relation to childbirth. At the last count, 2496 women had adopted Parmaben as a role model, inspired by her ability, zeal, and courage. Parmaben did not restrict herself to the region to which she belonged. In fact, she has traveled up to 250 miles from Bhuj to work, because that is how far word about her has spread. Receiving requests for help from far-off places is not new to her, and she has, more often than not, attended all calls. Over 1000 deliveries later, Parmaben is still bustling away.

Pachcham Mahila Vikas Sangathan (PMVS)