The story of Swadhar begins way back in 1980s. Mrs. Meenakshitai Apte, Professor and Head Of Department (HOD) in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), and Mrs. Mrinaltai Gore, a noted activist, were concerned about the lack of safety of women residing in Goregaon, a suburb of Mumbai. In this regard, they decided to meet the then Bombay Police Commissioner, Mr. Julio Ribeiro to put forward their ideas about how this situation could improve with the help of the police.
Mr. Ribeiro suggested that the two of them could start a centre to provide guidance, counselling and help to the aggrieved women. After the meeting, while returning home, the idea of starting Swadhar struck them.
The first initiative of Swadhar was a Counselling Centre. It was established in Mumbai in 1983, and is still functioning.
After retiring from TISS, Meenakshitai moved to Pune and started Swadhar Pune in 1995 along with two other dedicated workers – Mrs. Sulabhatai Joshi and Mrs. Suchitra Date. Family Counselling Centre was the main activity to help women in distress.
As work for development of woman is incomplete without considering her child, Swadhar broadened its scope to include children. Swadhar was renamed Swadhar IDWC (Institute for Development of Women & Children).