Saheli started its first level of activities in the slums by undertaking following work:
Apart from the routine work of helping slum women and children, Saheli conducted an event to recognize the physically handicapped personnel for their outstanding achievements in various fields. The objective was to encourage them to further success and to ring them at par with rest of the world.
Saheli brought new life for the slum women, by introducing self-employment scheme. We distributed 15 wheel carts and iron boxes to slum women to make them stand on their feet. Some of the slum women were also assisted to open small hotels by donating them stoves, vessels, idly cooker etc. In the same year, Saheli also conducted its first spiritual program on “Raksha Bandhan” where all the Dharma Gurus from different religions were present and they blessed Saheli’s slum children by tying Divine Rakhi.
Saheli conducted its first “Mass Marriage” program at Challagatta Village near Bangalore Airport. On this occasion, 101 couples married and Saheli donated them mangalasutra, sarees, and dhoti etc. We also organised AIDS awareness rally from Mahatma Gandhi statue on M.G.Road to K.R.Puram. In the same year, Saheli took yet another big step towards helping slum children and introduced free mid-day meal scheme for its adopted school going slum children.
In 1999, Saheli extended its activities to the other slums in Bangalore and Karnataka viz. Jayanagar, HAL, and Tumkur. Sarees, clothes, blankets etc. were distributed to the people living in these slums. Saheli realized that there was a need to recognize the SSLC students who come from poor families and yet do well in studies by getting ranks. These students were carefully picked from various schools and awarded on the annual day of Saheli’s. The objective was to recognize and motivate them to excel in their further studies. A Widow Pension Plan was also launched to help widows from various slums to live a respectable life. As the activities were increasing, Saheli members decided to segment all its projects into three major areas and thus launched three major areas and thus launched three different wings viz. Health Wing, Cultural Wing, Spiritual Wing and Youth Wing. These wings had their own leaders who had rich experience in similar fields. This helped Saheli management to look for new areas to help needy people, and yet continue doing routine work.
In 2000, Saheli launched its Sports Wing to identify and encourage the sports talents across the entire state including most of the villages under Bangalore rural. Saheli conducted a cricket tournament for the youth from various slums to bring out the talented players in public. The best team was awarded “Saheli Cup”.
Saheli members realized that there was a need to extend a facility to poor people whereby books were freely available to them on all subjects for reference purposes. Thus, came into existence the “Jnanaprajna”, a free public library in Hanumanthanagar. Books, magazines, dictionaries etc. were collected from Public to create the Library and today it houses about 3000 books. This is aimed at helping the poor people, including children and old age people to spend their time effectively and enhance their knowledge. Saheli also adopted four government schools in the same year. The expenses for education of slum children studying in these schools are borne by Saheli. They are provided with school bags, shoes, uniforms, notebooks etc. “Kavisanghama”, yet another wing of Saheli came into existence in the year 2001. The aim was to assist the known and young writes who want to publish their articles, poems etc. but have no capacity to do so. Saheli helps them to publish these articles under its own publishing house named Kavisanghama and takes care of 50% of the expenses. This wing is headed by famous Kannada poet Prof. Dodda Rangegowda, who is a renowned poet and a scholar and an award winner for his literature.