Mahila Saksham Foundation began as an organization that recognized the economic potential in gender equality and worked towards it with the dual aim of financial inclusion in the Indian banking system, along with 100 % employability for the women of the Mahila Saksham Training and Mentorship Center via vocational skills training and by partnering with potential employers. It is founded by me in February 2019.
2. What inspired you to go for this area of business?
I was selected in the nation-wide cohort of one of India’s pioneering NGOs, Pratham Education Foundation as part of their Pratham Institute of Leaders of Tomorrow Program. I worked on various aspects of vocational skills and development including surveys, case studies, and quantitative research. It was here that I realized the need for there to be a niche sector of women-focused employable skillsets that empowered women, and also where I realized that the difference such programs made in the lives of women was exponentially greater. Men, either due to nature or nurture, see themselves as providers and therefore have the propensity to go out there and seek the skill sets required to earn money for themselves or their families. Women, on the other hand, do not identify with the need to do so unless attenuating circumstances arise or they are faced with a tragedy that compels them to fend for themselves. Creating an awareness of the need for financial independence and empowering women from disadvantaged societies with the tools to become employable therefore became our dual aim, and our organizations’ theory of change. We also believe that women empowerment and more females entering the workforce has the highest economic potential, and will help India reach the trillion-dollar GDP mark that it eventually wants to hit, post the pandemic ends, and once the economy enters its recovery phase.
3. What are all the challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
The biggest challenge has got to be the COVID-19 pandemic, and pivoting the model to answer the call of duty, and help in crises management, in an efficient manner.
4. Share with us the achievements of your company in the industry so far?
Our organizations’ mission statement is that “We stand up in the hour of need and fight for the voiceless.” As a result, the pandemic called for a major response mechanism on our part. In lieu of the same, we launched the #RationForALL campaign that urges contributors to donate money directly for the cause of empowering the daily migrant workers in buying groceries, daily utilities a.k.a ration. A lot of these workers come from neighboring states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and more #RationForALL campaign
This is how the campaign works:
A donation of INR 1,000 will provides the following for a family of 3 migrant laborers—
5KG rice, 1 KG Daal, 1 L Oil, Biscuits, 1 KG onions, 1 KG potatoes, and some vegetables This will help them survive for 10 days until the lockdown period ends.
How to Donate:
We accept Paytm only to the number 8169425343 (Sarala), or you can DM the founder on IG directly (or email at [email protected]) for organizations’ Net Banking details
This amount will be allocated to disadvantaged areas with a high concentration of migrant laborers by transferring the Paytm account to the local grocer directly
Moreover, our on-ground volunteers powered by the M.T.M Group (A charitable trust) will make a kit and deliver the same from the grocer to the migrant workers
So far, we have been able to help over 1000 families and continue to help more. We’vee allocated these funds to deploy over 800 KG worth of rice, 225 KG worth of Dal and counting, 275 liters of cooking oil, 300 soaps and 300 detergents in disadvantaged areas such as Versova, Girgaon Goregaon, Jawahar Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, And Lino Road, Andheri West, Bandra East, Vikhroli, Santacruz East among others.