On the occasion of International Women’s Day which is falling on 8th March 2021, Education Today is paying homage to all those women who have changed the paradigm with their determination. We compiled success stories of few women edupreneurs, who are being noticed by their sheer hard work and innovation in the field of education. While their paths are varied, you’re likely to find a desire for change along them all.
Jasmine Bala – Founder & Director – Project Balika
Jasmine is founder and director of Project Balika. operations and partnerships with schools. Jasmine is a graduate from Brown University (B.A.), The Wharton School (MBA) and the Upenn Graduate School of Education (M.Ed). Jasmine also serves on the board of Mumbai’s affordable private school network.
Project Balika: Founded in 2017, Balika is a non-profit organization focused on the education and empowerment of girls from at-risk communities in urban India. Balika works closely with school leadership, teachers, and community members to reduce school dropout rates and build essential skills among girls.
Their focus is two-fold— They increase school enrolment rates through sponsorship and community outreach and once girls are re-enrolled into the school system, They work on retention through leadership development, mentorship, and remedial classes.
Since Their inception, they have impacted over 1200 young women and girls through our initiatives. Their Covid-relief programme launched in 2020 has impacted over 25,000 women in the community.
Pooja Chopra – Co-founder – Khwaab Welfare Trust
Pooja Chopra is the founder of Khwaab Welfare Trust, which is working towards financial independence and empowerment of women living in low-income communities by bridging micro level knowledge gaps and imparting livelihood skills. Pooja deeply believes in the power of financially enabled and empowered woman in positively impacting her child’s education, family’s welfare and community’s development. At Khwaab, Pooja and her associates lead community and livelihood projects where they are developing a thriving market for handmade, artisanal and eco-friendly products created by low-income community women of Mandawali, East Delhi.
Khwaab Welfare Trust: Empowering a creative group of women to handcraft their futures, as well as beautiful products integrated with the indigenous art forms of India. A truly handmade experience by the women of Mandawali, East Delhi, India.
6 years ago, a group of teachers walked through the lanes of Mandawali, a low-income community in Delhi, India. An area defined by unemployment and hardship, the teachers’ eyes were caught by a flicker of peach colours, so stark against the urban backdrop. The flicker was a girl, running around in a beautiful dress her mother had created for her. As the teachers moved through the back streets, they realised that behind closed doors lay huge potential, as unemployed mothers quietly created things that the world was yet to see.
An invisible dot on the map, Mandawali is one of the many places in India experiencing the repercussions of a lack of education and employment opportunities. At the heart of the problem are the women of Mandawali, of whom only 26% are employed, with 90% of their income going to their families, 55% less than that contributed to families by employed men in the area. (a report by Clinton Global initiative)
In 2014, Khwaab started our journey with a dream to financially empower women by imparting creative skills and using these skills to create products. These are now marketed to a global platform with earnings retained by the women and funnelled into the wellbeing of the children and communities. With this dream, these 29 female artisans have gone from earning a few hundred rupees a month, to an astonishing 8,000 to 9,000. We wish to facilitate even more womens’ livelihoods, with 500 female artisans receiving an income of between 15,000 to 20,000 rupees a month.
Ritu Lamba – Co- Founder, Things Education
Ritu co-founded Things Education which believes that children learn best in an environment that gives them the space to explore, to try and fail and try again, and to discover how the world works. They create learning resources to build childrens’ independent problem-solving abilities, develop social and emotional sensibilities, and have fun. To ensure a rich learning environment, Things Education empowers educators by making educational research accessible and implementable in classrooms and homes.
Things Education: Things Education functions from the research-backed understanding that children learn best in an environment that gives them the space to explore, to try and fail and try again, and to discover how the world works.
Though the child is in charge of their own learning, an educator guides the child through clear learning objectives and pushes the child’s understanding forward with well-timed prompts and essential questions. This would require the educator – be it a teacher, a parent or any caregiver – to have an understanding of pedagogy and subject matter.
Through Things Education’s work, they provide learning resources to build the child’s independent problem-solving abilities, develop social and emotional sensibilities, and have fun!
To ensure a rich learning environment, Things Education empower educators by making educational research accessible and implementable in classrooms and homes.
Nisha Subramanium: Founder, Kanavu
Nisha is the founder of Kanavu, an organisation based on School Cluster Transformation. A sociologist and journalist by qualification, Nisha completed her Teach For India Fellowship in 2012.
A 5-year journey as a Program Manager and Senior Program Manager on staff at Teach For India Chennai deepened her desire to explore what the vision of ALL children receiving an excellent education really meant.
All her roads of thought led to rural Tamilnadu, where Kanavu was born.
Kanavu: Kanavu means ‘dreams’. A small team with big dreams, this organization dream of an India where circumstance does not dictate destiny.
Kanavu brings this change to rural India by nurturing leadership in disadvantaged schools and communities. This enables every student, parent & teacher to realize their dreams, irrespective of circumstance.
Kanavu presently work with 5 Affordable Private Schools & allied communities, set up by ASSEFA Foundation in rural Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.
The Association of Sarva Seva Farms (ASSEFA) was set up in the 1980s. It put to good use the lands collected during the Acharya Vinobha Bhave led Boodhaan movement. Having set up more than 100 schools in rural Tamil Nadu, ASSEFA started 6 schools in tsunami affected rural and coastal Cuddalore in 2005. These schools aimed to create nurturing learning environments for children who are disadvantaged by systemic, man-made and natural oppression.
Shalini Datta – Founder, Aftertaste
Her passion to bring about change and make opportunities of education accessible to all children inspired her to quit my 10 year long corporate stint and join the Teach For India Fellowship in June 2010. Shalini Datta graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree and started her career as a software professional with Infosys. She continued her career as a technologist with Cognizant and after a decade of corporate experience she left Cognizant in 2010, fuelled by her desire to bring about social change.
She joined the Teach for India fellowship in June 2010. While teaching in the Municipal School classroom in the low-income community of Malwani in Mumbai, She met women from the community, mothers of the children I taught, who shared their stories of relentless struggle and hardships with her. These women were confined within the community, shackled by the daily existential struggles both physical and social, yet they hoped and dreamed of a better life for their children. The women were in equipped to change the course of life due to their position in the household, and lack of economic means, knowledge and exposure. This inspired her to start Aftertaste, a social enterprise with the mission to empower the economically disadvantaged women from the urban slums in Mumbai, through dignified livelihood, knowledge and exposure.
Aftertaste: Aftertaste was born with the mission to empower women from economically disadvantaged communities through generation of dignified and sustainable livelihood by training them to make aesthetic products through art and craft. Each product that you own has been specially hand crafted by women who could not fulfill their own dreams due to circumstance but now dream for a better life for their families. These women have transformed from unskilled homemaker mothers to skilled artisans who earn a dignified livelihood through the sales of their handcrafted, handmade products at AfterTaste. Empowered with their knowledge and skills, these women are breaking the mould and gradually steering their families out of the vicious cycle.