In July 2013, WomenChangeMakers India held its panel to select its second generation Fellows in India. The process was extremely enriching for everyone as all the candidates were exemplary social entrepreneurs and the panelists fine experts in their wide range of domains.
Two new fellows, Neelam Chibber and Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, were selected by our jury and validated by the Womanity Foundation. Here in brief their profiles:
Neelam Chhiber, Co Founder and Managing Director of Industree/Mother Earth
Neelam Chhiber was nominated by the Schwab Foundation. She co-founded the for-profit Industree Crafts Private Limited (ICPL) that was set up as a social business, where the profits were ploughed back into production and the skilling of artisans. The non-profit arm, Industree Crafts Foundation (ICF, later renamed Industree Foundation, or IF), was established in August 2000 to focus the organization’s work with rural producers on design development, and technical and skill initiatives in the natural fibre sector. In time, the Foundation’s mandate broadened to include other crafts as well. The Foundation also sought to build up the production base and enable artisans to become owners of their enterprises. In a nutshell, Industree is a hybrid social enterprise that works on two levels: i) it supports the livelihoods of rural producers and agricultural workers in the natural fiber crafts sector across India by manufacturing contemporary products, mainly home accessories; and ii) connects rural producers to urban markets, thus ensuring sales’ outlets. 90% of the 10,000+ producers engaged presently with Industree are women. For more information see: http://motherearth.co.in/industree-foundation/.
WomenChangeMakers’ Fellowship to Neelam Chhiber will support Industree Foundation’s goal of mass scaling its capacity-building of (mainly) women artisans, thus enabling them to acquire a sustainable source of income. IF’s goal is focused on skills’ development and capacity-building programs for 200,000 artisans over the next 10 years. WomenChangeMakers Fellowship’s key focus thereby will be to help Industree Foundation create strong, high quality training systems; develop a sustainable funding model; enhance network linkages and strengthen the monitoring and evaluation systems, which will include measurements of IF’s impact on women’s empowerment.
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh; Founder and Executive Director, Bandhan
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh (CS Ghosh) was nominated by Ashoka India. CS Ghosh founded Bandhan that was set up with a dual objective of poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. The model incorporates two entities. Through a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (BFSPL) is bringing financial stability to poor women through micro-loans in 19 Indian states and Union Territory in which it operates. To date, it caters to 4.8 million disadvantaged women. Bandhan-Konnagar, the non-profit arm of the organization, aims at fostering a deeper systemic development by focusing on ultra-poor women (or the ‘hardcore poor’, such as destitute or homeless women), who fall outside the lending net of most microfinance institutions (MFIs). Through its ‘credit plus approach’, it brings them on par with those to whom MFIs and banks will give credit. Bandhan-Konnagar lends muscle to the women’s financial advancement through community-based programs targeted at education, health, and livelihoods. For more information please see: http://www.bandhan.org/Default_org.aspx.
WomenChangeMakers’ Fellowship to CS Ghosh will support Bandhan-Konnagar’s expansion plan for next 3 years, with a goal of reaching 10 states covering 2,000,000 households through 5 community development programs. The key focus of this Fellowship will be to strengthen the organization’s communication strategy, improve its use of technology, enhance the networking and fundraising capacities, review its monitoring and evaluation systems and advance its women empowerment programs.
Please join us in congratulating both Fellows and wishing them much success in this new adventure with WomenChangeMakers. We are committed to investing in the growth and development of their organisations by offering them relevant expert support, facilitating the provision of professional services and connecting them with our network of partners and supporters.
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