There are varying perceptions and opinions around the globe about social activists and social entrepreneurs. In the midst of this are a few successful Indian women social entrepreneurs who have challenged the status quo and the myths about social entrepreneurship.
With a population consisting of 1.2 billion people, India still has around 350 million individuals living below the poverty line. This indicates that one of every three Indian does not have even the basic requirements like education, nutrition and health care.
Social entrepreneurs work to uplift the deprived sections of society and help them lead a better life. They focus on bringing changes in systems in the society, rather than depending on businesses or the government. Though the concept of social entrepreneurship evolved several years ago, it has only recently become a corporate idiom.
India has some successful woman entrepreneurs working for social causes. Many women are turning towards social entrepreneurship because they have the tendency to work in a heart-centered way – an innate quality of feminine expression.
Thinlas Chorol is a social entrepreneur, trekker, writer and more importantly, the first woman in Ladakh to start a travel company, entirely operated and owned by women. The ‘Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company’ is the outcome of Thinlas Chorol’s strong will to prove her identity in the society.
A trekker and a tourist guide by profession, Thinlas points out that she faced several challenges as a woman to uphold her work in the field of trekking, an all-men’s domain. Breaking the glass ceiling was a no easy task for Thinlas because trekking and hiking were always considered to be a man’s interests. For this simple village girl, trekking is a passion and her career too.
On one of her trekking expeditions, Thinlas decided to set up the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Agency. The company is run and managed by an all-women’s team. She also works to help women trekkers develop the confidence to face challenges while trekking.
She envisions a society where women are fearless and confident enough to embark on vigorous treks. The fortitude and determination of this trekker is as strong as the mountains she hails from, and is something for everyone to learn.
Ela R.Bhatt is one of the most remarkable social woman entrepreneurs India has ever seen. She has dedicated her life for the development of the oppressed and poor woman workers in India. Fondly called the gentle revolutionist, she founded the SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) 30 years ago.
Today, the trade union has more than 1,000,000 members primarily consisting of construction workers, vegetable vendors, incense stick makers, bidi rollers and women coming from similar unorganized sectors of business.
Through the concept of microfinance, the SEWA bank empowers poor women throughout the world. Initially started to help Indian women, the trust has now branches worldwide to help women, improve their quality of living.
Ela Bhatt founded the SEWA to guide women, no matter how poor or uneducated they were, to develop the ability to solve their problems. The SEWA today, is one of the best programmes for women and a microfinance model for organizations throughout the world.
Photo source Wikipedia
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