Journeys for Change blog
Aangan empowers vulnerable young people to live up to their potential as leaders. The organisation also works closely with government child protection services, providing training and monitoring within children's homes to ensure quality care. Tom Levitt, writer, founder of Sector 4 Focus and former British Member of Parliament, examines Aangan's unconditional faith in the ability that girls have to transform their surroundings.
Life in the dump
Taking control of their own lives
Overcoming community challenges
Reshaping government policy from within
- As small trade workers (vendors)
- As daily wage earners (labourers or small services)
- As home-based workers
- A large identifiable customer base: 96% of all women workers in India are engaged in the unorganised sector
- A deep, grassroots understanding of the needs and life constraints of the women workers engaged in the unorganised sector. Many barriers prevent indeed these women to push the door of a commercial bank:
- Long hours combining work and household activities meaning they have no time to deposit the earned money
- Limitation of the commercial banks opening hours, typically while women are earning their living
- Impossible task for illiterate women to fill forms, let alone to sign their name
- Discrimination felt in the bank as women workers might be dirty after a long day of labour
- Inadvertently missing repayments as many women simply do not use calendars
- How ethical is it for a development bank to generate so much profit, with no signs of slowing down?
- Are there any risks of breaking the community equilibrium by empowering women without giving men the same opportunity to develop their business and raise capital?
This evening, as the sun melted into the horizon over Mumbai's Juhu beach, we marked the start of JFC's November 2011 Social Entrepreneurship Journey.
Nine leaders from the U.K., Ireland, Switzerland, India and the U.S. have converged here. Some are consultants, others work in banking; several are practicing social entrepreneurs themselves. Together, they will explore social entrepreneurship in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, connecting with people creating transformative change from the ground up.
We'll be visiting organisations and social businesses that approach social change in completely unique ways. In Mumbai, our itinerary includes site visits to:
- Aangan, an organisation that strengthens the government's failed child protection mechanisms, including the ones in the notoriously jail-like children's institutions
- Reality Group, which takes outsiders on responsible tours through Dharavi, Asia's largest slum, where it provides education and vocational training to young residents
- Aavishkaaar and Intellecap, which are re-shaping the social sector through impact investing and high-quality consulting
- Barrier Break, a social business that uses technology to empower disabled people through access and employment
We'll then move to Ahmedabad, where we'll visit:
- Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, an accelerator for social start-ups based out of IIM
- SEWA Bank, a bank that helps working women lift themselves out of poverty
- Saath, which empowers slum-dwellers to develop their own community health, education and financial services
- MAM Movies, a group of creative people who use film and storytelling to inspire and transform
- Manav Sadhna, which serves over 8,000 women and children through 35 projects based on Gandhian values