Check out this blog post by girltanker Aarti Naik of SAKHI for Girls Education! Her venture gives slum-based girls in India a brighter future.
I am Aarti Naik, a slum based young girl Changemaker from Mumbai suburb, India. I am continuously “breaking barriers…and crossing boundaries…” to build the capacities of slum girls, so they will able to continue their schooling confidently with quality learning.
My age 24 years and I belong to nomadic tribe community of India. Since my birth I have been living in slum community of Mulund west, a suburban area of Mumbai, India. Five years ago I was a school dropout slum girl and there was no hope for me to continue my education, but I give many thanks to Ashoka’s Youth Venture`s Changemaker Fellowship, because of it, My life has totally changed. I have become Changemaker of my slum community. Since 2008, I have been working with the slum girls from Mulund west area to develop their basic educational capacities so that they can continue their school education. I am the founder of social venture – SAKHI for Girls Education.
Last year World Economic Forum invited me as a Global Shaper to be part Global Shapers Community. Also I have got an opportunity to attend India Economic Summit – 2011 at Mumbai, India. During Jan, 2012, as a Changemaker, I have got scholarship from Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture to attend Make a Difference event at Hong Kong where 1200 Changemakers shared their ideas for change.
On 4th Oct. 2012 I have got prestigious VOCATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARD for Bringing the Light of Literacy and Motivating to Girl Child Living in Below Poverty Line, this award given by ROTARY CLUB OF BOMBAY SEACOAST”
Today not only I am helping urban slum girls to exercise their right to education, but at the same time I am continuing my education from an open university. My life has become more meaningful with understanding the importance of girl’s education as a path of empowerment.
Five years ago, I have started to work with slum girls who were struggling to continue their schooling due to various reasons. I initiated Girls Education Project through her venture SAKHI for Girls Education (SAKHI means a female friend of girls who support, inspire and guide other girls for their good cause) – to build the capacity of slum girls who were studying 1st to 8th Std. Initially it became very difficult for me to convince the parents of slum girls. They showed ignorance to send their girl child to participate in my educational capacity building activities. Then I started to meet personally the girls’ parents, especially mothers. Gradually parents started to send their girls to participate in project activities. After three months, 23 slum girls enrolled in SAKHI for girls’ education. Initially, during 2008, I met resistance my family and local communities. Only six girls enrolled in my program, because most parents didn’t consider educating their daughters a priority. Still, I am refused to be discouraged. The challenges made me stronger. Passionate about my work, I am pushed forward and operated without financial support for two long years.
Five years ago, I was a slum based school drop-out girl, but today I feel proud to say that I am Changemaker ! And I am building capacities of my slum based girls to continue their school confidently with quality learning.
Find out more about Aarti’s venture and invest in her vision: http://girltank.org/campaigns/the-slum-girl-whisperer-educates-slum-based-girls-in-india/
Check out this guest blog post by Noreen Bautista of Jacinto & Lirio! Her venture transforms a Filipino weed into high eco-fashion.
It’s very insane for someone fresh out of college to plunge in the world and build a social enterprise startup. But that’s what we did!
That’s the story behind Jacinto & Lirio.
It really all started as a college thesis. My co-founders and I were taking up an entrepreneurship class that required us to come up with an actual business. We thought of the idea of using Philippine indigenous materials, because our country has so much abundant natural resources, but the potential hasn’t been fully tapped yet. That idea led us to travel to the province of Laguna, a 3-hour drive from the south of Manila. That was where we met community livelihoods working on the water hyacinth plant. We found out that it was one of the most invasive aquatic plant pests in our country, to the point that it hastened many devastating floods, especially in the surrounding towns of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines. Because of its over-proliferation, the government and private sector came up with programs to control the growth, and some of those programs involved livelihood projects that turned the water hyacinth stalks into woven products.
But what really caught our eye was a community-based innovation that made the stalks of the plant look like leather. You see, we were not the ones who invented the water hyacinth leather material. But it was local artists who thought of a way how to use the plant’s stalks in an innovative manner. We instantly fell in love with the concept and saw the potential for it in the fashion market because of its sleek and shiny look, its versatility for color, and the genuine innovativeness that it had.
Since then, we’ve been working hard to create a brand that will really tell the stories of the innovative talent and materials here in the Philippines, and are making sure we build a business that creates real value for all!
Find out more about Noreen’s venture and invest in her vision: http://girltank.org/campaigns/filipino-innovative-technique-makes-beautiful-and-eco-friendly-handbags/
Check out this guest blog post by Laurin Hodge of Mission Launch & The Returning Citizens Project! Her venture turns former inmates into entrepreneurs and innovators.
I totally never planned to be this person; yet, I did not pick prison, prison picked me.
As a result of living the incarceration life cycle (pre-trial, trial, post-trial, incarceration and re-entry) with my Mother, I fully understand: (1) people do not go to prison, families do and (2) the time to plan for re-entry is before you go to prison.
From the moment prison was on my family’s radar we began preparing for what life would be like in August 2011 – the month my mother would come home from prison. Over the course of the last 2 years we discovered that three things are critical: (1) resources (2) technology and (3) an opportunity.
I’m Laurin and I live and work in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.
Running between two cities – Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD – I have piloted 2 unique efforts to address the gaps in the 3 critical areas I mentioned above. The GirlTank platform is providing an amazing opportunity to raise the $50,000 I need to seed my efforts. With proof that my theory works we can go on to reach millions of returning citizens, their families, their neighbors and the economies they contribute to and rely on.
Having an “us versus them” mindset when looking at prison re-entry is not only socially unsafe but it is economically costly. Every week more than 10,000 people re-enter society after some form of correctional supervision and I believe we, all of us, can do better to help citizens return.
So I’m committed to building web and mobile technology that makes finding supportive communities and managing life after prison with greater autonomy possible. Likewise, I’ve built a solution for motivated returning citizens who are willing to commit to the path of entrepreneurship as a means to create their own opportunity – since nearly 70% of women and men won’t get a job after prison.
The more we shine the light on the fact that 1-in-33 Americans are or will be incarcerated the faster we can work to help lift our returning citizens up to rejoin the core of society in a safe and sustainable way.
Find out more about Laurin’s venture and invest in her vision: http://girltank.org/campaigns/locked-up-but-not-locked-out-former-inmates-are-our-next-big-innovators/
Check out this guest blog post by Karima Grant of ImagiNation Afrika! Her venture uses play to churn out Africa’s next batch of creative and radical leaders.
SO excited to be joining the Girltank global family and having the opportunity to connect with you, fellow changemakers and dream-believers!
In advance, thank you for taking the time this month, to get to know me, my team and explore the powerful possibilities we are building (with your help) for viable creative change for African girls and boys.
The past month has been an exciting one! We have just finished our ‘In The Footsteps of ICT Girls’ program and exhibition and have just received the Senegal Country Award for Excellence in Educational Entrepreneurship from the UK NGO Teach A Man To Fish.
As we journey with the young people in our program toward the June launching of our exhibition ‘Next Stop: Brooklyn/Dakar’, I look forward to sharing with you our challenges and successes.
Until soonest, keep imagining!
Find out more about Karima’s venture and invest in her vision: http://girltank.org/campaigns/first-childrens-museum-in-all-of-sub-saharan-africa/
Check out this guest blog post by girltanker Faiza Hajji! Her projects IFASSEN and Dar al Amal aim to jumpstart a green economy in Morocco.
Don’t tell me one single woman can’t change the world. If I had thought so, nothing would, indeed, have changed. But I never stopped believing that I could do something, with my own means, to improve the situation of my region of origins.
Picture this : an isolated Moroccan region and city, Berkane, where plastic bags follow the wind’s breaths and fly among people, cars and donkeys. When you live the city you are struck by the emptiness of its countryside…at first sight! Since, when you have a closer look, you notice that it is far away from being empty. You go on and meet so many people, shepherds, children, men… The time is like frozen : nothing moves, everybody waits. For what? A taxi to go to the city, a bus to go to school, or a little sun to warm up after a cold morning. Just waiting outside because nothing happens at home.
Actually you don’t really see women outside. They take care of the kids and of the house, cooking, cleaning up, weaving… When you come to know them, you realize their life has nothing to do with yours. You were the lucky one : born in Berkane in a family where girl’s education and independence was fundamental. Most of rural women in Eastern Morocco can’t read nor write. They barely went to school.
That’s when I got an idea : teach them how to weave alpha, a local plant, together with recycled plastic bags. Once graduated, I created the Association du Docteur Fatiha (ADF), from the name of my deceased mom, to empower women and fight for environmental protection. We gather rural women in cooperatives: they become a group which is trained and receives literacy courses. To provide them with the raw materials they need (i.e. plastic bags), ADF establishes collecting spots in the city and organizes awareness-raising campaigns in schools of the region. In that way, two issues are addressed in a raw, which creates a sound virtuous circle. This is for what I’ve been doing since 2008.
Today, it’s time for the association to step up. I want to build an innovative center, dedicated to promoting a local and green economy. It will be a place where hope is possible. For all those graduated and dynamic young people who can’t find a job and change country to try building a better future for themselves. For all those impoverished young people who have ambition but no means to envision a different future from their parents’. For every man and woman willing to contribute to the improvement of their life and their environment, or willing to act for their community.
For all those great people who need a little help to kick off their project or take charge of their own future, I want to build this place.
Find out more about Faiza’s venture and invest in her vision: http://girltank.org/campaigns/an-awesome-way-to-re-take-a-polluted-city-in-morocco/
Check out this guest blog post by girltanker Celeste North! Her venture NuFlick promotes Latin-American culture with an innovative video-on-demand platform.
I’ve always liked movies. For me, they are one of the best ways for someone to express feelings, ideas or to share what they consider important. But film is the most collective of all arts, thus it requires a lot of money. Painting, making music, other types of art you can do on your own, filmmaking requires a community to create and to share.
Before NuFlick I was a filmmaker, and I had a group of people that believed in the importance of creating our films but we lacked a space to reach our audience. Self-distributing wasn’t as easy as it is now and traditional distribution channels continue to be very expensive and closed to many indie artists.
Out of this frustration NuFlick was born, with the mission to enable independent filmmakers to publish and distribute their work to a public eager to discover and share films with different points of view to what was regularly catch at the cineplex. We’ve been focusing mostly in Latin America, where production is strongly tied to government grants and distribution is a bigger problem than producing.
So far we have over a hundred films published and everyday we strive to grow and become a megaphone for incredible artists that lack a stage. You can help us in achieving this mission, join us in disrupting the Latin America Film Industry.
Find out more about Celeste’s venture and invest in her vision: http://girltank.org/campaigns/cool-online-streaming-platform-for-indie-latin-filmmakers/
Women and girls with big dreams for social change! Check out the first eight in our brand new crowdfunding class!
We are the winners of the Women in the World “Mothers of Invention” Award sponsored by Newsweek/The Daily Beast & Toyota! Woo-hoo!
from the desk of girltank Cofounder, Sejal Hathi:
I believe that all girls are a powerful movement: a brilliant and unstoppable force that can solve even the world’s most intractable challenges, if only they are granted the tools and opportunity. For five years, I have worked to empower this movement, by founding two organizations, Girls Helping Girls and now girltank, to equip girls globally with the training, mentorship, and support networks to create sustainable social change. We have partnered with thousands of young women, from 104 countries, working to sculpt a better world. And the tenacity and enterprise of these budding changemakers never cease to inspire me. Yet too often, from Brooklyn to Accra, these same young women struggle to translate their intent to action. They advance promising ideas, but critically lack the technical training and support to build out their own visions.
I am a young woman social entrepreneur, and I am worried. I am worried because I see thousands of girls fearing to engage creatively with technology, and technology is the language of social innovation. I am worried because I have heard my suitemate frequently report being the only girl in her advanced math classes, and this isolation often overwhelms her. I am worried because I know, the future of our world lies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.); but this world will look haplessly bleak, if girls are not vigorously supported to master the tools of its design.
The reasons for this situation are crisply clear: Today’s innovators in the realms of technology, business, science, enterprise—in the public as well as the private sector— are overwhelmingly men. We live within a global culture that has institutionalized and apotheosized the male innovator, while rarely recognizing the female. Though girls are just as brilliant, capable, visionary as boys, when faced with few role models, even those girls who dream of designing the future, like my suitemate, can feel isolated and unsure.
This is why now more than ever it is vital that girls intrigued by S.T.E.M. be supported, encouraged, and celebrated—that we rebrand S.T.E.M. as a woman’s field, too, and demonstrate that every girl has the power to be the next Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg, or Jane Goodall. With the launch of its For Girls in Science initiative, L’Oréal USA is leading just this charge. In www.forgirlsinscience.org, L’Oréal USA has created a vibrant new platform for inspiring and empowering girls to pursue careers in S.T.E.M. Featuring everything from videos of women scientists on the job and facts on famous women in S.T.E.M., to a career personality quiz, career opportunities in S.T.E.M. fields, and summer and weekend camps, the website serves up science, technology, engineering and math in a way that is engaging, interactive, and cool. The platform beautifully gathers all the S.T.E.M. resources, support, role models for girls in one, central location, and I am thrilled to partner with L’Oréal to highlight and share it with and for girls.
In celebration of its launch, L’Oréal USA’s For Girls In Science program has organized a “Why S.T.E.M is Cool” video contest for students aged 13 to 18, to produce and upload their most original, engaging, funny or compelling videos expressing why S.T.E.M is cool. Students can submit their video in one of four categories: science, technology, engineering or mathematics, and become eligible to win one of several prizes once they do. The contest is a fun way for girls everywhere to learn more about S.T.E.M. fields and join the movement to change the gender ratio in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
With L’Oreal’s vision and the efforts of thousands of girls themselves, it seems the world is finally wakening to the power and potential of girls in S.T.E.M. The days of my worrying, at last, seem numbered.