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Antal International continues supporting WomenChangeMakers India campaign

Since last year WomenChangeMakers have had three Fellows in India. Here is a short overview on them and how WCM India plans to engage with them via the WCM Fellowship:

Safeena Hussain, Founder of Educate Girls:Educate Girls has developed a comprehensive model that leverages existing resources from the government, village and school levels and creates community ownership for school reform. They ensure that teachers, the government, parents, and even girls become active participants in the process and operate independently in school governance even after the withdrawal of Educate Girls. Educate Girls is building a cadre of village based youth leaders to work as champions for girls' education and catalysts for school reform. Team Balika works in the schools as well as village communities spreading awareness about girl child education. It boosts enrolment, retention and learning outcomes for all girls. To create synergy, they work top-down with government officials on different levels, and bottom-up with villagers and village committees. This enables them to realize their mission in a 2-year intervention with an average cost of just INR 100 or $2.60 per child -

WomenChangeMakers’ Fellowship so far has helped Safeena and Educate Girls to create a strategic expansion plan, implement key IT processes to enhance efficiency, improve their Human Resource process. This year, WCM India will help Educate Girls to improve their communication process and brand positioning as well as legal framework. Additionally, we have provided Safeena with global platforms to spread Educate Girls mission that has improved her access to partners and donors. 

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:

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 & lsquo;hardcore poor’, such as destitute or homeless women), who fall outside the lending net of most microfinance institutions (MFIs). Through its & lsquo;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:

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.

Antal International's donation will be aggregated with WomenChangeMakers India funding to deliver some key capacity building needs of the Fellows that will help them to strategically scale their efforts. Some of the key milestones for this year for our Fellows are:

1. Educate Girls will expand to 3 new districts of Rajasthan covering a total of 10,000 beneficiary schools.

2. Industree Foundation will expand its skill development training to 3-4 new states of India covering over 10,000 artisans (80% of whom are women).

3. Bandhan Konnagar will expand its program to 2-3 new states in India with vital focus on education for Children and livelihood for women.

4. Peer Collaboration&middot        

Bandhan wants to learn the model of Educate Girls and replicate in West Bengal.

Industree Foundation wants to expand its skill development training in West Bengal by collaborating with Bandhan.



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