Women Social entrepreneurs and business entrepreneurs are leaving their mark on the world. By creating successful companies, they are contributing to the betterment of the economy. Female entrepreneurship is vital for our future. Collectively we can make a change by closing the gap between men and women in the workforce.
India has produced a number of women entrepreneurs in Social field in the recent decades. They have ventured into various domains and widened their arena into many healthcare, branding, Social services, etc. Maharashtra notably has the highest number of women entrepreneurs in India.
Hello Womeniya. Com always has a very special corner for the women, and the news portals is working towards the women-empowerment right from the inception. Hello Womeniya’s main objective is to promote women entrepreneurs and create their digital identity on online platform. The woman plays a very important role in our society, she is a housewife, a mother, a friend, a colleague for a long time, and now she also plays the role of businesswoman, entrepreneur and politician. Women have started spreading their wings and there is nothing that can stop them now.
In our Inner wheel Social entrepreneur series in this episode we are introducing you a very dynamic and and popular social Entrepreneur of Mumbai who firmly believes in Social service and charity work yes we are talking about Anuja Saha who is also Founder of Naata Foundation, And also Associated with Rotary Club Dis 3141. She shared her Entrpreunerial Journey with Hello Womeniya .
Anuja Saha is a proud social worker, mother and woman. She is a gold medallist in college with a Bsc in Nursing and Msc in Neonatal care.
A family incident in 2008 enabled her to realize that many people in society are probably in dire need of help with no one to go to and so she started Naata Foundation – an NGO with a vision of making people self-sustainable. “NAATA” translates to ‘relationship.’
When she started, she had no support to run Naata, except for her sister, who continues to be a trustee of the Foundation. So, she gathered a group of women, including her daughter Nikita, 18 at the time, her then domestic help, late Vaishali Bondhve, and Sangeeta Jadhav, a tribal teacher from Vanchi Pada, and got cracking.
She says, “It was very difficult for me to even get Rs 20,000, the amount needed to get registered. Whenever we had family occasions like birthdays or festival celebrations, we’d avoid spending lavishly, and instead use the money to conduct projects. Once we started, there was no looking back,” she says.
Naata Foundation functions in the Aarey forest region of Goregaon east and other economically backwards areas around.
Until 2011, at 7 pm every day, the residents of Vanicha Pada – an Adivasi village in Goregaon, Mumbai, had no choice but to return to their houses and stay with no electricity, or running water, and a shabby connection to the city, this village would plunge into darkness after the sunset. That was until NAATA adopted Vanicha Pada as its pilot project that year, and installed solar lamps in each house.
It is one of the 27 Adivasi villages situated inside Aarey Milk Colony, a 3,160-acre grassland, which is also known as the green lung of the city. Generations of Warli tribes live here, in a world of their own making. Due to the foundation, these people have seen an advancement like never before.
She organized to gather funds with the help of the Rotary Club, Mumbai film city, and as a result, installed solar lamps in and outside every house in the village. “For the first time in years, they (the villagers) could walk out of their homes after sunset,” She said .
She feels proud to be a Rotarian and very active member of Rotary International District 3141.
With the support of the ONGC’s CSR wing, the NAATA Foundation set up a fundamental education centre, or balwadi, for over 50 toddlers in the village. After the success of the first balwadi, they solidified three more centres in neighboring villages.
The approach was all-encompassing – even mothers of the toddlers were taught to sew next to the balwadis. A skill they could eventually monetize.
With a grant of a lakh and twenty thousand from ONGC, the foundation set up computer labs in six schools, whose students were from BPL(below poverty line) families, in Goregaon. Other initiatives included building classrooms, toilets, libraries, and even science labs in dilapidated schools, reaching out to over 5000 children as a result. NAATA takes care of an education that is completely free of cost for these students. While funding proceeds to be a challenge, the foundation gets working professionals and college students to volunteer.
A few years ago, the villagers would walk 5-10 km a day in search of water. So, the foundation with the help of Sunil Prabhu, the then Mayor of Mumbai, coordinated with the local municipal corporation to help the tribals get water in, and close to their homes.
Additionally, she says, “It’s a delight to see that the village, which once did not understand the importance of education a few years ago, now has nurses, teachers, computer operators, and technicians”.
Anuja is also passionate about the environmental. NAATA Foundation has planted over 5000 fruit trees in Aarey Milk Colony with an aim will to supplement the income of the community by adding source of livelihood, while also restoring the green cover of the area. They set out with a goals to plant 1,00,000 trees and are very close to meeting this goal. She organises plantation drives, seed bombing events and cleanliness drives on a regular basis.
Despite having a medical science background, she found her true calling doing social work and urges everyone to try and volunteer in someway to help their community.
Over the years, she’s won many awards for her work and contribution to society.