Mann Deshi Foundation is dedicated to empowering female entrepreneurs and their communities. The foundation is the sister organization of Mann Deshi Sahakari Bank, the first Indian bank run by and for rural women. By 2022, Mann Deshi Foundation aims to provide one million women entrepreneurs with access to knowledge and capital, enabling them to have personal and professional agency in their lives.
Meet Our Entrepreneurs
When Vidya was a girl, she wanted to be a businesswoman. Originally, her husband did not support her efforts to her start her handbag business. Then she received skills training from Mann Deshi on how to make handbags. Mann Deshi’s training helped her with identifying the demand for lady’s bags and the latest designs as well as the market for children’s school bags. Vidya’s business relies on word of mouth for publicity, so she began by giving out free samples. The business now has multiple locations, with her products being sold and exported in several cities. Vidya’s dream is to one day build a large company out of her business where she only employs women.
The Malbari Sisters
Sangeetha and Pooja were orphaned when they were young children. After losing their parents, they were left to the care of other family relations. Their relatives arranged Pooja’s marriage when she was only 11, and she did not know that they had arranged the marriage with a deaf, mute man. They began their tiffin business twenty years ago to support their family. The income from the business has allowed them build their house. On a normal day, Pooja and Sangeetha can be found hard at work in their humble stone house making around 400 chapathis a day. The two sisters enjoy working together to run the business and would like to keep the business in the family. Pooja and Sangeetha’s dream is to give their daughters the best education and give them the opportunity to make a better life.
Rupali opened her beauty parlour 14 years ago and her cosmetics store about two years ago. With the aid of a gold loan, Rupali was able to expand into selling products that she uses in her beauty parlour. Mann Deshi has helped her with growing her network and expanding her business. Her favorite part of the business is providing makeup services for special events, because she enjoys the creative element and working with the customer’s vision. Over her career, she has trained 85 students and employs five assistants between both her shops. Since she started her business, she has faced a lot of criticism. Rupali continues to prove them all wrong with her success, and she serves a role model for other young women to succeed.