‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’ — Helen Keller
There are many divisions in the world and there is much strife and suffering at every level of humanity, from families to communities to regions and countries. However, there is also enough compassion, love, and altruism to alleviate all the problems we face. All that we have to do is come together and if we bring a smile to one person, we have succeeded. Imagine how much more we can do if all of us bring out intention and action of compassion!
With this thinking and mindset, Samir A. Desai and Nilima Desai started the Desai Foundation in 1997 to serve the communities that once served them. And what’s a better way than nurturing women and our children? For the last 25 years, the Desai Foundation has consistently worked for the betterment and upliftment of women and children in disadvantaged communities across India and the US. In the process, the Foundation has created so much synergy by working with so many partner NGOs, public organizations, and community leaders to light up the lives of young girls and boys, ease the lives of women, and create a better tomorrow for all of us.
We, at Jay Ho ! The Jay Kumar Show, commend the Desai Foundation for their philanthropic work and wanted our readers to know more about them in accordance with our mission statement of inspiration and motivation.
Like all good results, things start with a single point till its interdependence with other things brings all of the other issues into the fold. With the Foundation, the starting point was female empowerment, starting with menstrual equity and hygiene. In many underprivileged communities, girls are hampered by the lack of knowledge and stigma surrounding menstruation. This is the starting point for subsequent gender equality- dropping out of school, lack of education and thus awareness, economic disempowerment, dependency, and a lifetime of servitude and lack of dignity.
The Desai Foundation has sought to reverse this chain of cause and effect with the ‘Asani Sanitary Napkin Program’. Through this program, the Foundation has trained more than 2000 women to manufacture and distribute sanitary napkins. Working with women across the regions of UP, Gujarat etc, it has now distributed 3.3 Million+ Sanitary Napkins and reached more than 7 lakh women. With their dignity restored and pride in celebrating femininity without apology, these women are now empowering themselves through sewing vocational classes to foster economic independence and an entrepreneurial spirit and keeping ahead with the times and choosing their careers through computer classes. Through hygiene classes and vocational training, females from age 16 onwards are now smashing barriers, breaking stereotypes, and taking back the power that was always theirs to have.
Turning this wheel has now kickstarted other positive changes. Didn't Mao Zedong once say that women hold up half the sky? Who shelters under this sky but children and the future of nation and humanity? With increased awareness and zeal to push young children to dream their most audacious dream, these women are now the agents of change and progress. Through the Foundation’s programs, these women now attend kids health camps, send their children to the Shantaben Vidya Bhawan Schools that offer quality education, and have their kids attend summer camps for holistic development. All these very gratifying fruits can be attributed to the seeds planted by the Desai Foundation and their example serves as an inspiring exhortation to us all to do the same in our own ways.
Imagine a young 16 year old girl from a family background of fishing work who scored 93% in her 10th board exams. Whereas once, she was consigned to giving up her dreams, today she plans for a BSc and Phd and become a professor. Yes, this is the story of Saloni from Gujarat. Imagine a woman struggling to support the children’s education and the house. Whereas once, she was resigned to economic deprivation, today she earns enough for herself and her children. Yes, this is the story of Rina, one of the first members of the Asani sales team.
Now imagine 5 million such stories of impact and humanity! For such positive impact, The Jay Kumar Show and its readers have admiration, respect, and best wishes.
And we are not the only ones touched by such generosity. Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the camps to meet women and see their impact firsthand while former Miss USA Nina Davuluri has collaborated with the Desai Foundation on a short video.
So, let’s all come together to applaud the Desai Foundation and may all of us spread the light of humanity in our way in our lives. And if you are interested in working with and supporting the Desai Foundation, please visit https://thedesaifoundation.org/