Last March, Dr Kalpana Sankar, Managing Trustee, Hand in Hand India, received the Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment from the Kingdom of Bahrain and UN Women at the UN headquarters, New York.
Almost a year later, Dr Sankar was invited to the Kingdom of Bahrain by the Supreme Council of Women to meet with Her Royal Highness to provide an update on the project.
Clear skies, a nip in the air, beautiful infrastructure and royal treatment welcomed us at Bahrain. Three days in the magical Kingdom left us in awe of several aspects – from architecture to gender equality!
International collaboration is not new to Bahrain, for they have been trading with several countries, including India, for over 100 years. Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, the First Lady of Bahrain, instituted the global award in 2016 with a vision to honour and empower women and men who contribute to women empowerment on an international scale.
An independent jury with eminent representatives and diplomats from across the globe selected the winners, shortlisting 4 out of 1880. Dr Kalpana Sankar received the award in the Individual Champion category for her relentless and passionate work towards the empowerment of women since 2004. The specific project that got recognition was digital and financial literacy for women at Madhya Pradesh that broke traditional gender stereotypes by introducing women to digital transactions, instilling financial independence and encouraging decision making. As a result of this project, 29,735 persons comprising 28,571 women and 1164 men in 13 districts in Madhya Pradesh, were provided access to savings, credit and financial inclusion. This enabled them to access various livelihood options. In addition, the women were provided with skill training to avail services from banking channels to support enterprise creation-empowering them as entrepreneurs!
On 5 February 2020, the princess welcomed and interacted with the previous winners of the award at Bahrain. Princess Sabeeka urged the winners to move from the empowerment of women to further enhancing their capabilities. She highlighted Bahrain’s key statistics on the representation of women in key sectors, in diplomatic relations, government, judiciary, healthcare…
Hand in Hand India (HIHI) – women empowerment, job creation
Hand in Hand India is a public charitable trust that works to alleviate poverty through a unique integrated community development approach. Registered in 2002, the organisation implements projects in the areas of women empowerment and job creation, skill development, elimination of child labour, education, health and environment. The tripartite model of Government – NGO- Community, has been a win-win. Dr Sankar is the co-founder and Managing Trustee of Hand in Hand India.
HIHI’s work spreads across 16 states in the country. It is the only NGO that has replicated its work globally in seven countries after testing its successful job creation model in India. With a workforce of 7500 employees, the organisation has been pivotal in creating and strengthening 4.2 million jobs for women, forming 2.2 million into self-help groups, mainstreaming 334,217 children into government schools, running 8 residential special training centres for child labourers, skill training 145,144 women, reaching out to 373,062 people through medical camps and covering 566,731 households under solid waste management. HIHI also runs a Jan Aushadhi Pharmacy, has a farmers’ producers organisation with 13,000 farmers and has a successful dairy operation.