Mann Deshi Foundation

Mann Deshi Foundation

Mann Deshi Foundation is dedicated to the economic empowerment of rural women and was founded in 1996 in Mhaswad, a drought prone region of Satara district, Maharashtra by Chetna Sinha, Co-Chair of World Economic Forum in 2018 and winner of the Forbes Social Entrepreneurship Award in 2017.

Mann Deshi’s Vision is to empower women to make their own choices and to be celebrated as equal and valuable members of their families and communities. Its mission is to empower women with the knowledge, skills, courage, access and capital to become successful entrepreneurs with more control over their lives. The model is simple. Mann Deshi Foundation provides women with the knowledge, skills and support necessary to become successful entrepreneurs with more control over their lives. The Foundation works in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka at present and aims to reach one million women by 2024. Mann Deshi Business Schools offer rural women with all the support services they need to set up a small enterprise. Chambers of Commerce offer customized services, peer networks, and access to broader markets to help members’ businesses grow. Together, they have reached well over half a million women.

The Foundation’s Community Radio shares stories of women’s entrepreneurial journeys and successes and relays essential information and local news. Its Farmer Producer Company for small and marginal women farmers connects members to information, broader markets, and better prices. The Foundation also has a Champions program that empowers youth through sports and a Water Programme that addresses water scarcity in the drought-prone area where it is headquartered.

Mann Deshi also runs the first co-operative bank for women in rural India, which includes doorstep banking.

The Foundation’s Founder, President Chetna Sinha is recipient of the 2005 Jankidevi Bajaj Award for Rural Entrepreneurship, the 2005 Ashoka Changemakers Award, the 2009 Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award, the 2010 EdelGive Social Innovation Honors (Livelihood Category) and the Schwab Foundation’s and Jubilant Bhartia Foundation’s 2013 Social Entrepreneur of the Year (India) Awards.