Who we are Read our Story

  • About Us
  • About Us
  • About Us
  • About Us
Our story starts more than 80 years ago with the birth of empowHER India’s founder trustee Mr. Nirbhay Jain, who grew up watching his mother Sardar Kumari go out of her way to help people in need despite not having enough for her own family.

Years later, inspired by his mother and with an innate passion to give back to society he, along with his wife, brother and two friends, established Mould, a trust that was dedicated to helping underprivileged people in Indian villages. Years later in 1993, empowHER India was established under the nomenclature SKS Chakshu Foundation with a healthy grant from Rotary International.

As empowHER India worked relentlessly in the villages conducting eye check-up camps, they realised that the villages were suffering from more than just cataracts. Change was desperately needed if there was to be any progress in the region. And it would have to begin with the women of the villages.

empowHER India believes that when you empower one woman, you empower an entire family. When you empower several women from several families, you empower a community. With this core belief, empowHer India has driven community development — social, economic and educational — for over two decades in the villages and underdeveloped rural areas of Panvel in the state of Maharashtra.

Since its inception in 1993, empowHer India has been working persistently to engineer positive and sustainable change to holistically provide women access to economic opportunities and social justice through Self-Help Groups (SHGs) so they lead a life of dignity and well-being through better health, hygiene, sanitation and education.

Milestones

2016

2016

SKS Chakshu Foundation becomes empowHER India.

2011

2011

Launch of the Micro-entrepreneur programs and Let’s Build Toilets movement

2010

2010

150 Self Help Groups’ federation grows to a membership of more than 2000 women

2009

2009

Establishment of the Chaitanya Kendra in association with Kotak Education Foundation at Akurli near Panvel.

2008

2008

Launch of vocational and special skills training

2005

2005

Medical Centre established at Usarli village

2005

2005

Economic Empowerment of Women initiated with Women’s Self-Help Groups at Nere village

2000

2000

Foray into Education with the Rakesh Jain Secondary School and Balwadis (play schools)

1999

1999

An ophthalmic centre is established

1999

1999

Foundation grows to cover 65 villages, impacting more than 40,000 people

1993

1993

empowHER India takes birth as SKS Chakshu Foundation
  • Financial Inclusion

    Women in rural India have a long history of being suppressed by an unjust patriarchal order. The lack of financial access severely hinders their path to self-reliance and empowerment.READ MORE

  • Micro-Entrepreneurship

    empowHER India enables rural women to become micro-entrepreneurs through skill training, mentor support, access to financial credit and industry-related workshops.READ MORE

  • WaSH — Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

    Our focus is not only to build toilets, but also to strongly engage with the communities to make them understand the importance of sanitation, hygiene and ensure they use toilets.READ MORE

  • Support services

    empowHER India provides low-cost legal support services to women for issues such as domestic violence, marital issues, property disputes, gender discrimination and more.READ MORE

  • Education

    empowHER India runs a state-of-the-art school in rural Panvel, educating rural students till grade 10 with commendable success rate of over 90 per cent in the Secondary School Certificate Board exams.READ MORE

Where there is a will, there is a way.

empowHER India enables women to become micro-entrepreneurs through skills training, mentoring support, access to credit and vocational training with the help of Self-Help Group networks that we have created in the villages we serve. Today we are proud of our 160+ women entrepreneurs who have returned some of the sweetest smiles and 1500+ women on the road to entrepreneurship.

Testimonials

  • I had the privilege of visiting Waghachi wadi village in Panvel with the SKS Chakshu foundation’s team. It was an extremely fulfilling experience . The dedication and the determination of this organisation with the main objective of bringing empowerment to women is heart-warming. The toilets being built will go a long way in giving dignity and respect to women and young girls and the education to these young children will give them the opportunity to find a brighter future.
    I would like to congratulate empowHER India’s entire team ‎for working towards this noble cause.

    Oisharya Das (Executive Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank - Wealth)
  • empowHER India, for us, has been the ideal partner organization. Their team is completely committed to the cause they work for. Their concern to ensure that everything is done for the best interest of their students is inspirational. No stone is left unturned and they are ready to go that extra mile. They work together as an excellent team and the results are fantastic — an amazing haven for children where each child has a smiling face and is getting quality education in a safe and beautiful environment. My heartiest congratulations to the trustees, staff and all connected with this great organisation. They have built a wonderful team.

    Arti Vakil (Wishing Well)
  • “We have a medical centre in our village that is run by empowHER India. It not only benefits the poor of our village but also those from the neighbouring villages. A doctor comes thrice a week to conduct check-ups. The cost of treatment is very less (INR. 10) and all — women, children and old people — are treated at this centre. We are grateful to empowHER India for having started this much-needed facility in our village.”

    Jijabai Bhagat (resident of Usarli Village)
  • “There is a river in our village which dries up in the summer. We have a well in the village, but it is not sufficient to fulfil our water requirement. In 2008, empowHER India started women’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in our village and soon we formed five groups. In one of the meetings we decided to come together and dig a bore well in the village for community use. Since the cost was more than we could afford, empowHER India offered to help us with the expense. Thanks to them, a bore well was dug in 2009 and our water problem was solved.”

    Sangita Patil (Shri Ganesh SHG President, Umroli)
  • “Our main source of income is farming from June to November. During the rest of the year our field remains unused. An empowHER India worker suggested setting up a kitchen garden where we could grow vegetables for our own consumption. Since we have our own bore-well, we face no water shortage and therefore decided to implement the idea. Now, we have cut down on our expenses by growing our own vegetables and also have a steady income source by selling the excess throughout the year. Thanks to empowHER India, we are able to maximise the use of our land.”

    Seeta Mali (started kitchen garden, Umroli)
  • “I am a student of the Rakesh Jain Secondary School in Shivkar and I am extremely proud to study here. The facilities provided at our school are like those in city schools. Emphasis is given to all-round education. Facilities like a modern science lab, computer lab and equipment for different sports are also provided. The school also conducts IBT (Introduction to Basic Technology) courses that provide vocational training in knitting, embroidery, farming, welding, electrical repair, etc. This course prepares us to face the competitive world once we pass out of school. We thank empowHER India for giving us this opportunity.”

    Yogita Chandrakant Dhavale (student)
  • “I live with my parents and brother. My father works in a private company, while my mother is a housewife. I study at the Rakesh Jain Secondary School, where I learn technical jobs such as welding, repairing household appliances, fitting electrical boards etc, through the IBT training. I am motivated to learn these techniques as I know there are 25 per cent reserved seats in the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) for those with IBT training. This knowledge is also useful in everyday life. I can start my own business for electrical repairs. I know I have a chance of a good future now.”

    Satish Shankar Bhoir (student)
  • “We are farmers by profession but we couldn’t support ourselves by farming alone. We needed another source of income. I took a loan from a Self-Help Group of which I am a member and started a general store. Initially, I stocked only a handful of items but gradually I started stocking a variety of daily-need products. I now earn enough money to support my family and want to further expand my shop. Thanks to the guidance of empowHER India, I am financially stable and independent.”

    Asha Madhavi (general store owner, Umroli)