Desai Foundation is dedicated to empowering women and children through community programming in rural India
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Desai Foundation Trust (DFT) in Gujarat state recently as part of her India tour to help advance Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitments to Action.
Navsari, Gujarat-based, DFT is an NGO dedicated to empowering women and children through community programming to elevate health, livelihood, and menstrual equity in rural India for 25 years.
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Clinton’s tour on Feb 7 began in Palaj village in Gandhinagar District where she met DFT’s Heroes who work in their Heroes for Humanity Heroes initiative, which developed out of an effort to meet the needs of rural communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a DFT release.
Forty Heroes from eight states shared stories of how working for Heroes for Humanity has impacted their lives—and how they have impacted the lives of three million people in their first year.
“Heroes for Humanity has been an incredibly impactful program on two fronts,” said Megha Desai, President of the Desai Foundation. “First, in the impact, the Heroes make on their local communities, and second on Heroes themselves who are becoming leaders in their communities, beacons of information, and an army for good in a time of need.”
After hearing their stories, Clinton told the Heroes “it is so impressive that the Desai foundation understood the importance of finding local people like all of you to do this important work.”
“I am so impressed by the model of this program, and so delighted to hear about all the things you are doing as Heroes for Humanity,” she said expressing the hope that they “were not only learning so much, and growing personally, but understanding what an impact you are all having on your families and your communities.”
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Clinton also visited the Desai Foundation’s flagship Asani sanitary napkin program by observing one of the rural menstrual health & hygiene awareness sessions and engaging with the Asani rural saleswomen, the release said.
“I love the way this program connects to both mothers and the next generation to create change and break the cycle of stigmas,” she said.
Clinton’s visit is a testimony to DFT’s innovative approach to socio-economic development in rural villages with few opportunities, the release said. It “is a real validation of our work and our holistic approach to tackling health, livelihood, and menstrual equity in the 2,500 villages we serve across India,” said Mittal Gohil, Executive Director, Desai Foundation Trust.
Heroes for Humanity is funded in part by SP Hinduja Banque Privée SA. The bank’s CEO, Karam Hinduja, attended the site visit, along with Megha Desai, Mittal Gohil, and DF board members Yash Shah (USA, CEO Jeavio), Kiran Desai (Mumbai), Dipika Desai (Mumbai), and Vikram Parekh (Navsari).
Clinton’s visit to India included a meeting of fellow Clinton Global Initiative Commitment Makers, a visit to Desai Foundation’s partner, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)–Gandhinagar to speak to the students, and a visit to the Dandi salt pans, the release said.
Clinton was in India to help advance Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitments to Action that are providing employment opportunities and critical health care services to girls and women, while also providing critical support for climate resilience in the region, according to the release.
These Commitments were made by members of the CGI community at the CGI 2022 meeting, which resulted in 144 new Commitments to Action addressing climate resilience, global health equity, inclusive economic growth, the global refugee crisis, and other critical global challenges.
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