Anita Dongre Foundation works with the local Government and village Panchayat to create Self-Help Groups and bring employment back to Indian villages.


'You educate a man; you educate one person. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.' Women aren't given equal right, every step is a battle — whether it is in villages or in big cities. Their 'job' is to care for the children and husband. In truth, they are the very foundation that holds the family together. Standing up for womankind comes in many shapes and forms. To Anita Dongre, it's designing clothes that allow women to feel like they belong in a world where we are still working towards finding an equal space. At the same time, she also believes it is about helping women who don't have the same opportunities find the independence they seek, and helping the men in their lives recognise these beautiful women outside the constraints of the patriarchy they were raised in. If we educate girls, entire countries can raise themselves out of poverty more quickly. Studies by the United Nations have found that communities with visibly empowered women have healthier economies, lower cases of child mortality and malnutrition, significantly higher education levels across genders, and lower disparity amongst boys and girls. This is where Anita Dongre Foundation comes in; we work with the local Government and village Panchayat to create Self-Help Groups and bring employment back to Indian villages.

Driven by purpose and provenance, Anita Dongre Foundation is a catalyst for change that works towards enriching the lives of people from marginalised communities of India. The foundation develops livelihood opportunities for women in rural India by providing skill training. This is reversing the effects of job migration and bringing employment back to the villages of India, while giving women an equal voice.


The Need For Local Economies

For thousands of years, India's rural economy has relied heavily on agriculture. With a sharp decline of revenue in this sector, villages in India are being forced into penury. Able bodied men are compelled to leave their homes and families in search of a livelihood. Women are left behind to take care of the children, the elderly and the sick with no means to support this effort. Empowering the people of these villages by giving them access to a dependable source of income in their locality is critical to arrest the tide of migration to cities


One possible solution is to create a source of employment in villages. These village economies, run by the locals have the potential to:

  • Create a steady household income
  • Reverse the social effects of migration and bring families back together, thus demanding infrastructural growth in rural India
  • Empower women to become decision makers within their family as a direct result of their significant contribution to the family income

Set in Maharashtra's Palghar district, the hilly village of Charoti faces the same problem that a number of Indian villages do these days. Their mainstay of employment —agriculture is dwindling. This has resulted in sending an entire village into penury and forcing able bodied men to leave their homes and families in search of a livelihood, however sporadic.

In an effort to arrest this growing trend, Poonam Mahajan, Honourable Member of Parliament, reached out to Anita Dongre to implement a programme that would revive localised village industries and bring livelihoods back to the village of Charoti. This was an opportunity to use industry to reverse the socio-economic effects of migrations - a cause close to Anita's Dongre heart. The attempt here was to follow in the Government's example of setting up a skill development programme, and then go a step further by guaranteeing a source of income by setting up an industry in the village. Th is would close the loop and give trainees the confidence to develop their skills and experience to mastery.




In its first year in Charoti, Anita Dongre Foundation acquired 15 sewing machines, training 40 women formerly unskilled in cutting, sewing and finishing garments. Each woman was paid a stipend during this training period to encourage attendance and course completion. At the end of this training period, 20 women chose to continue working in the production centre.



Today, Charoti is a swiftly growing production unit that employs 49 women. The average income has grown from Rs. 1,000 per month (for menial work), to an average of Rs. 8,000 per month for each artisan. This income supports a total of 229 people in the village of Charoti, including the 180 family members who depend on the 49 artisans. Charoti is now a village that is beginning to see its daughters, sisters, wives and mothers as equal.

Founded in 2015, Anita Dongre Foundation was set up to empower women, especially in rural India by bringing jobs back to the villages and helping them become independent economic centres. By training women in the art of tailoring (sewing, pattern cutting and so on), Anita Dongre Foundation ensures economic independence for these women through an accessible and dependable source of income. In addition to training these women, the foundation also provides a travel stipend to maintain a comfortable and stress-free work environment.

Anita Dongre Foundation works with the local Government and village Panchayat to create Self-Help Groups and bring employment back to Indian villages.


We believe that working together makes as better at what we do. We partner with local Governments, village Panchayats and organisations that share our mission and passion. Anita Dongre Foundation works with the local governing bodies to create local Self-Help Groups and bring employment back to Indian villages.

We believe that working together makes us better at what we do. We partner with organizations who share our mission and passion whenever we can.

As Anita Dongre battled societal prejudices, she noticed the absence of opportunities for other women. Whether in rural India or amongst the newly immigrated urban population, women continued to remain financially dependent on the men in their lives, and as a result remained excluded from any decision making roles in their private and public life. In 2015, Anita Dongre Foundation was set up to address this concern with a three point agenda.

  • Train women and create opportunities for gainful employment in rural India
  • Provide a network and support system to help women entrepreneurs
  • Ensure continuous, year-long support whether financial or consultation

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