I am part of the Collective Impact Partners network for the past one year. This network helped me to change as a leader and learn from 22 other women from Maharashtra about their stories and passion. I am a Medical doctor and always have had a passion towards women’s empowerment and have been working at community level for the past 25 years. With a health background and focus on women’s health it was difficult for me to be focus on women’s empowerment. The program conducted by 5 US based organizations changed me as an individual, changed me as a leader and helped me to realign my focus on women’s empowerment and collate my actions in a focused manner to bring about concentrated change in the communities I work.
I would like to share one such success story among many others. Helplife is a NGO which I am associated with working towards underprivileged and differently abled girls and women in Pune, India Maharashtra. Helplife is currently working actively for differently abled girls through their innovative internship programme with the express purpose of mainstreaming them into society by empowering them to become professionals and independent members of society. This programme addresses physical, mental and social rehabilitation of the interns that have come from impoverished backgrounds with no educational or financial support.
The program currently supports 17 girls for their economic empowerment, accommodation, education, travel, medical and mess/grocery expenses. These girls come from rural underprivileged background. It gives me great pleasure to share with you Malta’s story.
Malta Pundalik Usar is a 26 years old girl who has completed her Masters in Commerce and wants to be a banking officer. Along with Post Graduation, she has completed Tally ERP 9, Marathi and English typing and Diploma in Taxation Law. She was born in Buldhana and joined the Apang Kalyankari Institute in Wanowrie when she was in 7th STD. She has 4 siblings. Her parents are farmers. She lost her right hand in an accident. She comes from low socio-economic strata. She has 89 % disability. Since she joined Helplife, she says that she has become more responsible, decisive and feels good that she has come out of her comfort zone. She said, “With Helplife, it feels at home; we are a family.”
When Malta entered Helplife, she was a shy and timid girl. Today, she is confident and independent. Despite having just one hand, she manages all household chores, commuting by bus and studies well. She has become more responsible, decisive and feels good that she has come out of her comfort zone. She is always in the top 5 of her class every year. Earlier she was working in a property tax office and handled all the online work. Currently she is working in Helplife as a Program Officer and handling accounts of Helplife. She recently got married and fairly supports herself and her family.