Hi all! My name is Camille and I am full time student at Northeastern University in Boston. I am an International Affairs major with minors in Business, Social Entrepreneurship, and Chinese. Through Northeastern's Co-op Program, I have accepted a six-month unpaid position with Aakar Innovations in Mumbai, India.
Aakar Innovations is a women’s empowerment hybrid social enterprise that focuses on education and providing women with sustainable livelihoods. The organization does this by producing machines that create high quality, affordable, 100% biodegradable sanitary pads and then distributing these machines, through microcredit loans, to groups of women who become self-employed and self sufficient. Additionally, Aakar Innovations works not only to train the women distributers in production methods, health benefits, and finances, but the organization also works to educate all women about the health and livelihood benefits of using sanitary pads.
Why does this matter?
Today, there are 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, which is defined as living on $1.25 a day purchasing power parody. Furthermore, according to the UN definition of poverty, there are an additional 1 billion people living in poverty on $1.25- $2.50 a day. Social and gender inequality is highly present within these levels of poverty as 70% of people living in extreme poverty are women. Recently, social initiatives have begun to focus on women’s empowerment due to the fact that a woman redistributes her earnings within her home and her family. This means that not only is the woman earning a livelihood, but she focuses on providing her children with a stable home, regular meals, and school fees. Aakar Innovations has focused its work on these exact women—the women who live in extreme poverty in need of a sustainable livelihood. By providing knowledge of and means for hygienic menstruation practices, Aakar Innovations is able to ensure women have a stable income, girls are able to stay in school during menstruation, and both women and girls are free from sickness and infection. Overall, Aakar is taking small but powerful steps to ending the cycle of poverty in the lives of the women they impact.
The Purpose of Fundraising
I'm fundraising money to help cover my expenses while in India since this is an unpaid position. I am also applying to several scholarships through my university to help fund my trip. So far, I have received $1000 in university scholarships. Here is a breakdown of the expenses:
Round trip flight: $1500
Visa cost: $180
Rent for six months: $810 ($135 per month)
Food for six months: $1080 ($180 per month)
Work related travel expenses: $300
Also, in case anyone wanted to know a little bit more about Aakar, here is a link to a video and another link to their website:
Thank you all!
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