The Vodafone Foundation, released ‘Women of Pure Wonder’, a book that chronicles the struggle, survival and ultimate success of sixty extraordinary women. Blending an engaging mix of some well-known and some as yet unheard tales, this book narrates the extraordinary deeds of real women who have courageously braved all social, economic and familial odds to reach the pinnacle of success in their chosen field of work, thereby setting a shining example for others to follow, according to a company statement.
(L-R): Rohit Adya- External Affairs Director: Vodafone India, Marten Pieters- CEO & MD: Vodafone India, eminent film personality: Kajol along with Vittorio Colao- CEO: Vodafone Group at the release of the book “Women of Pure Wonder”.
Among the pioneering ladies who feature in this book are:
Anita Kumbhar – Potter; also studying for an MBA
Sua Kalbelia – Kalbelia Dancer; born in a nomadic tribe with a distinctive art form, is today a celebrated international performer
Chhavi Rajawat – completed her MBA and gave up a lucrative corporate sector career to focus on public work. Is presently the sarpanch of Soda village in Rajasthan; introduced villagers to the power of internet.
Kanku Bai – Trained Mid-wife; uneducated; married at 17; has delivered over 550 healthy babies to date
Meeratai Umbre – Farmer; formed a women’s group to spotlight and encourage innovative farming practices; believer in organic farming
Laxmi – Acid attack victim; fought a seven year long battle to get the sale of acid at retail outlets regulated; associated with an NGO ‘Stop Acid Attacks’, that facilitates the bridge between survivors and society
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – entrepreneur; started as a trainee manager. No one wanted to lend to her, and no one wanted to work with her when she started. Today, runs a billion dollar enterprise. Her motto, ‘Dare to dream and never give up’
Aruna Roy – social activist; a former IAS officer; now closely associated with the NREGA and founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
Nandini Sardesai – educator and activist; married at 18; became a mother and graduated in the same year; fights for gender parity
The Vodafone Foundation has chosen women’s empowerment as a key area of focus and has several programmes and projects currently running across the country in association with credible partners from the social sector. Its commitment to the cause of women empowerment is a response to various development indicators and research studies globally, which highlight that when you educate, empower or support a woman in any ecosystem to emerge victorious, you impact her entire family, her immediate ecosystem in the community, which in turn brings in a strong multiplier effect on the overall social and economic development of the entire country. This finding and the fact that women have largely been marginalised in India, provided further encouragement for the Vodafone Foundation to take up this cause in India.
Speaking on the occasion of the book release, Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group said: “At Vodafone, we firmly believe that what is good for the society is also good for business. Women empowerment is a key theme for us across all the markets we operate in and I am proud of the way the Vodafone Foundation in India has set an example for our other markets to follow. This book is unique as it takes the story of these sixty women to inspire a much larger audience. This is but a small token of our admiration and respect for the ladies who have braved all odds to exemplify what every woman is capable of”.
Marten Pieters, CEO & MD, Vodafone India, believes that this is one of the many steps which Vodafone India will embark on. He specifically referred to the multiple initiatives that Vodafone India is taking,“We are working in the areas of education, empowerment and the environment as part of our ‘Vodafone Cares’ initiative. Whatever meaningful we can do to facilitate a better quality of life for India’s millions, especially women, will be a step in the right direction. We are committed to playing our role as a responsible corporate citizen and contribute to the overall development of the country.”
Rohit Adya, External Affairs Director, Vodafone India added: “It is an honour for us to be associated with such outstanding, amazing women. We will share their stories on different platforms to provide inspiration to thousands of other women across the country”.
Madhu Sirohi, Head, Vodafone Foundation in India pointed out: “Proceeds from the sale of the Women of Pure Wonder book will be used to empower girl children through the Naz Foundation. It will be our continued endeavour to provide as much support as possible to the cause of women empowerment through our initiatives and programmes”. The ‘Women of Pure Wonder’ has been published by Roli Books and will be retailed through leading book stores across the country.
The Vodafone Foundation in India recognizes the power of mobile technology to address some of India’s most pressing challenges relating to education, health, equality and access. We are committed to enable people and technology to drive innovation, disseminate knowledge, and create shared value to improve lives.
By leveraging our mobile technology in the four areas of m-women, m-education, m-health and m-agriculture, we work in partnership with key charities, development agencies and the community to drive social change on a large scale in India. As part of our social investment programme, the Vodafone Foundation in India also focuses on disaster relief and implements the World of Difference, a unique employee engagement programme.
In countries in which Vodafone operates, a unique footprint of 27 Vodafone Foundations operate to deliver our social investment programme. These programmes are directed and chosen by the Foundation Trustees and receive funding from the Vodafone Foundation in the UK as well as their local Vodafone company.