Economic Independence for India’s Impoverished
Strides are continuously being made in helping underprivileged young women in India through a research center at Purdue University. The Institute for Social Empowerment through Entrepreneurship and Knowledge (ISEEK) builds upon the talent and abilities that are present in these young women to channel them for their financial success. The focus is social empowerment through education and skill development. It is changing lives and making a difference in the future of hundreds of Indian families.
The young women involved were at risk and underprivileged before ISEEK. Now, they are confident and successful as they pursue their chosen field of entrepreneurship. The difference is astounding as they gain access to business knowledge, micro-financing, and critical resources they need to start and run their own businesses.
Founded and Directed by Dr. Alok Chaturvedi, ISEEK is the result of Alok’s desire to help people out of poverty through entrepreneurship and knowledge. Years ago, he realized that government aid was not the answer. Instead, he sought a way to empower young women in India with the tools and knowledge they need to become self-sufficient. This self-sufficiency enables them to make choices that will benefit them rather than to be forced into a lifestyle because of financial dependency.
Alok says, “The challenge in strife torn and remote regions of the globe is that a vast number of people are illiterate and are left behind while the rest of the world marches on to a better living brought about by the diffusion of the Internet.” Each young woman in the program is given a mobile smartphone so they have the security of connectedness and access to “business games” to learn what they need to become successful entrepreneurs. Whether their choice is to grow silk worms, weave fabric or design clothing, these young women have turned their lives around through financial independence.
Alok Chaturvedi, PhD serves as the Global Affairs Fellow, Policy Initiatives. He is also a professor in Purdue’s Krannert School of Management and Computer Sciences (by courtesy).