“Before I became a SoochnaPreneur (Information Entrepreneur) and associated myself with DEF, ‘independence’ was just a concept to me, not a reality. Today I can say confidently that it provides me with a steady source of income that has sustained my family through the pandemic.”
“I never knew I was capable of so much. Prior to my involvement with DEF, I would just stay home and take care of the children while my husband went out to work. After being approached by DEF I felt like I wanted to do more- so I stepped out and became part of women’s groups. Seeing my progress, DEF gave me computers and I set up a SoochnaPreneur centre in my village. Today, at least thirty people come to my centre everyday and I feel very happy that I have the good fortune to serve them, while at the same time earning my livelihood. I truly am grateful to DEF because along with providing them with access to digital tools and information I am also able to earn about 10,000 to 15,000 rupees every month.”
“When DEF brought the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) for girls program to my school I was overjoyed! I always wanted to pursue a career in this field but I didn’t have the resources and guidance for it. Now I feel so happy and confident that I am closer to my dream of becoming a software engineer. ”
“When I started working as a SoochnaPreneur, people used to humiliate me by dismissing the work I do, saying I just go about meeting people. But with the steady support of DEF I continued working and today the same people come to me to verify information.”
“After receiving tailoring classes at DEF’s centre I started selling garments and now at the age of nineteen I am able to earn enough money to supplement my parents’ income.”
“Helping people gain access to education is so important. DEF identified me to become a SoochnaPreneur who would help children gain access to online education. I feel honored to be the channel that is helping students gain access to online education. ”
DEF uses its presence across 1,500 locations to digitally empower people by providing them access to education, governance, finance, health and livelihood. The fact that 1,000 of these SoochnaPreneurs are women is an active choice. As a policy we choose women to become service providers because this ensures that other women from the community feel comfortable taking services and guidance from her. Empowering a woman to become an entrepreneur leads to all other women in the community feeling motivated to empower themselves by pursuing their areas of interest.
Whether it’s Hemlata who went from being a housewife to becoming the breadwinner of the house or Poonam who fought against all odds to serve the community- all of DEF’s women SoochnaPreneurs are sources of inspiration for their families and communities.
This women’s day, DEF pledges to encourage, support and empower women so that they are able to work towards building a better life for themselves first, and by consequence, their families. We recognise their ability to effect positive change for their communities and our work seeks to enable them achieve that.