India's ‘catalysts of change’ inspire Ikea Foundation empowerment programmeJune 2012
Ikea has pledged €30m ($38m, £24m) for a programme empowering two million poor rural women as part of the latest of its many projects in India. The money, given directly to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), will reach women and their families in approximately 20,000 villages in some of India’s poorest districts.
The donation is an expansion of a pilot project started two years ago. The Swaayam (Sanskrit for self-reliance) programme, originally funded by the Ikea Foundation in 500 villages in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, has helped 50,000 women to strengthen their ability to become catalysts of change through participation in business.
The UNDP says Ikea’s backing has already led to more resilient and empowered communities.
Ikea Foundation chief executive Per Heggenes said: “I was inspired by the women who are leading the change in these villages. It is a powerful reality that when women are empowered, so are their children, their families and their entire communities.
“The UNDP has shown that innovative thinking and management can create lasting change for women and children in Uttar Pradesh, and we are proud to support their efforts to scale up and bring change to millions more women and children in India.”
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