On International Women’s Day, the IKEA Foundation and the Lila Poonawalla Foundation, India announced a new partnership to advance the cause of girl child education and empowerment in India. The IKEA Foundation’s commitment of € 2.9 million will enable the girls to not only pursue and complete their education but also help them become confident young individuals who become financially independent members of the society.
Apart from just scholarships, this grant will also provide funds to organize various training programs such as Soft Skills Development, Journey to Job and Aptitude Training to the girls. The training programs will help them get practical exposure and also enhance their knowledge. Under this initiative IKEA Foundation is currently supporting 4000 girls from Pune, Amrawati & Wardha to pursue their UG and Post Graduate Studies. The IKEA Foundation-Lila Poonawalla Partnership began in the year 2011 with IKEA Foundation supporting the selected girls to pursue their Graduation and Post Graduation (the girls are selected after a transparent screening process).
The girls supported under this initiative belong to an economically challenged background. Many of the girls come from a variety of backgrounds such as large families, broken homes, orphanages, single parent homes and rural areas where the villages are severely affected by draughts and other natural calamities. A majority of these girls belong to the farming community, where the income largely depends upon the climatic conditions and produces.
Making ends meet is a huge challenge for these girls and their families, so education ultimately takes a back seat, as they cannot afford it. Thanks to IKEA Foundation’s commitment, these girls are not only able to complete their Graduation but also earn a livelihood for themselves and their families. Many of these girls come from families that have a combined income for barely $2000 per annum, which is not sufficient to sustain a livelihood. After completing their education, these girls go on to earn $ 5000-6000 per annum approximately, which is a significant change both financially as well as mentally, as they become independent and confident. One of the most recent success story of the IKEA Foundation –Lila Poonawalla Foundation Association is of Lila Girl 2012 Asmita Patil, a daughter of a Farmer (with a family income of less $2000 per annum) is placed with Visa, Bengaluru with a Package of 13 lacs p.a or $19450 p.a approximately.
Padmashree Mrs. Lila Poonawalla, Chairperson of the Lila Poonawalla Foundation, said “This grant enables us to ensure that the girls not only get an opportunity to complete their education but also train them, so that they can not only contribute towards the betterment of their own households but also towards the betterment of the society and country at large, thus initiating a much needed change in the country”.
Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation said: “Women’s education is a powerful force. It changes not only the opportunities an individual woman has but also those of her children, family and community. Having personally followed several Lila Poonawalla scholars over the years, I am excited and optimistic to see how they use their education to change their lives.”
For 21 years, the Lila Poonawalla Foundation name has become synonymous with girl child education and empowerment in India. The year was 1996, when the Lila Poonawalla Foundation awarded its first set of Post-Graduate Scholarships to 20 academically brilliant girls belonging to the economically underprivileged background in India.
About the Lila Poonawalla Foundation:
Lila Poonawalla Foundation is an Educational Trust in India whose vision is to contribute to the empowerment of Indian women by supporting academically outstanding and financially deserving girls, through scholarship to pursue higher education. To know more about the Lila Poonawalla Foundation, kindly visit the website at: www.lilapoonawallafoundation.
About IKEA Foundation:
The IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Swedish home furnishings company IKEA, aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income. Learn more at www.IKEAfoundation.org and www.facebook.com/