driving the change!
Poverty is completely eradicable. It is basically a combination of mismanagement of existing resources, top down approach, excessive subsidies and lack of an integrated approach to growth and development. Over the past 6 years through multiple experiments, Raah Foundation has successfully addressed grassroot poverty and have managed to create and facilitate a better world for some of the most poor and underprivileged communities in Maharashtra. Through a combination of various interventions, an integrated and holistic approach, a systematic bottom up strategy that took cognisance of the existing resources and skills available and the gaps that need to be addressed to trigger a virtuous cycle of transformation and change and last but not the least empowering the communities to select the best path (raah) forward.
Started by three professionals in 2011 who decided to use their education and experience to contribute to making this world a better place, Raah Foundation now is a large group of like-minded passionate people who have come together to find a solution to some of the most pressing and complicated problems of the world and to make a sustainable difference to this beautiful planet.
Journey so far:
Raah Foundation registered and all necessary permissions obtained
Starts entrepreneurship development program in Nagpur
Starts entrepreneurship development program in Mumbai with women’s groups.
- Ventures into tribal areas of Jawhar & Mokhada in Palghar District and starts women’s livelihood program focussed on tailoring and embroidery.
- Expands entrepreneurship program in Mumbai
- Exits from Nagpur after an intensive train the trainer program puts it on an auto pilot mode.
- Received second prize by Society magazine for most innovative social products.
- Program in Jawhar faces challenge in summer months as water becomes scarce and women need to spend more time on fetching water leaving them little time or energy for any income opportunity.
- Board decides to expand livelihood program to include water and health as these were proving to be big impediments.
- Builds two check dams in Jawhar as a pilot.
- Exits from Mumbai as founders decides to have a focussed approach to change tribal lives by transforming tribal hamlets.
- Was felicitated by Sasmira Institute of Textiles for use of colourful fabrics in product creation.
- Expanded water intervention by building 15 check dams, 4 open wells and 4 bore wells.
- Started program with Warli artisans to help them commercialise the art form as well as revive the traditional art form and put it back in the hands of the artisans.
- Starts Raah Creative Designs LLP, a social business to provide market linkages to tribal warli art products and products made by women groups.
- Started fabric art program with tribal women to revive the glory of patch work art.
- Built/ repaired 11 check dams, 10 open wells and bore wells in Jawhar.
- Started work in Mokhada
- Was selected as one of the 50 promising rural social businesses in the handicraft sector by Harvard South Asia Institute and Tata Trust
- Was selected by Harvard South Asia Institute & Tata Trust for a social innovation grant to start Warli Art studio in Jawhar to promote warli art.
- Case Study on Raah Foundation’s Warli Art program published by Harvard Business school.
- Was felicitated by world CSR congress as an emerging NGO.
- Received the coveted FCRA approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs to enable Raah Foundation to accept donations in foreign currency.
- Built 9 check dams, 8 open wells and bore wells in Jawhar.
- Launched Urja program for supporting women start micro businesses in their own hamlets. This program includes helping women start grocery shops, tailoring shops, dry fish selling business, artificial jewellery shop, floor mill etc.
- Launched Krishi – a farming school for training tribal farmers take multiple crops and earn a sustainable income and thereby stop migration.
- Launched Soukhya – health program to identify and treat malnourished children and anaemic women.
- Launched Urja – program to support tribal women to start micro businesses and become independent and self-sufficient.
- Received the prestigious Sabera award for Rural transformation and agriculture program
- Raah Foundation was invited to first ever Women Economic Forum held at Reykjavik, Iceland
- Registered Raah Foundation as an 501© organisation in USA to facilitate giving tax benefit to American donors.
- Signed an MOU with Puri Foundation to adopt Zap for holistic transformation over a three year period and create a better world for over 4500 tribals of Zap.
- Constructed7 dams, 7 open wells and 8 bore wells
- Starting a tailoring school for women from Malvani slum of Malad, Mumbai with the objective of providing income generation for them.
- Signed an MOU with APPI to adopt three villages and make them water positive for a period of three years.
Journey going forward:
An alumnus of IIT(Bombay) and IIM(Ahmedabad), Girish has been an investment professional for last 30 years having worked in ICICI, ICICI securities and Templeton before founding Suyash Advisors. As a founder trustee of Raah Foundation, Girish is involved in strategy and scale up of the organization. He also provides engineering and technical inputs to the water program of Raah Foundation. SuyashAdviors is a investment advisory firm that works primarily with US investors helping them to make investments in India in public stock markets, real estate and private equity. Affiliate companies of Suyash also co invest in the investment opportunities.
G. R. Thengdi
Retired as Director – Finance from Indian Oil Corporation, Mr. Thengdi started a BPO post retirement which he sold before co-founding Raah Foundation.
Dr. Sarika Kulkarni
A PhD in management, Sarika Kulkarni was a professor, an author, an entrepreneur before deciding to spend the rest of her life in developing sector. Sarika also completed her Masters in CSR from AIT, Bangkok. She is also an alumni of University of Pennsylvania where she completed a program in Social Impact Strategy. She was also an advisor to few companies on their CSR, IIFL Foundation notable among them. As the managing trustee of Raah Foundation, Sarika has the overall responsibility. She also looks after stakeholder engagement, fund flow management, scaling up, capacity building of staff etc.
Masters in Electrical Engineering from University of Cape Town and MBA from Columbia University, New York, Henry has worked as an Investment professional for 35 years in various organizations like Lehman Brothers and Templeton.
Dr. Avinash Deshpande
MBBS from Mumbai University and MD from Detroit Avinash has worked as pediatrician in US for over 20 years. Avinash was responsible for kick starting the Health vertical of Raah Foundation. He spends time between US and India.
Dr. Prashant Kale
An MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and PhD from University of Michigan. Prashant is a tenured professor in International Business at Rice University, Texas and also visiting faculty at ISB.
Anirudha Dutta is an analyst working with Capital Group, a US headquartered asset management company, in their Mumbai office. Prior to this he has worked in a diverse set of organizations in the financial services sector starting his career with ICICI Limited in 1991. Outside of work he takes a keen interest in political and social developments. His fist and so far only book “Half A Billion Rising: The Emergence of the Indian Woman” was published in 2015 by Rupa Publications.
Head – Operations
After spending over 25 years in corporates managing various functions like Accounts, HR and IT, Sonia joined Raah Foundation as Head of Operations responsible for stakeholder engagement, funds flow, impact assessment and smooth functioning of overall operations. She is a commerce graduate with a post graduate qualification in IT and HR.
Head - Communications
Gayathri is a vivacious individual bringing with her passion to anything she does. An engineer by qualification, she is now a certified swim coach. Having been an avid sports person herself, she is keen to motivate young swimmers to aspire to become champions. She has been associated with Raah foundation since 2020 and has brought more process and rigour to what we do. She is Head- Communications, reaching out to external stakeholders and helping scale up various activities of the Foundation.
Head - Climate Change Initiative
An alumnus from VJTI and IIT, Sarayu Kamat, age 54, after 27 years as a senior executive in the banking industry, realized that she was so deep into banking, that it had consumed her life. Life had so much more to offer and she wanted to experience it all. She changed tracks to pursue the arts. Sarayu evolved as a visual artist and explored the world of oil and acrylic on canvas. Her paintings featured in several prestigious exhibitions in Mumbai and Bangalore. Her fascination for temple architecture and sculpture of ancient India excited her into completing a Diploma in Indian Aesthetics as well as travel to innumerable places to experience their wonder. Another 7 years on, Sarayu, once again changed tracks. This time it was her resolve to bring about ecological restoration of barren habitats using rewilding techniques. She joined the Raah Foundation team to work with the tribal communities with whom she resonates and will dedicate the rest of her life in increasing biodiversity and ground water to heal the Earth.
Program Lead - Health
A PhD in Nutrition with specialization in community health, Neha leads the health vertical of Raah foundation. She works closely with the field staff and other relevant stakeholders to achieve Raah foundation’s tribal health objectives.
Field program manager
A graduate with over 7 years of experience grassroot level experience, Rahul supports all the programs implemented by Raah Foundation on the field. With a thorough knowledge of the region and its geology, Rahul plays a key role in project identification and subsequent implementation.
Program Lead - Agriculture
Jeetendra is a graduate in agriculture and has been leading the agri based initiatives of Raah foundation. He works closely with the farmers and identifies appropriate cropping pattern for making agriculture a sustainable year round opportunity. He also heads the Krishi shala, a farming school for exposing and handholding tribal farmers to improve productivity using best practices and technology interventions.
Has experience in Agriculture of 10 years and provides field level program support along with managing stakeholder engagement programs.
Sandeep has a way with communication which helps our programs in trust building and bonding with the community . He provides required field support for smooth operations.
Has completed MCom and is an erstwhile respected school teacher. Ambadas now provides required field level support along with managing stakeholder engagement programs.
Always smiling, Dinkar Provides field level support and manages program deliverable implemented by Raah Foundation.
With his boundless energy and impeccable driving skills, Parameshwar provides logistics and travel support.
Provides field level program support for all the programs implemented by Raah Foundation. In his free time he loves to recite shlokas and inspirational stories to the children in community.
Pursuing an undergraduate degree in Architecture and Computer Science at Brown University, with an interest in urban planning, community engagement and creating social impact. A quick learner, passionate about impact assessment and communicating stories of progressive changes from the field
Our founder-director Dr.Sarika Kulkarni received the most prestigious award - "Women in Water" by Aqua Foundation in the presence of Hon. Secretary and other officials from Jalshakti ministry, Govt of India.
Raah Foundation bagged a prestigious award marking a hatrick with Grand Thornton Sabera Awards 2020 for the category of Enablement - Sashaktikaran for the women entrepreneurship program of Raah for rural livelihoods and women empowerment.
Raah Foundation was awarded PALGHAR CSR award 2020 under the category of village development(drinking water for 45 villages) This is awarded to us for our outstanding contribution for socio-economic development in villages of Palghar and the positive impact on the local community through innovation and initiatives.
Raah Foundation presented with ‘Certificate of Merit’ on the ‘World CSR Day’ by Blue Dart Express Limited Raah Foundation was presented with ‘Certificate of Merit’ on the ‘World CSR Day’ by Blue Dart Express Limited Blue Dart Express Limited, South Asia’s premier courier and integrated express package distribution Company presented the 5th Blue Dart World CSR Day and Blue Dart Global CSR Excellence & Leadership Awards at Taj Lands End, Mumbai on 18th February 2016.
Raah Foundation chosen for ‘Social Innovative Grant’ by Tata Trusts and the Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI) .Tata Trusts and the Harvard University South Asia Institute (SAI), who collaborated for a project on livelihood creation in rural India through social entrepreneurship and skill development released a grant of INR 1.5 Million for 6 organizations from across India. We were one of them.
Partner with us
Raah Foundation started in 2011 has an established track record of implementing large scale projects – working through intertwined social problems in some of the most difficult terrains. We have proof of concept and our program is scalable and replicable. We look forward to partnering with like-minded organisations, corporates to implement strategies and programs that would change and transform lives sustainably and contribute to nation building.
We look forward to hearing from you. Write to us firstname.lastname@example.org