Empowering Women and Changing Lives: Dr Kiran Modi

Dr. Kiran Modi, Founder & Managing Trustee, Udayan Care

“There is no tool for development more effective than the Empowerment of Women” – Kofi Annan

In all ways, whether big or small the victim narrative shapes the way women are seen. But that women are a symbol of resilience.

Our biases, whether intentional or otherwise are pervasive and so are the misleading mental images. If you see the word MICROFINANCE what comes to mind?

Most people say, ‘Women’. And if you see the word ENTREPRENEUR, most people think men. Why is that? Because we aim low and we think small when it comes to women.

Microfinance is an incredibly powerful tool that leads to self-sufficiency and self-respect, but we must move beyond micro hopes and micro ambitions for women because they have so much greater hopes for themselves, they want to move from micro to medium and beyond.

Women are not just waiting to be empowered; women already have the power and what they need are more opportunities to claim it, to use it, and to share it.

Harnessing the power of education to improve the world builds the foundation of nations. Today, the humanitarian community understands that traditional education models remain woefully inaccessible to the vulnerable populations.

Here’s an inspiring story of Dr Kiran Modi the Founder, Managing Trustee of Udayan Care

Dr Kiran Modi believes that the authentic power can never be taken away from you, not your looks, not your fame, not your money but authentic power is when your personality comes to serve the energy of your soul.

When one is able to align oneself with one’s purpose in the world, that is when one’s personality serves the soul.  And Dr Modi thought a lot about that when she suffered a personal loss.  It was a life-changing moment for her, and she registered Udayan Care as an NGO in 1994.  The first initiative of Udayan Care was the Udayan Ghar Programme or the creation of small family homes for children in need of parental care. 

Dr Kiran ModiEducation

Education has been an enduring focus of Dr. Kiran Modi from her childhood days.  Despite getting married at an early age, she continued to study and completed her PhD in English Literature from IIT Delhi.  She is of firm belief that education unlocks the true potential of an individual and education of girls is one of the most critical building blocks for a stable and progressive society.

That was the guiding force behind the Udayan Shalini Fellowship Programme which was launched by Dr. Modi in September of 2002.  The programme is designed to support education of girls from underserved communities who are forced to discontinue their formal education after their 10th Standard despite having the aptitude and desire to do so.  The girls are supported not just financially, but are really moulded into becoming well informed, educated, and confident young women through an intensive mentoring programme and life skills training.  Beyond the training, Dr. Modi introduced the mandate of every girl putting in a minimum 50hours of voluntary work for social causes, because she was of the firm belief that when the young girl gives back, she in turn builds her sense of self-esteem, self-confidence and develops a better understanding of the social causes.

 The idea was to build leaders that would change the lives of these vulnerable girls, so that they will be able to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families for ever and become a part of real and truly the new India.

The Udayan Shalini programme has touched over 11,000 young girls in the last 20 years. The programme has been a game changer in the true sense and so many Shalinis have excelled beyond anybody’s dreams.  Some of our Shalinis have gone on to pursue higher studies in some of the best colleges and universities in India and overseas.  Many others have taken on employment in public and private sector organizations.  A few have even started NGOs of their own and many have taken up teaching, nursing, and counselling as a profession.  Each Shalini has taken control of her life and has made each one of us at Udayan Care really proud.  

Our life gets better when we find a way to share it with someone else.  What Udayan Care has been doing can be multiplied manifold if we all join forces. The real impact of Dr. Modi’s life work is that she has been able to inspire many individuals who have joined the movement as volunteers.  Each of the USF chapters has been launched by these “inspired individuals” who raised their hand to initiate the programme in their cities.  They have further inspired many others to become core-committee members, mentors and resource persons to support the programme on a long-term basis.  Udayan Care is blessed to have been a recipient of their commitment, passion and support.

Udayan Care is the space where Dr Modi moves and breathes and has the purpose of her being. She is optimistic that if a girl gets educated and empowered, she changes the family’s life and the entire community itself. 

Come, become a part of the Udayan Care story of positive change.  You can support us in multiple ways – financial support, mentorship, providing employment opportunities to young graduates as well as supporting education of Shalinis who are pursuing higher studies.

Now is the time to join this critical movement for CHANGE!

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