Usha Ananthasubramanian, the first Chairman and Managing Director of the Bhartiya Mahila Bank, said, the bank will promote women entrepreneurs across the country including tiny to enterprises. BMB will be able to do this because, it sees the world through the eyes of women’s issues the way traditional banks cannot.
She was speaking at a function organised by Moneylife Foundation to celebrate International Women’s Day and supported by DSP BlackRock’s Winvestor initiative. The CMD of Bharatiya Mahila Bank also felicitated two extraordinary activists, Sheela Chitnis of Multiple Sclerosis Society of India and Dr Ketna Mehta from Nina Foundation.
Speaking about special challenges that women entrepreneurs’ face and how to deal with them, Ms Ananthasubramanian, said, India has a poor culture of encouraging women to get into business and we want to change that to the extent possible.
This year, Moneylife Foundation felicitated two extraordinary activists, Sheela Chitnis of Multiple Sclerosis Society of India and Dr Ketna Mehta from Nina Foundation. Both of them have shown incredible courage to overcome major setbacks in their personal life and have converted their experience into a mission to help others cope with similar situations.
Ms Chitnis started as a founding member and Honorary Secretary of MSSI nearly 29 years ago with the help of the late Rehmat Fazalbhoy and AH Tobaccowala of Voltas, after her husband Mukund Chitnis was struck by MS. Over 30 years, she has played a pioneering role in creating awareness about MS and in helping patients and families cope with this stressful and debilitating disorder and the financial burden it involves.
“Working with MSSI gave me great satisfaction to meet and support patients and their families across the country. I am grateful to Rehmat, who was my guru and taught me many things due to which I turned from a housewife to a bread earner,” Sheelatai said.
Dr Mehta, along with her brother, set up Nina Foundation 13 years ago to work for the rehabilitation of economically and socially disadvantaged people with spinal injury. Dr Mehta is a multifaceted personality – she is an educationist, editor, author, speaker, mentor and consultant.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Mehta said, “Although we are working since past 13 years, this is the first award Nina Foundation has received from a non-disability organization. We want to reach and help as many people as we can.”
Dr Mehta has been associated with several management institutes as a Professor and Guide for B-school students over the past 24 years. She is the Editor and Associate Dean of Research at WE School, Mumbai since 2003. She received the NCPDEP – Shell Helen Keller Award in 2002 and her PhD thesis titled “Market Potential Study for a world class Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Mumbai” won a Rotary International Award.
During the programme, Sultan Fazelbhoy recited a poem written by his wife late Rehmat Fazelbhoy…
Mirror, Mirror on the wall
What’s the meaning of it all?
Isn’t there something more to life,
Than to be a loving wife?
I’ve got a body and a soul
I’ve got a mind, I’ve got a goal;
I want to learn, I want to teach,
I want to earn, I want to reach
I want to fly from my cocoon
Put my footsteps on the moon;
I am not angry or rebelling
But there’s something strong and compelling
I can give the world so much
With my special female touch
-Rehmat Sultan Fazelbhoy