When you see a glass ceiling, make sure you jump high enough to smash right through it. That is exactly what we've been taught by these amazing women who are successfully leading their organizations that are doing wonderful work in various fields. The impact they have created across domains such as health, agriculture, and sustainability amongst others is immense!
Raka Singh, Founder, Urja Energy
Mrs. Raka Singh founded URJA-Energy in December 2013. Raised and brought up in India she channels her efforts largely towards the betterment of the people of her ancestral hometown Siswa Bazaar in the district of Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh, India. On land donated by her family, the NGO is essentially run by a team of locally-based, like-minded people.
After understanding the needs of the residents of the area, they decided to focus their intervention on a sewing school and production unit, production of biodegradable sanitary pads, investments in libraries, playgrounds, and scholarships, deployment of solar cells for energy production, and production of indigenous varieties of rice among other areas.
Their prime focus lies in the field of community development through women empowerment, while showing the way for environmentally friendly solutions to daily practices. Recently, they opened a training center for conducting sewing, stitching, and overall training of women entrepreneurs. They used the services of USHA International so that their students could get nationally recognized training certificates.
Raka is someone who always stays true to her word and who will get the job done no matter what the situation. Her passion for her work is unparalleled, which is the reason Urja has been able to create such an impact for so many.
Richa Malik, Founder, The Happy Turtle
Richa Malik started The Happy Turtle in October 2017. Richa started the company after the stark realization that clean-up drives may not be enough to clean up the oceans and our planet of plastic pollution. She is an MBA Graduate from XLRI with 8 years of corporate experience with giants like P&G and Unilever but she quit the corporate world for a life of adventure and pursued her passion for scuba diving by becoming a diving instructor in Indonesia. This is where she came face-to-face with the plastic that people consider “thrown away”. Volunteering for beach and dive clean-ups to remove plastic from the oceans was a regular activity for her but seeing a turtle mistake a plastic bag for its jellyfish lunch on one of her dives hit the point home. She managed to prevent the turtle from eating the bag but realized that clean-ups may not be enough and plastic consumption needs to reduce drastically if our planet and its inhabitants are to survive and flourish without being stifled by plastic pollution. As more time went by, she frequently came across plastic packaging underwater (some even from brands that she had worked on in the past during her corporate career), and that only fuelled her intent.
She then came back to India and started The Happy Turtle to address plastic pollution from the lens of plastic consumption and to turn off the tap on wasteful plastic consumption.
With an intent to alter consumer behavior towards sustainable consumption, both the products and service offerings of The Happy Turtle focus on nudging the consumer towards a habit of reuse and/or away from plastic consumption.
The products are made in a Plastic-Free Supply Chain by rural artisans and women from SHGs. All the products are reusable, made with a focus on minimizing carbon footprint, use natural treatments as much as possible, and cause minimal wastage in the production process. THT is also one of the first companies in India to have a plastic-free shipping policy and was the first company to use zero plastic in all their shipping - including tape! They are also the pioneers in End-to-End Plastic Reduction Consulting. This model helps them certify businesses on their Plastic Footprints, minimize their plastic consumption and also help them become Zero Waste to Landfill in a cost-effective manner. They further help businesses switch to sustainable alternatives to plastic depending on their requirements.
Richa's efficiency, keen business acumen, and eye for detail have propelled The Happy Turtle to amazing heights. She has helped reduce plastic consumption across the country, playing her part in helping save the earth.