Safeena Hussain has been involved in development projects across South America, Africa and Asia for the past decade. In India, this London School of Economics graduate has built upon a cause closest to her heart: ensuring girls have access to quality education and get equal opportunities to better their future.
Safeena, with the help of a local team, successfully conducted a 500-school pilot in Pali, Rajasthan and established Educate Girls as an NGO in 2007. Educate Girls focuses on community mobilisation to increase girls’ enrollment and retention and improving learning outcomes for all children in government schools.
The organization works with community-level volunteers in each village called Team Balika, who serve as the champions for the cause. These volunteers go door-to-door to identify out-of-school girls and convince their parents to send them to school, conduct village meetings, work with school management committees to prepare school improvement plans, and facilitate the use of Educate Girls’ creative learning and life skills kits to improve learning quality and create girl leaders.
With a focus on enrolment, retention and learning, Educate Girls has evolved into a 12,000+ schools program, with over 1,50,000 girls enrolled in schools till date, reaching over 3.8 million total beneficiaries.
Safeena’s efforts to bridge the gender gap in education in India have been widely recognized. Under her leadership, Educate Girls has received the prestigious 2015 Skoll Award, 2014 WISE Award, the 2014 USAID Millennium Alliance Award and the 2014 Stars Impact Award and the India Development Marketplace Award in 2011 from the World Bank.
She also received the British Asian Trust’s Special Recognition Award from HRH Prince Charles for outstanding contribution in education. Safeena won the 2016 NDTV-L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Award in the Education Category.
(If you know undaunted spirits like Safeena, nominate them for the Women Transforming India Awards 2018. Click the link here. Deadline for entries: June 30, 2018)