Chaitanya, a Sanskrit word meaning a life full of zest and zeal, has been active since 1993 and is a leader of the Microfinance Self-Help group movement which develops capabilities of poor rural women to build sustainable community savings/loans through microfinance self help groups and disrupt the vicious cycles of poverty. The organization not only strives to achieve economic empowerment among women but also to shift the power dynamics in rural india by bringing groups of women together to foster collective empowerment and ensure that women have access to and control over financial as well as other resources. Chaitanya’s mission is to promote social justice and equal opportunity for the socio-economic development of women and children,by providing trainings on legal literacy, health and other issues which address the needs and rights of women. Currently, Chaitanya’s work with the community is focused on four core sectors: water and sanitation, reproductive and child health, livelihood/improved agricultural practices, and legal literacy.
Chaitanya is also engaged in capacity building and recently created the Women’s Training and Resource Center which is a hub of knowledge that develops and produces resource material that facilitates the training process and compliments the fieldwork. Thorough research and documentation on and of the process serves as a guide for future work.
Through Chaitanya, women have led various developmental activities in and around their villages. From carrying out anti-liquor movements to constructing roads and seeking accountability from different departments, women are making a difference. Today, women actively question, analyze and contribute towards not only their own futures but those of the following generations.
Chaitanya has international and domestic partners supporting its projects, including UNICEF, OXFAM,and the India Development and Relief Fund. Chaitanya has a wide variety of projects focusing on women’s empowerment and development. They work with 142 self-help groups and 52 villages of two blocks of Pune District.