On September 19, Women on Wings celebrated its fourth anniversary in the presence of 120 acquaintances at the Bosschuur in Austerlitz. Over its first four years, the organization has created 12,000 extra jobs for women in rural India, which provided a very good reason for a celebration.
Dilip Barooah, CEO of Fabric Plus and a keynote speaker during the anniversary celebrations, talked to the others about his experiences in Assam. Fabric Plus has taken on board the advice given by Women on Wings to place greater focus on weaving the right products and approaching the right customers. This has resulted in significant growth for the company over the past year, and also provided work and an income for thousands of women. Willem Lageweg, chairman of Women on Wings and director of MVO Nederland, expressed his pride in the results achieved with his personal experience in India.
After a presentation by Ellen Tacoma and Maria van der Heijden, Women on Wings managing founders, on the company’s activities and results, guests were presented with the challenge of thinking about the issues for the coming year. This resulted in a lively discussion with people committing to help shape these ideas and activities. Women on Wings currently provides advice to fifteen companies and organizations in India with the aim of stimulating their growth and development and thus creating more jobs for women in rural areas. Women on Wings was set up in 2007 by two women with considerable experience of Dutch business. The purpose of the organization is to share knowledge of management, organization and marketing with Indian partners in order to stimulate employment opportunities for women in India, and in particular to create jobs for women at the lower end of the pyramid.
Forty Dutch experts from Women on Wings now work together with fifteen Indian organizations and four international partners (AkzoNobel, DHL, IKEA Foundation and Cordaid). Over the next ten years, Women on Wings wants to help create employment for a million Indian women. ‘This is an ambitious goal, though not an unrealistic one’, says Maria van der Heijden. ‘In the first year we were able to create 500 jobs, in 2008 we created 1000, in 2009 this rose to 4500, last year 6000 and now a total of 12,000. We are aiming to double this figure each year, which will mean more than a million jobs in 2018’.