Madhu Vaishnav is the founder and executive director of Saheli Women’s parent organization, the Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development (IPHD). She is from Jodhpur, India, and has ten years of work experience in civic and social organizations. Madhu founded IPHD in 2013 and launched Saheli Women in 2015.
Madhu has a master’s degree in Indian history and Hindi and completed her postgraduate studies in community and social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. Madhu founded Saheli Women because of the need for livelihood opportunities for women in the village of Bhikamkor.
Suzanne Blair is a business consultant and advisor for IPHD. Before joining the IPHD team in 2014, Suzanne founded, ran and sold several businesses in her home city of Melbourne, Australia. Her business savvy and marketing skills have been invaluable in launching and maintaining Saheli Women.
Suzanne holds graduate and postgraduate degrees from universities in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Her chief working areas of interest are business development, marketing, microenterprise and microfinance.
Jhansi Mangal is the internship program coordinator for IPHD. She is from Hyderabad, India, and joined IPHD in 2017. At Saheli Women, Jhansi is responsible for a range of tasks, including purchasing supplies for our production facility, preparing our products for shipping and writing invoices for our partners.
Jhansi studied at Osmania University in Hyderabad and worked in telemarketing and quality assurance at Vibatel Solutions for the multinational banking company HSBC for five years. She also worked for one year at Global Innovsource for the State Bank of India in the credit card section.
Rukiya Bano Teli is the Saheli Community Center manager who oversees all operations in the Saheli Women production facility. Rukiya is a Bhikamkor resident who joined Saheli Women as an embroider on the first day of the project in 2015. She was promoted after showcasing her stitching talents, work ethic and strong leadership skills.
Rukiya is the mother of four young daughters. She is often seen at the community center laughing or cracking jokes, leading other women in the village to nickname her “spicy chili.” She is passionate about girls’ education, and she believes her daughters will grow up to be engineers, doctors or the elected leaders of Bhikamkor.
Geeta Soni is the Saheli Women quality assurance manager. She is a Bhikamkor resident who joined Saheli Women as a member of the stitching team in 2017.
Geeta previously ran an informal tailoring business, stitching clothes and selling them out of her home. At Saheli Women, Geeta personally checks each product, fixes minor mistakes and gives feedback to the other women on how to improve.
Geeta is also the mother of two young sons. She dreams of being able to send her children to university.
“In the Saheli Center, I have created great friendships.” – Kiran
“Thanks to the Saheli Center I have have learned how to stitch and wish to continue learning.” – Neetu
“Saheli Women has allowed me to gain independence from my parents.” – Shobha
Sampling & Quality Assurance Team