INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day, for decades, has been an annual reminder of the bias and inequalities that women continue to face. Despite a long battle for equality, we live in a world plagued by gender-based violence, abuse, and sexual harassment. But despite many hurdles, women have been at the forefront of progress in many areas. Women NGO leaders in India and abroad have been playing a stellar role and making a profound impact. From advocating for women’s rights to educating the girl child to the elderly and championing other social justice causes, these remarkable women are working to create a more equitable society. 

This International Women’s Day, we are showcasing 10 incredible women NGO leaders who are leading the charge and making a difference in their communities and beyond. These women NGO leaders are working across several sectors, promoting gender equality, ensuring access to healthcare and standing up for the rights of the underprivileged and the voiceless.

Manju Singh, Guria

A partner of Give, India’s most credible fundraising platform, Guria has been one the foremost organisations in the country, fighting against trafficking and abuse of young girls. One of the foremost women NGO leaders, Manju Singh, has been instrumental in rescuing and releasing over 5,500 girls from slavery, child prostitution and trafficking.

Manju of Guria has been at the forefront of protecting girls forced into sex in Varanasi and around the country

Manju has not merely taken up the responsibility of rescuing trapped girls but has worked tirelessly to provide legal and financial support to the girls she has saved. Working bravely on the ground and risking her safety, Manju has emerged as an epitome of a courageous community leader. Guria, Manju’s nonprofit has helped close scores of illegal brothels and helped jail several human traffickers and brothel owners.

Manju and her NGO Guria have garnered overwhelming support from people across the country. You can help Manju and enable her to reach out to many more girls trapped behind brothels by donating to this online fundraiser on Give.

Dr Prema Dhanraj, Agni Raksha

Dr. Prema Dhanraj, a leading plastic surgeon in the country, has been a beacon of hope for numerous women who have suffered severe burn injuries, as she was once a burn victim. Her NGO, Agni Raksha, has provided hundreds of women with free medical care and reconstructive surgeries.

Dr Prema Dhanraj of Agni Raksha has been helping fire survivors lead normal lives

Agni Raksha helps mainly low-income families and those with weak socio-economic backgrounds. Women are often attacked by their husbands or attempt suicide due to constant abuse. Dr Prema experienced life as a burn victim and faced discrimination. She decided to dedicate her life to helping women in similar situations. Dr Prema specialized in plastic surgery and worked in the United States before starting Agni Raksha in her home country.

Failing to shoulder the cost of operating a free critical care unit, Dr Prema had to shut it down. If you wish to help Dr Prema restart operations you can donate now to her online fundraiser on

Mangaltai Shah, Palawi

Mangal Shah, or Mangaltai, has spent over two decades providing HIV+ orphans with healthcare, nutrition, and a loving home. In 2001, she founded Palawi after finding two abandoned babies who were HIV+. Mangaltai took them in and began her mission to save HIV+ children from dying on the streets by providing them with love and care. Thanks to her work, countless children have grown up to have successful lives. They have become financially independent in the last two decades.

Mangaltai of Palawi takes care of HIV-affected kids

She has vehemently fought the dogma that HIV+ children are destined to die. She has proven that with proper medical treatment and care, these children can have normal life. Mangaltai, at the age of 68, is a loving mother to over 150 children with HIV. She has set an example for several young women NGO leaders and change makers to question convention and soldier on in the face of opposition. 

To know more about Mangaltai’s work and to support her in this mission, click here. By donating to this fundraiser on Give, India’s most trusted funding platform for NGOs, you can enable Mangaltai to reach out to many more abandoned and orphaned children with HIV.

Purnota Dutta Bahl, Cuddles Foundation

Purnota Dutta Bahl, a former successful professional, founded the Cuddles Foundation to offer nutritional support to children with cancer. Her inspiration began after visiting a hospital and meeting a malnourished girl battling blood cancer. Purnota learned that many children with cancer in major cities and from financially poor families lack the essential nutrition needed for recovery, resulting in hundreds of deaths. She embarked on a mission to provide life-saving nutrition to over 15,000 children annually, giving them a fighting chance against cancer.

Purnota left behind her successful corporate career to care for kids with cancer by providing them nutritious meals

If you wish to support this Woman NGO leader and changemaker and her nonprofit organisation this International Women’s Day, visit the online fundraiser on the Give platform and give a child with cancer the chance to have a normal childhood. 

Vanitha Rengaraj, Sharnalayam

Vanitha Rengaraj is an exceptional Woman NGO leader who has dedicated her entire life to improving the wellbeing and safety of disadvantaged children. Her inspiring story began when she was working as a lecturer and came across a child with disabilities who was locked up in a hut not far from her home in Pollachi. Upon discovering the child’s dire situation, Vanitha immediately took action and rescued the 10-year-old boy from his malnourished state. This experience deeply affected her, and she decided to devote herself to helping other children in similar circumstances. 

Vanitha Rengaraj's Sharanalayam is home to over 80 kids who have nobody in the world. Vanitha is their mother.

Vanitha set up her nonprofit Sharanalayam in a two-room rented house, despite being a working mother, in 2001. Creating a significant impact on the ground while being a working parent, Vanitha has set an example for many women change makers. But despite her lifelong struggle to keep a roof above the heads of hundreds of children, Vanitha is struggling to meet the cost of healthcare and nutrition requirements of children living in her shelter home. Help 68-year-old Vanitha to care for 80 disadvantaged and orphaned children and donate now on the online fundraiser.

Sudha Narayanan, Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre

When speaking about social workers and influential change makers, mention of selfless efforts by individuals working for the protection of animals is rarely made. Sudha Narayanan is one of the great women NGO leaders and change makers who has silently worked in the field of animal welfare for over two decades. She is the founding member of the NGO Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre (CARE) to provide free-of-cost medical care to injured and ailing street animals.

Sudha Narayanan has been a saviour for stray animals in Bangalore through CARE

Sudha’s CARE work saved thousands of street animals who’d have perished. Accidents and abuse leave street animals vulnerable to suffering, unnoticed by passersby. Sudha gives voiceless strays care and medical treatment. To know more about Sudha’s work and to support her mission to save injured strays, donate generously on CARE’s online fundraiser.

Gitanjali Babbar, Kat-Katha

Gitanjali Babbar’s story is an inspiring tale of selfless dedication, unwavering compassion, and tremendous courage. As a social worker, she has dedicated her life to empowering sex workers and women forced into prostitution. Gitanjali’s journey in the social sector began when she realized the dire need for financial empowerment among women freed from forced prostitution. With a burning desire to make a difference in their lives, she set up Kat-Katha. This organization provides various training and employment opportunities to these women, who often find it difficult to secure jobs due to their past.

Gitanjali Babbar of Kat-Katha has saved hundreds of women in brothels from forced prostitution.

One of the most recognised Women NGO leaders, Gitanjali, also set up a shelter home for rescued sex workers where they can live freely without fear and raise their children in a protected environment. However, with limited means at her disposal, Gitanjali has not been able to reach out to many young girls and women trapped in the sex trade. Your contributions to Gitanjali’s Kat-Katha can enable her to change many more lives.

Anjali Gopalan, Naz Foundation

The fight against gender injustice is one of the core causes that Anjali Gopalan and her NGO Naz Foundation have championed for over the last three decades. The NGO led multiple programmes to help people and community-based organisations understand problems faced by people with HIV, especially women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Naz Foundation has worked to improve counselling services as well as care and support services offered to individuals living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). The nonprofit organisation also established a home for orphan children with HIV/AIDS in Delhi.

Anjali Gopalan of Naz Foundation is providing a decent life to kids abandoned because of HIV

After having worked in the social sector in the United States of America for several years Anjali returned to India to support HIV-affected people, mostly women and young girls. Over the last few years, Anjali has been instrumental in changing the lives of hundreds of women and girls through various programmes run by her NGO.

Dr Madhumita Puri, Society For Child Development

As a noted clinical psychologist Dr Madhumita Puri spent more than 30 years working with people with disabilities at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (New Delhi). It was In 1992 that she started the Society for Child Development to ensure that children with disabilities have access to quality education and care. Dr Madhumita also became an entrepreneur with her social enterprise Trash to Cash, with operations in Delhi, Varanasi, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and other locations that integrate skills with revenue generating.

Madhumita Puri

Society for Child Development has enabled people with disabilities to earn a living through its trash to Cash initiative. The centre teaches these people, particularly those from low-income neighbourhoods and slums, how to recycle factory waste materials and turn them into handicrafts. You can support Madhumita and Society For Child Development in their endeavour to empower people with disabilities and allow them to earn a living by making a contribution on this online fundraiser.

Winnie Singh, Maitri

The age-old practice of abandonment of elderly mothers is a fair indicator of gender inequality that prevails in the society even today. Streets of the holy city of Vrindavan are filled with elderly mothers who have been abandoned by their children and are now forced to beg to survive. Winnie Singh has been a saviour to hundreds of abandoned mothers and given them a loving home. 

But for Winnie Singh and Maitri, hundreds of widow mothers would be on the streets of Vrindavan

A vocal advocate for gender equality and elderly protection, Winnie Singh has impacted the lives of thousands of people in the last two decades. She continues to provide love and care to hundreds even today. Click here to support Winnies Singh in giving abandoned mothers a safe shelter.

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