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Giving back: Fareesa Khan | Vice President, SAFA Society

Tell us about yourself

I quit my job after 20 years in corporate travel industry. Having learnt so much from the corporate world, I decided to put my experience to better use at SAFA.Fareesa Khan

SAFA is a social venture with the belief that socio economic empowerment of women begins with income generation and education. SAFA introduces urban illiterate women to sustainable livelihoods and supports them in the education of their children through an area based community model that retains the cultural/social identity of the women in the society.

As a founding member, I was involved in strategising the vision, policies and procedures. We aim to leverage learning from professional experience to focus on implementing an operations framework, drive marketing activities, increase sales and raise funds. I have been involved in setting up an e-shop and setting up of a digital marketing channel for SAFA products. I also work on setting up projects for sustainable livelihoods for marginalised women with a focus on business enterprise model and the operational planning. I have worked with NIFT students, developed a product line and set up a marketing plan for the NGO products. I also manage networking between corporate/individuals for setting up stalls and booking orders under CSR activity, e.g. Bank of America, DST worldwide, Deloitte, The Expatriates Association Hyd, Novartis and GENPACT.

I have also volunteered with CRY and APAWMR (Special Olympics) and now I’m also associated with Round Table India.

I am an ardent foody and Co-founder/Admin of Foodies In Hyderabad-reloaded, which is a 30,000 strong member group on Facebook.

Though I moved on from a career with corporate travel, I am still connected with the industry. I was appointed as an Honourable Secretary for two years, then took the role of Vice President and now I am a member of SKAL International Hyderabad. SKAL, which is a professional organisation of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. I have conceptualised and implemented events to engage and entertain members. I have established a Facebook Page and enhanced the use of Social Media to increase membership and networking. I was engaged in fund raising for the club, SKAL Masquerade Ball, Home for AP Prisoners and abandoned children for the SKAL charity – Asha Kiran.

When was the organisation established?Safa Logo Feature

We started door to door visits and campaigns in 2005 and started a Centre with one room in 2006

Which cities are you operating from?

As of now, only from Hyderabad

Why was the organisation set up? What prompted you and the founders to set up the organisation?

In today’s social environment in India, most underprivileged women in the lower strata of society are financially dependent.

The women are handicapped in generating an acceptable family income and education for girls is a luxury. As generations are changing, the majority of the girls in these families go without any education. This is accelerating the lack of women in the workforce and is resulting in higher poverty and illiteracy rates.

SAFA works towards education for girls and skill building for women from the urban slums.

The organisation was the brainchild of my family, with my sister being the primary driving force in establishing it.

What’s your involvement? And how did you get involved?

Today, I design the eco-friendly product line for SAFA. We deal in eco-friendly material like Khadi, jute, cotton and silks. We make diyas for Diwali and all proceeds go towards wages for the women in our production unit.

I look after aspects of HR and also manage fund raising and sponsorships to a certain extent.

What is the mission of the organisation?

To empower individuals through skill trainings, initiation of income generation, sponsoring education of deserving girls and capacity building.

What are your short term goals?

To set up more such centres as we have a successful model which can be used in similar demographics and to boost sales of SAFA products.

What are your long term goals?

To venture into a stand-alone retail outlet for SAFA products and make SAFA sustainable. We also aim to create a self-sustainable community in the urban slum.

Are you currently running any special initiatives?

We have many programs and projects aligned to our mission. For example we a link to a Theatre production with a well-known local Theatre group

How do you fundraise?

Fund raising is done through the grants and sale of our wide range of our products, corporate stalls, and links with corporates for marathon participation (Nov 2015).

We set up project in partnership with ISB 2011 (Women in Business Club) and started a profitable distribution channel of low cost feminine health care products.

How can others help?

Others can help in several ways; buy our products, sponsor a girl’s education, Sponsor a centre for women and youth, volunteer.

Who are the faces behind the organisation: Founders, Directors, Board Members
  • Rubina Nafees F – Founder / Director
  • Fareesa Khan – Vice president
  • Sumathi Ganesh – Secretary
  • M A Majid – treasurer
  • T V Sushant – Executive committee member
  • Dr Mohammed Shahid – Executive committee member


Website: www.safaindia.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/safaindia.org

Twitter: @safaindia

With thanks to Anju Arora for providing this article.

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