Monday, February 7, 2011
La Persona de la semana- Ela Bhatt
This week's pick is a leader in micro-finance, women, and international labor movements. Ela was born on September 7, 1933 in the city of Ahmedabad, India. She is widely known as the “gentle revolutionary” as she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of India’s poorest and most oppressed women workers, with Gandhian thinking as her source of guidance. In 1972, she founded the Self-Employed Women's Association- a trade union with over 1,000,000 member now. She also founded the Sa-Dhan and the Indian School of Micro-finance for women. She was a member of Indian Parliment from 1986-1989. She also served as a trustee of Rockefeller Foundation for over a decade.
Her grandparents worked with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-violent struggle for Indian Independence from the British. Deeply influenced by Gandhi, Ela has followed his ideals all her life. She has pioneered the idea that people themselves, no matter how poor or uneducated, are able to solve their own problems if they organize together to do so.
To read more about Ela's story, here is a link to more information about the work she is doing in India: http://www.tolerance.org/activity/ela-bhat