“It must have been in 2007. I was visiting a warm and dusty village in the middle of Gambia to facilitate a leadership program with local leaders and international managers. During one of the breaks, a large group of people from the village gathered around us. They were so curious about what we were doing, that we hosted the workshop again during our break. That was the moment I asked myself: ‘how could we best reach people in remote areas? In particular women, who are at the heart of the community.’
I had another epiphany: ‘if these women can’t make it to school, then we’ll bring the school to them.’ That’s when the school on wheels was born and how the idea for Buzz Women came into being. A few years later, I visited India and told Suresh Krishna—founder of Grameen Koota, one of the biggest micro finance banks in India—about my idea. His immediate reaction was: ‘this is the missing link!’. One of Suresh’s colleagues, Arun Kumar, really got the ball rolling. After telling Arun about my idea, he immediately rang me and said: ‘I know who wants to set this up: Uthara’.
Buzz Women focuses on providing women with opportunities and choices—opportunities to develop themselves, and choices which allow them to shape their lives. Deciding for themselves if and when they want to study, work, have children or get married. I truly believe that empowering women will make the world a better place. Not at the expense of men, but together as equals.”
The beauty of Buzz Women is its simplicity and powerfulness. We bring opportunities and choices right to their doorsteps, and we let them run with it. They tackle everything with full force, and seeing this makes attending one of the training sessions simply fantastic. Witnessing their intensity, curiosity, and pride, but also watching their self-confidence blossom and the appearance of a sudden twinkle in their eyes. The fact that they take charge of their own development is what makes this process so valuable and successful.
Uthara Naranayan is a certified accountant. When she was a little girl she was always fascinated by the bigger question: ‘how can humans overcome poverty?’ After managing an NGO in Bangalore, she discovered Buzz Women and saw an opportunity to help people get out of the vicious poverty cycle. Since 2012, Uthara has been at the forefront of the Buzz Women organisation in India and Gambia. With her passion, vision and willpower she has built a team of at least 60 people. Uthara is an India Acumen Fellow, GAP Changemaker and Unreasonable India Lab entrepreneur.
Uthara about the essence and ambition of Buzz Women: