When we caught up with Social Entrepreneur Ami Doshi, you can bet we were thrilled that she shared her story. This businesswoman, wife and mother of two adorable kids has built a nearly two-decade career of experience that led her to found Milaap in 2014. Milaap’s mission, “to provide low-cost microloans to the working poor of India to empower them to live dignified, self-sufficient and healthier lives,” is truly making an impact on the families with whom they work. We hope Ami’s work can inspire you to follow your passion and to find a way to put your own skills and experience to work for a better world, no matter how big or small. #UGauGrrl!
Milaap USA was established in 2014 to address challenges around financial exclusion faced by low income households in rural India. In an environment where many are born into systemic poverty through associations of class and caste, Milaap USA believes that empowering the poor to get themselves out of poverty is the most powerful way to alleviate obstacles they face. Their programs help families become more economically engaged through access to affordable microloans in the following sectors: Enterprise Development, Clean Energy, Water, Sanitation and Vocational Training.
What inspired you to do the work that you do/motivates you today?
“I believe that access is often what translates dreams into opportunity. I’ve been interested in how microloans can help the underserved in India address the challenges they face in poverty. I have seen many families be able to alleviate some of the hardship they face in poverty through employment, through skill based training.
“I think that micro-lending as a tool can also help families live more dignified and healthier lives, not just to increase their self sufficiency. I’ve seen the children start studying by the light from small solar lamps instead of smoke filled kerosene lamps and candlelight. I’ve seen families’ health improve through access to sanitation facilities in their own homes, instead of having to use public areas.
“These are small cultural shifts, but, with access to these funds, I’m seeing a change. I’m so inspired by the motivation I see in so many of the families we work with – that I’d say they are the reason I’m inspired and motivated to do this work.”
How did you get to where you are and what challenges did/do you face?
“A lot of stumbles, trial and errors. But one thing that is consistent is that I did what I loved – and those experiences led me to this place. Failure is a state of mind. I used them to learn and move forward, sometimes elegantly and sometimes not so. The challenges I face are largely around time management – with a family of young children, I struggle constantly to be a lot of everything to a lot of people.”
Who is your she-ro?
What does the term”UGauGrrl” (“you go girl”) mean to you?
“To me, it means that taking control. Defining your own destiny and not allowing cultural norms or societal constructs to limit your reach towards your dreams.”
What is the message that you would like to share with the world as a woman or girl?
“Always be inspired to empower; your small acts of kindness will then have the biggest impact.”
“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.” – Claire Cook
Learn more about Ami and Milaap:
Do you know a #ModernMuse who has an amazing story to tell? Send us her story to email@example.com. We’d love to know her: 1) Name, 2) Age if under 25, 3) Ethnicity, 4) Location, 5) Relationship to you, 6) Why you think she is a #ModernMuse (what is she doing or has she done to make Inspire, Empower, Impact the world or the community around her?). We’ll let you both know when we’d like to publish her story, send her a few more questions and will share it on our social media channels. Looking forward to your submissions!