Kolkata: Working towards financial inclusion for the underprivileged, a city-based girl from a minority community became the only participant from India at the UN`s Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) meeting this month.
The 19-year-old Dilnasheen Alamgir, daughter of a Muslim shoe-box maker, is an "independent woman entrepreneur". She runs her own business of recycling waste materials and transforming them into craftwork.
"I firmly believe I can be an agent of change for my community. Before starting the business, I and my friends did a market survey and found that there is a steady demand for crafts products in the market," said Alamgir, sponsored by Children International-SAHAY, India.
According to SAHAY, she is the first girl from her community to have participated in the CYFI meeting held May 21-23 at the UN and UNICEF headquarters in New York, US.
The meeting brought together professionals from banks, governments and other organisations to deliberate on the issue of financial inclusion and education.
Alamgir`s goal was not just to set up a profit-earning venture, but also manufacture products in an eco-friendly manner. She also brought in her friends after receiving sufficient training.
So far, she has involved six youngsters in her business that took off in 2013.
"As we intend to work with recycled raw materials, we are setting a direct example of how waste material can be effectively used and directly help in the process of conservation of the environment.
"Moreover, I am trying to involve my peers from the locality in my business," she said, adding there was "fierce opposition" in her neighbourhood.
"My biggest achievement has been that girls in my community are now opposing early marriage, and infact are planning for a better future," said the Class 12 student.