Milaan is a youth-led non-profit organization started in 2007 to educate children, enable youth and empower communities. The word Milaan is a combination of “Milan” which means union and “Elaan” meaning declaration, which together signify the coming together of diverse but likeminded young people for a declaration of change. Milaan was supported by an incubation grant in its early years by Changelooms. Moving forward, Milaan would like to focus on improving the quality of education in rural spaces especially in secondary education by working with young education entrepreneurs. Milaan sees itself as the spearhead in transforming rural education in India through its key programs as follows:
- Swarachna Learning and Resource Centre– A school catering to the needs of 500+ children and young people from economically and socially challenged backgrounds. The core of the Centre’s work is creating collective learning spaces for them to explore their potential through education and life-skills trainings.
- Swabhiman – Works with adolescent dropout girls above the age of 15 to bring them back to school and ensure they clear class 10th as well as provide leadership training to empower school drop-out girls to lead a life of dignity and independence.
- Entrepreneurship Development – To build and nurture emerging entrepreneurs through capacity building, mentoring and seed funding support for nano and micro enterprises.
- Azadi – To make menstruation a non-issue in India. The current focus is to use a collaborative platform to instigate collective action towards improving girls’ experience with menstruation in schools.
Dhirendra Pratap Singh (Changeloomer 2009-10) is the co-founder and President of Milaan. He was also the Managing Trustee of Vidya Grants India, a subsidiary of Vidya Grants Foundation, USA. During his time at Vidya Grants India, Dhirendra launched and scaled their operations in India. He has a Masters in Development Studies from Amity University and Bachelors in Mathematics (Hons) from University of Delhi. In 2012, Dhirendra co-founded Azadi, an impact venture working towards making menstruation a non-issue in lives of girls and women in India. Recognizing Dhirendra’s work, other than Changelooms, various national and international organizations such as Oxfam International and the International Peace Foundation have honored him with awards and fellowships.
To know more about Milaan, visit http://www.milaan.in/