Smita Suchde Gruetter
Executive Leadership Program - Amsterdam Class 15
Growing up in India, within a traditional family, one never really questioned norms or opted to do challenge the status quo. Had it not been for my mother’s insistence that her daughter receives the best of quality education, my life would certainly have been different. Education was my game-changer as it endowed me with self-worth and self-confidence, but most importantly, gifted me the ability and the freedom to make my own choices.
Today I can proudly say that to think outside the box, to be challenged by creative ideas, and to constantly explore learning is what best defines me.
This is also why quality education is personal to me and this is why, since establishing HEMLATA (named after my mother), I believe, each girl child, regardless of her circumstances, be it race, religion, or economics – should receive an opportunity to empowerment and self-worth.
After two decades of philanthropy, supporting various programs relating to children, girls, and women in India, the vision for The HEMLATA100 initiative was created. Launched in 2018, the H100 initiative aims to support talented girls with quality education in an accredited college in India. Each H100 Scholar receives a full scholarship inclusive of tuition, boarding, and even pocket money is supported by an individual Mentor, from outside of India to bring in diversity of thought, life-skills learning based on the WHO standards, and inter-disciplinary peer learning.
Our goal in offering the best possible education is to enable our Scholars, the first in their families to receive a quality education, to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty, and to ensure that they live a life of self-worth and dignity.
Focussed on the UN Sustainable goals SDG4 and SDG5 and adhering to 6 of the 17 Unsustainable goals of 2030, the H100 initiative is not just about philanthropy, but about social innovation, collaboration, and creating real and sustainable impact for the future.
Since 2018, the year of our launch, nine girls are enrolled in the H100 initiative with 10 new Scholars joining this year. It seems like my journey has only just begun.