Age: 51 Years
Profession: Social Activist
Husband: Hansal Mehta
Some Lesser Known Facts About Safeena Husain
- Safeena Husain is an Indian social activist and an entrepreneur. Safeena recently got married to Hansal Mehta, a renowned film director. Safeena Husain is well-known for founding a non-profit organisation named, Educate Girls (EG).
- Safeena’s organisation strives for the education of girls across India, in an attempt to reduce the gender gap.
- Upon completing her schooling in India, Safeena went to London; where she completed her graduation.
- After staying in London for five years, Safeena shifted to San Francisco (Bay Area). There, in 1995, she kickstarted her career and started working for an Internet startup. She worked there for nine months, after which the startup was closed. The startup aimed at creating a 3D web browser.
- In 1995, she was offered a job at Child Family Health International (CFHI). Safeena Husain worked in CFHI for almost a decade. While working there, she visited different parts of the globe such as Ecuador, Mexico, Bolivia, South Africa and India.
- In 2007, Safeena Husain shifted back to India, where she started her own non-profit organisation; Educate Girls. When asked for the reasons for shifting back to India, Safeena, in an interview, said,
I returned to India to drive the agenda that is closest to my heart — that is of girls’ education. From the very outset, I had a strong personal motivation to make a change in India’s education system primarily because I myself found my pathway through education. A goat is an asset, a girl is a liability. Parents do not want to invest in a daughter’s education. Why should we send her to school? She’ll go to her husband’s house to live. What is the point of her learning?”
- In 2019, Safeena Husain was invited to a TEDx event, where she delivered a captivating speech to the audience about her journey, vision and experiences. The video of her speech, uploaded by TEDx, has gathered 1.7 million views.
- In the same year, she was invited to another talk show titled, Ted Talks India: Nayi Soch. The show was hosted by Shah Rukh Khan and was aired on the Star Plus channel.
- In 2021, Safeena Husain’s Non-Profit Organisation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rajasthan Government’s Directorate of Women Empowerment. In an interview, while talking about working with the government, Safeena stated,
With the government, we have to build an alignment. By identifying the government’s priority in certain areas and supporting them to achieve their desired goals, we will have a joint vision of success. If the data tells us that the gender gap is greatest in a particular district, that is where we will seek to partner and gain permission from the government to work in.”
- Safeena’s organisation has also partnered with the global brand, Starbucks.
- In 2020, at the peak of the second wave of the Corona Virus pandemic in India, Educate Girls, under the leadership of Safeena Husain, began a COVID Relief Initiative, under which the organisation provided rations and hygiene kits to the poor rural households.
- As of 2021, Educate Girls has enrolled more than 9,50,000 girls; with over 11.5 million beneficiaries.
- As of 2021, Safeena’s NPO has more than 2,000 full-time employees and around 15,000 community volunteers.
- Safeena Husain refers to the girls volunteers of her organisation as “Balika Volunteers.”
- In 2020, the organisation’s policies were selected for MIT’s Solve’s Learning for Girls and Women Challenge.
- In 2021, Educate Girls was nominated for Top 100 most inspiring Kindergarten to 12th education.
- Safeena’s father and mother separated when she was very young. Safeena was abused by her stepfather, to such an extent that she ran away from her mother’s house to an Ashram. She, later on, went to live with her father. While giving an interview, Safeena said,
I felt like I was in a thousand pieces. Instead of heading to college, I escaped to an ashram. I began to live on the banks of the Ganges and started reading different types scriptures.”
- Once Safeena had an argument with a man living in a rural area of Rajasthan. The argument was over his support of prevalent orthodoxies about girls.
- Under the profound leadership of Safeena Husain, her NPO, Educate Girls, launched the world’s first Development Impact Bond, a policy which was appreciated and recognised by many, across the world.
- During the initial phase of establishing her organisation, Safenna Husain faced several difficulties. In an interview, Safeena exclaimed,
They called us mad dogs, and slammed the doors on our faces… all of this was not even surprising for us. For those people, we were strangers who were trying to convince them to challenge the status quo. The talk around girls’ education was not as rife then, as it is today. But even now when we enter a new district, resistance has the same core reason — the mindset.”
- Before getting married to Hansal Mehta in 2022, Safeena Husain was in a live-in relationship with Hansal. The couple went on to have two daughters while they were in a live-in relationship.
- In 2014, Safeena Husain was featured on Times Now’s segment called, Amazing Indians.