This social entrepreneur is helping 26 villages in Latur to become self-sustainable
Aditi Deshmukh closely works with the Vilasrao Deshmukh Foundation to help villages in Latur become sustainable, through various initiatives. She is also the founder of 21 Organics, a farm-to-table venture.
After a successful career as an actor and model, Aditi Deshmukh married into one of the most prominent families in Maharashtra. She is married to Amit Deshmukh, whose father, Vilasrao Deshmukh was the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
“After a career in the performing arts for 10 years, I moved into a space where I felt there were a lot of opportunities and resources at my disposal to be able to effect change,” Aditi Says.
She would frequently visit urban and rural areas of Latur in the Marathwada region and closely interacted with various communities, especially with farmers, women, and youth.
Aditi Deshmukh started working closely with the Vilasrao Deshmukh Foundation in 2008 to effect change in rural areas.
“The region has been affected with challenges that keep changing over time. It would be healthcare one year, drought in the next, and so on. But the general challenges for the youth and women in Latur and surrounding areas, and rural Maharashtra would be in healthcare, an area we chose to focus on,” she says. There was also need to provide gainful employment for women in their own homes.
Aditi Deshmukh points out that most of them manage their homes as well as their land, and it’s difficult for them to uproot themselves and move to cities for jobs. “Our focus has been to bring enterprise into their own homes, be it through farming initiatives, or skilling them in textile work, like cloth bags,” she says. One of the objectives of the foundation has also been to educate people about the harmful effects of plastic bags and switch to cloth bags made in their own villages.