Zaragoza | 23rd – 27th October

From 23rd to 27th October 2023, the 1st International Meeting Isabel Martín Foundation will be held in Zaragoza (Spain). Its aim is to facilitate a meeting between the foundation and some of the local partners we work with in India and Venezuela, as well as other entities in Zaragoza.

Among the different activities on the agenda, the following ones will be carried out: cultural events, meetings, lectures, presentations, etc. Stay tuned to our social media, as they will be announced for those who want to participate.

In the context of this meeting, the 2nd Cooperation Workdays will be held on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th October at the Casa de la Mujer (Don Juan de Aragón 2, Zaragoza). Unfortunately, the 1st Cooperation Workdays entitled “Post-pandemic situation: adaptation and main challenges” took place online on 23th Nov 2021 due to the pandemic. In that occasion our local partners in India talked about their experiences during the pandemic and the consequences they had to deal with. We are now happy this 2nd Cooperation Workdays is taking place face-to-face.

This time, the technical sessions will be entitled “International Cooperation and Tribal Women. India: Challenges and Success Stories”. We will be joined by the different project managers and workers, as well as some of the women participating in the projects. Over two days they will be sharing their experiences and testimonies in Development Cooperation projects and we will gain insight into the problems of tribal women and other disadvantaged communities in India (Adivasi and Dalit peoples).


International Cooperation and Tribal Women. India: Challenges and Success Stories

2nd Cooperation Workdays | 25th – 26th October | Casa de la Mujer (Don Juan de Aragón 2, Zaragoza)

[expand title=»WEDNESDAY, 25th OCTOBER«]

09:00 am | Welcome and accreditation

09:30 am – 10:00 am | Presentations

10:00 am – 11:45 am | Roundtable No. 1: Challenges in Human Rights

✓ Success story: Vaishali | Ankur Trust and the Katkari community.

✓ Speakers: Noella De Souza (Avehi Public Charitable Trust), Louise Mary Innasi (Asha Seva Kendra) and Vaishali Patil (Ankur Trust).

11:45 am – 12:15 pm | Coffee break

12:15 am – 2:00 pm | Roundtable No. 2: Challenges in economic empowerment

✓ Success story: Pratixa Parmar | Women credit cooperatives.

✓ Speakers: Johny Joseph (Creative Handicrafts), Anaclete D’Mello (Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha) and Pratixa Parmar (Jagruti Kendra).

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Lunch

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm | Panel 1: Environment and Food Sovereignty

✓ Success story: Anaclete D’Mello, Neelam Budhar y Nilam Gadge | Zero Budget Natural Farming

✓ Other projects: 

  • Jeannette Makenga (CEPIN) and Elsa Josefina Montiel (CEPIN)
  • Edurne Caballero (CERAI).

6:45 pm | Performance of Isabel Martín Foundation choir «Voces Trenzadas»


[expand title=»THURSDAY, 26th OCTOBER«]

09:30 am – 10:00 am | Welcome

10:00 am – 11:45 am | Roundtable No. 3: Challenges in Education

✓ Success story: Noella De Souza | Avehi Abacus.

✓ Speakers: Meena D’Souza (Creative Handicrafts), Pratixa Parmar (Jagruti Kendra) and Noella De Souza (Avehi Public Charitable Trust).

11:45 am – 12:15 pm | Coffee break

12:15 pm – 2:00 pm | Roundtable No. 4: Challenges in Health

✓ Success story: Louise Mary Innasi | ASK Dhera (health programme).

✓ Speakers: Vaishali Patil (Ankur Trust), Jeannette Makenga (CEPIN) and Louise Mary Innasi (Asha Seva Kendra).

2:00pm – 5:00pm | Lunch

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm | Panel 2: Fair trade

Success story: Johny Joseph and Elizabeth Poojary | Creative Handicrafts.

Other projects: 

6:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Conclusion and good-bye[/expand]



Raigad, Maharashtra, India.

Vaishali Patil. Associate Director and Secretary of Ankur Trust.

[expand title=»About Vaishali Raj Patil»]

Vaishali Raj Patil is an Associate Director, Secretary and part-time resource person with work experience of over 14 years in the tribal region of Raigad district, Maharashtra. She possesses exceptional leadership qualities and has the resources to motivate and mobilize people over an issue, and plan and execute training programmes with special emphasis on gender issues and motivate, create and sustain SHGs (Self Help Groups).

She has a M.A. in Sociology and a Diploma in Feminist Theories from SNDT, Mumbai. She has also completed two international courses – one in Social Analysis and Community Organisation from Indian Social Institute, Banglore and the other in Regenerative Agriculture and Rural Management from International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Philippines. Vaishali is the recipient of two awards from the district and state administration for her contribution to better the quality of life of tribal women.

Click here to read more information on her Instagram profile.


[expand title=»About Ankur Trust»]

Ankur Trust is a non-profit charitable trust founded in 1993 with the aim to fight against a system that nurtured injustice and created disparity between the powerful and the underprivileged. Its main projects are:

  • Education: Creating educational opportunity for the children of the migrant workers among tribal population, including providing a residential centre for 60 Kathkari children.
  • Legal education: Facilitating legal education and provide support for the community to access and use the available legal provision made for them. Legal aid and advice is offered in most cases in connection with land rights.
  • Land ownership and empowerment: Facilitating getting land titles for which all the documentary evidence have to be collected, this includes Ration Card, caste certificate etc. 
  • Rotating Capital for Enhancing Livelihood:  A small fund of about 400,000 rupees has been created to facilitate easy loans to small, marginal and landless labourers for increasing their productivity. This is an interest free loan given to the beneficiary. This money is managed by an executive committee of the tribals under the guidance of Ankur Trust. The tribals take small loans before the monsoon and return the amount during the year.
  • Forum Against disastrous projects in Konkan: This is a body that includes trade unions, CBOs and left secular parties that oppose mining, nuclear and thermal power projects that is likely to impact adversely not only the environment but also the livelihood of the project affected persons.

Click here to read more information on their website.


[expand title=»Ankur Trust and Isabel Martín Foundation»]

Our NGO has been cooperating with Ankur Trust since 2017, supporting health projects for tribal women and young people of the Adivasi communities.


We hope to be joined by two Katkari leaders, Sarita  Jadhav and Bharati  Pawar, who are in the process of obtaining their visa.  


Gomia, Jarckand, India.

Louise Mary Innasi. Administrator of Assumpta Society-Pune.

[expand title=»About Louise Mary Innasi»]

A Nurse by profession she has worked in remote areas of Jharkhand for 17 years – where she worked with the women in Gomia, Jharkhand, in initial stages of women empowerment.  Through this programme she formed more than 70 Self Help Groups in 25 villages. She has also worked in different health programmes of children, women and men in tribal areas of Jharkhand. Besides this, Louise has also worked with the T.B government DOT Programme and HIV/AIDS patients by organizing programmes, camps, and follow up to referral centers for the proper treatment.

While in Jharkhand, Louise got an opportunity to collaborate with Isabel Martin Foundation, as a project coordinator and the accountant of the Asha Seva Kendra Project. With the help of Isabel Martin Foundation she was able to work tirelessly with the COVID – 19 patients to reduce the toll death in the area.

Along the years Louise has also been collaborating with the Government – administering immunization to the children, working with the leprosy patients, working with differently abled men in Mumbai.

More recently she was in Gujarat with the health programme for the tribal women.  At present she is administrator of the region in Pune.


[expand title=»About Asha Seva Kendra»]

Asha Seva Kendra was founded in 1974 and has been in operation ever since. Its work has changed and evolved over the years, responding to the needs of the times. Its style is very simple and participative, which makes it culturally and economically accessible to the less fortunate communities.

The pillars of Asha Seva Kendra’s work are threefold: health; women’s empowerment through community health and self-help groups; and non formal education for the children.

Geographically, her work is confined to the marginalised communities of Gomia, Bermo, Nawadih and Vishunghad blocks in Bokaro and Hazaribagh districts of Jharkhand state. The main focus of its work is on the Santhal tribe. The organisation’s main criteria for selecting beneficiaries are social and economic exclusion and those living in areas where government aid and assistance do not reach.

Click here to read more information on their Flickr profile.


[expand title=»Asha Seva Kendra and Isabel Martín Foundation»]

Our NGO has been cooperating with this organization since 2016, supporting its Education and Health Integral Program.



Thane y Raigad, Maharashtra, India.

Noella De Souza. Advisor of Avehi Public Charitable Trust.

[expand title=»About Noella De Souza»]

Our NGO has been cooperating with this organization since 2016, supporting its Education and Health Integral Program.

Noella belongs to a community of women religious, the Missionaries of Christ Jesus, and has trained in education, psychotherapy and counseling. She has worked in the field of education for the last forty years, working to see that all children in India get an equal and quality education. Being a member of the Core Team of a prominent NGO in Mumbai, she works as a research writer to bring about reforms in educational content and pedagogy, including a Gender Equality kit that addresses sexual violence towards women and young girls. In her capacity as psychotherapist and counsellor, she works mainly with women who have problems with identity, self-esteem, efficacy, and worth. A member of Satyashodak, a women’s collective, she has been actively involved in bringing justice to cases of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Mumbai and further afield. [/expand]

[expand title=»About Avehi»]

The AVEHI Public Charitable (Educational) Trust was set up in 1981 to promote empowerment through education. It was founded by individuals from various fields, committed to using the potential of audio-visual media to facilitate rational thinking, social awareness, and social change.

The Avehi Resource Centre with a fully functioning library was launched to facilitate community access to relevant media resources, particularly from the alternative media for widening horizons and for promoting values of equality, social justice, gender sensitivity, and secularism.

In 1990, Avehi initiated the AVEHI ABACUS PROJECT with the aim of improving and strengthening the public education system so as to reach out to the marginalized sections of society and to impact mainstream policy on education.

Their contribution to the Indian educational scenario is evident in the rich and relevant content, appreciated and adopted by students, teachers and policy makers alike. They have developed three teaching-learning modules integrating content from Social and Physical sciences. The programmes are meant to supplement and augment the existing school curriculum in formal schools and support post-literacy development in non-formal settings.

The Avehi Abacus Project is based on the understanding that education, social justice and environmental sustainability are intertwined. It believes in working for an education system that recognizes the primacy of an active learner and hopes to support teachers to become reflective and transformative intellectuals contributing to positive social change.

Click here to read more information on their website.


[expand title=»Avehi and Isabel Martín Foundation»]

Our NGO has been cooperating with Avehi Public Charitable (Educational) Trust since 2017, supporting the Santagi and Mantham Programs.



Palghar, Maharashtra, India.

Anaclet D’Mello. Rector and Center Incharge of BSVS.

[expand title=»About Anaclet D’Mello»]

Fr. Anaclete D’Mello, a dedicated and experienced Salesian Priest, is the driving force behind Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha (BSVS). With a profound commitment to uplifting the marginalized tribal communities of Jawhar and Mokhada blocks in Palghar district, Maharashtra, Fr. D’Mello has been spearheading transformative initiatives since 2004. His visionary leadership has led to the establishment of a technical skill training center, which empowers tribal youth with vocational training and job placement opportunities. As the Rector and Center Incharge of BSVS since 2010, he has guided a team of 70 staff members to execute a wide spectrum of impactful projects, ranging from women’s empowerment, youth group formation, livelihood promotion, to the development of vital infrastructures like check dams, borewells, and open wells. Additionally, his efforts in promoting sustainable agriculture, including natural farming and fruit orchards, have contributed significantly to the income generation and overall development of the tribal communities. Fr. Anaclete D’Mello’s unwavering dedication and innovative approach make him a respected figure in the field of social development, creating a lasting positive impact on the lives of the marginalized.


[expand title=»About BSVS»]

Bosco Samajik Viakas Sanstha is a social development organization part of Don Bosco Institute. BOSCO organization has been working with tribal groups in Jawhar and Mokhada talukas since 2010. There are mainly 7 main tribes living in Jawhar and Mokhada talukas. (M. Koli, Warli, Katkari, Konka, M. Thakur, K. Thakur, Dhor Koli, etc.) The organization has been working with all these tribes on various issues for the past 15 years. Such as women empowerment, agriculture, development (organic) health, employment, education, and socio-political and economic empowerment, the organization is working in 77 gram panchayats and 300 padas in Jawhar and Mokhada talukas. In the last 13 years, 10,000 tribal and Dalit women, men and children have benefited from this initiative. Since 2017, the organization has been associated with Isabel Martin Foundation, and Isabel Martin Foundation has supported Bosco Social Development Institute in a total of 3 3-year phases. Especially women have been helped under the Women Empowerment Project, while agriculture, especially organic farming, has been promoted by the Isabel Foundation.

Click here to read more information on their Facebook account.


[expand title=»BSVS and Isabel Martín Fondation»]

Our NGO has been cooperating with BSVS since 2017, supporting women empowerment projects such as the Self-help Groups’ Federations’ Training or the ZBNF (Zero Budget Natural Farming).


We hope to be joined by two Adivasi women, who are in the process of obtaining their visa.


Bombay, Maharashtra, India.

Johny Joseph. Executive Director of Creative Handicrafts and Isabel Martín Foundation Trustee.

[expand title=»About Johny Joseph»]

Johny Joseph is currently the Executive Director of Creative Handicrafts, a Fair Trade organization working for the welfare of women and children. He is a professional social worker working in the field of social work and social research for the last 25 years. He was the Asia Representative to the Board of Directors and Board Secretary of World Fair Trade Organization from 2011 to 2019. Aside from having a few of articles published in periodicals he is also the co-author of LORD, I BELIEVE, INCREASE MY FAITH (An all India study of Youth and Religion) and FOOD TO THE POOR (a research project which examines the implementation of food related schemes of Government of India, in Maharashtra). Mr. Joseph has presented a number of papers on Social Enterprises and Social work at various international seminars and workshops in several countries in Europe and Asia.[/expand]

[expand title=»About Creative Handicrafts»]

Creative Handicrafts is a social enterprise set up in 1984 to empower disadvantaged women in the slum communities of Mumbai, India. The original idea came from a Spanish missionary, Isabel Martin, of the Missionaries of Christ Jesus congregation and a group of women from the slums of Mumbai. A study revealed that most of the women in the slums were victims of domestic violence and extreme poverty. The most fortunate were those who were able to find salaried work, though often insufficient to support their families. The central idea was that the women concerned would themselves achieve economic independence through a project of their own, escape the situation of domination and abuse by their husbands, and be able to fight for their own and their children’s education. Thus, they set to work establishing WSEC, the Women’s Self-Employment Cooperative, which evolved into Creative Handicrafts. Since its founding in 1984, the organisation’s mission has been the empowerment of women. Today, it is a leading fair trade company, because social enterprise and fair trade are a powerful response to many of the negative side effects of globalisation to which women are exposed. More than 700 women make up the company and have a voice in management, as well as in profit sharing.

Click here to read more information on their website.


[expand title=»Creative Handicrafts and Isabel Martín Foundation»]

The cooperative social projects have been supported by our NGO since its constitution, as well as the development and boost of its Fair Trade commercial activity through the import and sale of textile products, a project specialized in solidary merchandising.


We will have the pleasure to be joined by Elisabeth Poojary, Creative Handicrafts’ board secretary, and Meena D’ Souza, coordinator of the “Bal Vikas Kendra” center in the same organisation.


Tanakla, Gujarat, India.

Pratixa Parmar. Director of Jagruti Kendra.

[expand title=»About Pratixa Parmar»]

Pratixa Parmar is a religious Sister belonging to the congregation of Missionaries of Christ Jesus.  She has done her Masters in Social Work.  At present she resides and works in Narmada District of Gujarat, India. She has been providing her expertise in socio-economic empowerment and micro finance to the Tribal women of south Gujarat for the last 20 years. 

She has also worked in Venezuela, Latin America, with tribal women.  She has vast experience of working with women’s microfinance cooperatives with the membership of nearly twenty thousand women. She has a vast experience of training and mobilising women around gender justice and empowerment in various NGOs and institutions.  She also is a motivational speaker and very effective with young people and rural communities. At present she works as a collaborator with a Jesuit inspired NGO in Rajpipla which works in 10 tribal districts of Gujarat.   She also has served as the convener of the ‘Gujarat Religious Sisters forum for Human Development’ for 2017 to 2022.


[expand title=»About Jagruti Kendra»]

Jagruti Kendra is an organization of women that have been working with grass root activities among the poorest section in Gujarat. It has the support and backing of a religious institute – The Missionaries of Christ Jesus, that ensures the continuation of all activities and projects taken up by Jagruti Kendra.  The venture began in 1984 with an initial stage of breaking ground and this involved living among the people.  Later it established itself through projects with the purpose of responding to pressing socio-economic needs in an organized manner.  It took up education and health as entry points that aimed at development and organization of people.  In 1994 a center was set up in Gunetha village from where the program was coordinated in the villages around.  Our activities have mainly catered to the real needs of the people and have taken the form of Education, Remedial classes for children, Health, Organization of women and other economic schemes.


[expand title=»Jagruti Kendra and Isabel Martín Foundation»]

Our NGO has been cooperating with Jagruti Kendra since 2016, supporting the Adivasi Communities Health and Education Integral Program, as well as the Early Education Bilingual School.



CEPIN (Centre of Children Integral Promotion)

Jeannette Makenga and Elsa Josefina Montiel, both professionals of the CEPIN, will participate in the Panel 1 about the environment and the food sovereignty.

[expand title=»About CEPIN»]

The CEPIN is a non-profit civilian organisation founded in 1995 thanks to the initiative of Wayuu leaders in the Ethnic Guajira quarter community, Maracaibo. The missionary Sisters of Christ Jesus and the missionary Fathers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, supported by the Maracaibo Archdiocese Social Ministry, took the initiative to cover the food needs of the population, due to the high level of malnutrition among the local children. The centre canteen daily feeds around 200 children up to 14 years old. In addition, scholar performance is very low due to the lack of motivation, fathers and mothers’ illiteracy or teenage pregnancies. There’s only one school in the area and it is in poor conditions, so there’s also a high percentage of non-school children.

Click here to read more information on their website


[expand title=»CEPIN y la Fundación Isabel Martín»]

Our NGO has been cooperating with the organization since its beginnings through several projects such as the Food Sovereignty Project, the Project for the Improvement of Vulnerable Women Living Conditions, a project looking out for the integral development of children in the Ethnic Guajira quarter and a project for the building of a water well to drink and to irrigate.