ROOTED IN A DECADE OF HYGIENE ACTIVISM

In 2013 our founder, Erin Zaikis, met a group of school children in a small village on the Thai-Myanmar border who had no knowledge of how to use soap.

 

She realized then that there was a huge necessity for education and access to basic hygiene products. Children around the world were dying without access to these products, while large-scale operations such as hotels were throwing bars of soap into landfills after just one use.

 

With a growing team committed to making a difference, Erin founded Sundara. While our programs have since evolved with RISE, our mission to empower women and eradicate health and hygiene disparities across the globe remains the same.

Sundara began in 2013 as a non-profit recycling gently used hotel soap. 

For seven years we worked across India, Uganda and Myanmar, hiring 40 women and providing them with their first ever formal employment.

We recycled over 1.8 million bars of soap, while reaching 200,000 people with intensive hygiene education each year. 

We increased rates of hand washing in all of the communities we worked in and taught women how to run their own sustainable soap-recycling businesses.

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GROWING OUR IMPACT

Throughout our extensive work as a soap-recycling organization, we were awed by how many of the women that we met had transformational ideas on how to improve the health and hygiene of their own communities. However, it became clear that each of these talented entrepreneurs faced significant challenges accessing resources and support. 

 

In 2020 our entire globe came face-to-face with a devastating pandemic that intensified the need for good hygiene practices in every part of the world. We knew that it was time to pivot as an organization. Building on our time helping women run their own soap recycling businesses, we launched RISE. 

 

RISE empowers female entrepreneurs to become leaders in the water, sanitation and hygiene fields. We leverage our expertise to provide the training, mentorship, and seed funding our fellows need in order to establish sustainable businesses that transform their communities.

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Supporting female entrepreneurs

to make their communities cleaner, healthier, and safer

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EMPOWERING IMPACTFUL ENTREPRENEURS

RISE by Sundara Fund supports and empowers early stage female entrepreneurs working in water, sanitation, and hygiene.

We provide mentorship, business education, seed funding, and access to a network of experts.

Our entrepreneurs provide sustainable solutions to problems in their own communities.

Together, we make the world healthier, safer, and brighter.

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Every day, on average, over 800 children under 5 years of age die from diarrhoeal diseases due to lack of clean water, compromised sanitation and hygiene. 780 million people are currently utilizing water from an unsafe drinking source. 2.5 billion people lack access to decent sanitation. That's 1 in 3 people across the entire globe. 

In many developing countries, there is still an under-representation of women in leadership positions. While many desire to become catalysts of change within their community, female entrepreneurs have less access to mentorship, capital and role models in business, compared to their male counterparts.

THE PROBLEM

OUR SOLUTION

We leverage our expertise in the water, sanitation, and hygiene field to give fearless early-stage female entrepreneurs the mentorship, seed funding, and network they need to build their own self-sustaining businesses. Our fellows know first-hand the impact of having restricted access to clean water and basic hygiene services - and they are hard at work to improve these circumstances for generations to come.

 

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Shreya, India

My mentors pointed out communication gaps in my presentation and areas for development. The discussions around strategies for scaling also resonated with my current strategies and was a great source of validation. I am delighted by the depth of the questions I am asked and the quality of feedback that I receive.

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Hoyce, Tanzania

My plan for now is to implement and work on the feedback I received from the RISE team to make sure that I come up with a compelling pitch deck, and share it through different platforms that were mentioned in the future. Once again, thank you so much to my mentors for your tireless support and encouragement.

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Stella, Ghana

RISE has enlightened me on how to pitch my business to impress donors for future fundings, marketing of my product on the internet and other avenues of securing funding. I look forward to more events organized by RISE for us to create opportunities for sustainable networking, training and empowerment. Thank you.

TESTIMONIALS FROM OUR RISE ENTREPRENEURS

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Nuha, Indonesia
 

I would like to say a special thank you to all of the mentors and donors who have supported my organization through the RISE Fellowship. I am grateful for all of the knowledge that I have learned and for the advice through the challenges that I have faced.

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Branice, Kenya
 

I really appreciate the endless amount of work that has gone into supporting my initiative. I cannot express my gratitude enough. I am inspired every day by the RISE team and I hope in the future that I can support early-stage female entrepreneurs using the wisdom that I have learned.

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Roshani, Nepal
 

We set a goal to produce 2,000 units of reusable pads by the end of this year. However, we managed to achieve this within the first four months of our establishment.

 

I would like to thank everyone who has supported the RISE Fellowship.

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Susan, Kenya
 

RISE has held my hand and guided me through the past 6 months.

 

I am so appreciative of the wonderful mentors, donors and to the amazing Sundara team for all of their support. The RISE family has changed my life and has impacted my whole community and I will be forever grateful!

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Purvi, India
 

I would like to thank everyone who made the RISE fellowship possible. My request to anyone reading would be to continue supporting female entrepreneurs in the future. There are many talented minds across the globe who have innovative and transformative ideas, yet require the right mentorship and supportive environment to make change happen!

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Junior, Zimbabwe
 

Thank you for believing in our vision and for making our work possible. We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for partnering with us in making this world a safer place.

RISE FELLOWS RECEIVE:

  1. World-class training from our network of business experts across the globe
     

  2. Our own knowledge and expertise from seven years in the water, sanitation and hygiene industry
     

  3. Personalized mentorship and support through any challenges that arise as your grow your business from the ground up
     

  4. Seed funding to help launch your business
     

  5. Improved water, sanitation and hygiene for yourself and your community as a result of our mentorship and investment into your sustainable business 

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