After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in textile design from Philadelphia University, Asha Pabla worked for more than a decade as a designer and quality control specialist in the fashion industry. Beyond her professional pursuits, Asha Pabla is a member of the board of directors of the American India Foundation (AIF).
Established in 2001 as a platform for philanthropic efforts in India, AIF has since affected the lives of more than 3.1 million citizens of the country. One of the prominent programs of AIF is its Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI), which was created to reduce child and maternal mortality rates in impoverished rural areas.
According to UNICEF, Indian women comprise nearly one-quarter of all maternal deaths in the world. Less than half of the country’s mothers deliver their children in healthy environments, such as hospitals.
MANSI aims to fix this disturbing trend by providing curative and preventative care for newborns and mothers through improved access to government-funded health facilities. The initiative’s primary focus is in Jharkhand, a landlocked state in which dense forests restrict access to healthcare facilities. In an effort to establish peer-based community care, villages in the region are equipped with trained community health workers who not only assist with home-based care but also educate families on positive health behaviors.