The Power of Diaspora: An India-Mauritius Story

October 9, 2019

Preview – In this regular feature, we are spotlighting AWEC Alumnae Nandini Tanya Lallmon – a 29 year-old lawyer and social activist leader from Mauritius. As a member of the 1st AWEC Cohort, Tanya learned critical skills and built a network that have helped her to lead a number of NGOs in Mauritius. Recently, she received two Indian Diaspora awards and is building partnerships to expand her network and increase her impact in Mauritius.

When Tanya joined the AWEC programme in 2018, she had 15 years of experience working on humanitarian causes and she was ready to venture into the world of entrepreneurship. Instead, the AWEC programme launched her deeper into activism and gave her the tools she needed to more effectively lead a number of NGOs in Mauritius. Currently, she is the Founder and Chairperson of the International Youth Council Mauritius Chapter. 

“My humanitarian activities started in 2004 after I won a national competition on HIV/AIDS sensitization,” Tanya says. Since then, the scale of her work has expanded through collaborations with other NGOs in other parts of Mauritius. In the long term, she hopes to scale her activities to the Sub-Saharan Africa and eventually to the whole Africa.

The AWEC Wow Factor

Tanya describes the AWEC programme as a crucial part of her journey. “AWEC allowed me to share and tap into resources that have helped me grow,” she says. From online collaborations with like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors living around the globe, she has been able to rise above her doubts and apprehensions. 

She discovered that there is a need for her polyglot skills thanks to one teammate who needed a translator during one of the AWEC quarterly projects. Tanya stays in touch with her AWEC peers and mentors via social media and the Alumnae platform, a community she describes as her ‘ray of sunshine.’

Since becoming an AWEC Alumna, she has founded several local branches of international organisations in Mauritius. Some milestones include her appointment as Vice President of Women Empowerment for the International Human Rights Advisory Council, Fellow of TEDx Johannesburg’s 100Ideas100Millennials Program, and more. She was also part of the launch of the crowdfunding initiative of YES4Humanity, a new NGO that is rallying support for climate protection. 

Connecting India and Mauritius

A few generations ago, Tanya’s great great grandfather immigrated from India to Mauritius and built a home in the island country. Today, Tanya is part of an Indian Diaspora in Mauritius that is keen on building a link between both countries. She was selected by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to represent Mauritius in the 53rd Know India Programme. 

Tanya describes some of the lessons she learned from how India emerged as an economic powerhouse and how important it is for her to build partnerships that will scale her efforts beyond Mauritius and into India. 

“Mauritius is a small country and much of India’s strength comes from its numbers but with technology, Mauritius can gain access to a global village,” she says. These efforts are already yielding fruit as her work has been recognized at the Promising African Indians Awards 2019 and the India’s Shining Star Awards.

The AWEC Alumnae Sisterhood

Since her AWEC journey began, Tanya has built relationships with accomplished business women and credits the cooperative for providing her with an invaluable support system. 

“Never before have I met a group of immensely talented women who build one another up,” she says. She especially values the network for providing her with an international tribe that she can share her experiences as she tries to build her activism in Mauritius. “I turn to the sisterhood whenever I need professional or personal advice and since we are all entrepreneurs, we relate to each other’s challenges,” Tanya says.


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