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(L-R) Adhunika Prakash, Chetana Misra and Tamanna Dhamija

Facebook’s Community Leadership Programme has selected 115 people from across the world as community leaders among residents, fellows and youth participants. From India, Adhunika Prakash from Breastfeeding Support for Indian Moms has been selected out of five residents globally; Chetana Misra from Mompreneurs India and Tamanna Dhamija from Baby Destination received fellowships under the programme.

The people who know the most about community building are the people who do it every day. More than one billion people use Facebook Groups every month. These groups help people build safe, supportive communities and strengthen existing ones. Community leaders play a critical role in bringing people closer together. In line with this belief, earlier this year, Facebook created the Facebook Community Leadership Programme, a global initiative that invests in people-building communities.

At select points over the next year, the participants will spend time at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, working with the team to help develop their community initiatives. Community leaders in residents will be awarded up to $1,000,000, while the fellows and youth participants will receive up to $50,000 to fund their community initiative.

In June 2013, Prakash founded Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) after seeing the need for an Indian breastfeeding support group for new parents looking for help. It is a peer-to-peer support group primarily for breastfeeding parents. These members are at various stages of their breastfeeding journey, ranging from pregnant women to those with older children following natural term nursing. Today, the group has more than 80,000 people from all across the country. Prakash aims to start working with hospitals in India to help train and support parents, particularly in rural areas.

Founded by Misra, Mompreneurs India is a community of like-minded women running or wanting to run businesses. With a mission to empower women with the skills to start a business and take it online, the platform allows women to network, share knowledge and contacts, and benefit from partnerships.

When Dhamija became a mother in New York, she realised that her biggest challenges were the very same ones experienced by women all over the world and those challenges were even greater for women in India. She moved to India to start Baby Destination to help mothers exchange information and support with one another.

Speaking with the community leaders, Facebook discovered that lack of training, support and funds are common obstacles to have the kind of positive impact on their communities that these leaders envision. Especially designed to address these challenges, the Facebook Community Leadership Programme offers residency and fellowship to enable extraordinary leaders advance their initiatives and build stronger communities.

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