Kanchana Moodliar

If there’s one thing Kanchana Moodliar — business owner, marketing strategist, yoga teacher, life coach, health and wellness expert and humanitarian — doesn’t have to worry about, it’s bad karma. Winner of the 2011 Inyathelo Award for Youth in Philanthropy, 33-year-old Moodliar started Saris for Good Karma in 2010, when her mother’s overflowing sari cupboard inspired an idea to use the excess to help others. With the backing of her own corporate apparel company, Moodliar established a community of self-employed women in Chatsworth who could create an income for and empower themselves by reworking old saris. How? Saris are donated by the Indian community and the women turn them into pillowcases, tablecloths and designer items. Trained in sewing, beading and business, many of the women now run successful businesses, and the eThekwini municipality has awarded the project with its own training centre. Excellent at creating opportunities for herself and for others, it makes sense that Moodliar’s father calls her “Tata ma chance”.

— Lu Larche