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Mowgli street food founder’s trust funding crucial girls’ education in her Indian home city

7th February 2024

Nisha Katona MBE, founder of the UK’s first national Indian food chain recently visited two schools being transformed in her ancestral home city Varanasi, India, thanks to funds raised through her restaurants.

Mowgli Street Food has partnered with global children’s charity Plan International UK to transform and renovate two girls’ schools in Nisha Katona’s ancestral home city of Varanasi, in Utah Pradesh state, India. 

Supported by funds raised through the Mowgli Trust, the partnership will increase access to quality and inclusive education for girls locally to help them thrive. Money raised through the restaurants is funding drinking water, new wash facilities and bathrooms, a brand-new STEM lab and library, classroom refurbishments, new digital devices and teacher training. Nisha visited the two schools to see first-hand the development work that will benefit 3000 children across both schools aged 6-17. 

The partnership also aims to upskill and train 50 teachers so they can support children with achieving higher grades through supplementary learning sessions. And a new law curriculum is also being delivered through the partnership, further broadening career prospects for local girls.  

Nisha, a former child protection barrister, met pupils, parents and teachers and learnt how the schools are using their curriculum to tackle harmful gender stereotypes. Nisha also helped open a new library at one school, and a new STEM lab at the other. 

Founder and CEO of Mowgli, Nisha Katona, said: “As someone with roots in Varanasi, the value of education resonates profoundly with me. Having experienced the impact it can have, I felt a calling to give back to the city that shaped me. Being able to see first-hand how Mowgli’s partnership with Plan International is promoting girls' education has been truly touching and inspiring. Having been a child protection barrister, I deeply relate to the children and their issues, fueling my passion for this cause.  It is both an honour and a source of immense joy for me to join hands with Plan International on this transformative journey, as we work together to make a lasting difference in the lives of these young girls through this initiative.”   

Ms. Charulata Mishra, a teacher from one of the schools being supported by the partnership, said: “As a senior teacher at the school where Plan International and Mowgli Trust are working hand-in-hand, I am immensely grateful for the transformative impact their program has had on our students. Witnessing the positive changes in education, the provision of clean water, enhanced sanitation facilities, digital learning initiatives, and the promotion of STEM education has been truly uplifting. The dedication and collaborative efforts of Plan India and Mowgli Trust with the support of Government of Utah Pradesh, have created a conducive and holistic learning environment. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to them for their unwavering commitment to advancing education and empowering the future generation." 

Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, says: “Around the world, a devastating inevitability that comes with poverty and disasters is that millions of children are missing out on going to school. And we know that it’s often girls that are the worst affected. It’s fantastic to see our partnership with Mowgli start coming to fruition. Through inclusive and accessible education, doors are being opened for girls in India to create a safer and brighter future for themselves.” 

Since Mowgli Street Food opened in 2014, it has gone on to raise over £1.8 million for both local and international charities. It is Mowgli’s aim to send up to 40 team members per year to their international projects across the globe, and the restaurant chain hopes team members will visit the schools in India later this year, to also meet the children, parents and teachers impacted by the projects within their community. 

About Mowgli 

Mowgli Street Food is recognised as one of the nation’s fastest growing companies. 

Mowgli is all about the type of food that Indians cook and eat at home; born to feed the raw need Indians have for dishes full of fresh, bright, intense flavour. 

Nisha Katona is the founder, CEO, executive and development chef of Mowgli Street Food restaurants. Her obsession with taking her ancestral offerings to the market led her reluctantly and fearfully to the restaurant industry. 

It is Nisha’s ambition to continue growing Mowgli Street Food with an overriding aim to enrich lives in the cities she goes to. 

This is done through creating jobs in a nurturing workplace and dedicating each restaurant to a local charity. The Mowgli Trust has raised over a million pounds for local and world charities. 

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Plan International UK Press Office

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 0300 777 7374