As the Managing Director of Belstar Microfinance Limited, she has helped build a leading microfinance institution with a social conscience and greater purpose. Dr. Kalpanaa Sankar has been involved in the self-help group movement for 21 years and has specialized in participatory assessment, and gender-differentiated impact and monitoring tools. She was the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for IFAD and was Consultant with UNOPS, UNDP, Christian Aid and Wetlands International. She has also been a consultant with the South African government and supported poverty reduction, job creation and microfinance programmes in Afghanistan and Brazil. She has authored publications on child labour, microfinance and self-help groups.
Dr. Kalpanaa Sankar, who is also the co-founder and Managing Trustee of Hand in Hand India has been a key figure of the non-profit since 2004. She has an Executive MBA from TRIUM, where she was the first recipient of a scholarship to pursue the programme. TRIUM is an alliance among NYU Stern School of Business, London School of Economics and Political Science and HEC School of Management, Paris. She is the recipient of the ‘Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim AI- Khalifa Global Award for Women Empowerment under the Individuals Champions category’, an award given in partnership with the Kingdom of Bahrain and UN Women in New York in 2019. She has also received the ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar-2016’ for her contribution to the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized women from the Hon’ble President of India and Ministry of Women & Child. Under her committed leadership, her organization, Hand in Hand India has won the ‘Pradhan Mantri Bal Kalyan Puraskar’ for its dedicated work towards child welfare and education.