3 mins

Empowering the Youth

Dr Rekha Chaudhari has been working amongst the tribal communities in Maharashtra, inspiring the youth to take up a career in beauty. Read on to know more about her efforts and the establishment of ZEP Foundation.

The inspiration behind initiating social work with tribal communities came from Dr Rekha Chaudhari’s profound recognition of the untapped potential and unique talents within these marginalised groups. Having transitioned from a humble village background to the global stage after the age of 40, Dr Chaudhari intimately understands the challenges faced by tribal communities.

Witnessing the resilience and innate skills of individuals in these communities inspired a deep commitment to empower them through education, skills development and sustainable livelihood opportunities.


Dr Chaudhari initiated the cause in 2010. Her commitment towards social transformation and empowerment led to the establishment of the ZEP Foundation, a platform dedicated to uplifting tribal youth and communities. Since its inception, the foundation has been on a continual journey of creating positive impact and sustainable change.

As of 2023, ZEP Foundation has successfully empowered and placed over 2,000 individuals from tribal backgrounds. These placements span various sectors, with a significant focus on the wellness industry. The foundation’s holistic approach includes not just providing education but also fostering a transformative environment that enables individuals to thrive in their chosen fields.


The future expansion of this cause is envisioned through multifaceted strategies. ZEP Foundation aims to broaden its reach to additional tribal communities by implementing innovative educational programs tailored to the unique needs of each community. Collaborative efforts with local partners, leveraging technology, and seeking support from like-minded organisations will play a crucial role in scaling the impact.

The Foundation also plans to create sustainable economic models that empower individuals economically while preserving and celebrating their cultural heritage. By continually evolving and adapting strategies, ZEP Foundation aims to make a lasting and widespread impact on the lives of tribal communities


ZEP Foundation actively engages in diverse sectors, with a predominant focus on empowering tribal youth and fostering the skill development of village women. The Foundation recognises the intrinsic talents of tribal youth and endeavours to provide them with education and opportunities in the wellness sector. Simultaneously, it empowers village women through skill development programs and market initiatives, creating sustainable avenues for economic growth.

The Foundation undertakes impactful initiatives, including extensive research and the revival of ancient wellness therapies. The Foundation recognises the rich tapestry of India’s wellness traditions and is committed to preserving and promoting them on a global platform. Through rigorous research, ZEP Foundation aims to bring back disappearing wellness practices, ensuring the continuity of India’s diverse cultural heritage in the wellness domain.


One of ZEP Foundation’s most impactful initiatives is the World Digital Detox Day. This global initiative, pioneered by Dr Chaudhari, aims to raise awareness about the detrimental impacts of excessive digital usage on mental health. Launched in 2016, well before the term ‘digital detox’ gained widespread popularity, the initiative has garnered support from 65 countries and multiple government agencies. The World Digital Detox Day encompasses digital wellness education, extensive awareness campaigns and the promotion of ethical and disciplined digital usage.

ZEP Foundation has received notable recognition for its commitment to social welfare. In 2016, the foundation was acknowledged at the Indian Health and Wellness Summit (IHWS).

Furthermore, it received an award for extraordinary work in the Digital Detoxification initiative under a special category at Sanskruti Darpan 2020. In 2023, the foundation received another special award at the Mumbai Achiever Award for its impactful initiatives in raising awareness about well-being and life through digital detox initiatives.


Dr Chaudhari’s multi-faceted approach involves recognising key areas that require attention and awareness. Through ZEP Foundation, she takes incremental steps to address these areas systematically. Whether it’s empowering tribal youth, supporting village women, promoting digital wellness, or preserving cultural heritage, each initiative represents a small but significant stride toward achieving positive and sustainable change in society.

This article appears in the Dec 23 - Jan 23 Issue of Professional Beauty/ Hairdressers Journal India

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This article appears in the Dec 23 - Jan 23 Issue of Professional Beauty/ Hairdressers Journal India