The Association for Non-traditional Employment for Women (ANEW) was conceived by the management of Paracor, a New York based private equity firm. The inspiration for ANEW came from an organisation in the USA named Non-traditional Employment for Women (NEW). Mr. M.K.Kumar, the then Chairman of Pierce Leslie India Ltd. and a member on the Advisory Board of Paracor, with his passion for social work, helped move the project forward in India, with the help of Mr. Ravindiran, a businessman from Chennai.
In 1997, ANEW was registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Act, under the guidance of Mr. M.K.Kumar. A management committee was formed to run the affairs of ANEW with Mrs. Lakshmi Kumar, wife of Mr. M.K.Kumar, as the first President. In 1998, ANEW decided that Home Nursing would be the first opening course in its curriculum. The course began with 10 women, out of a car garage, as lack of funds preventing renting a place. Mr. M.K. Kumar approached the then trustees of Sundaram Medical Foundation and arranged for the home nursing students to undergo practical training at their premises, which continues to this day. The course proved to be very successful with trainees being in high demand for their services as nursing assistants. It also successfully reached out to vulnerable women, who are at the lowest rung of the social ladder.
ANEW has been a pioneer in the field of women’s employment. At the time they launched, there were no nursing courses available for free nor one that would have enrolled women from slums or poor backgrounds. ANEW targets lower caste and poor women with the specific aim of moving them from informal sector work, like maids and cleaners to formal sector work. As in the latter, there is higher job security, higher income and better hygiene standards.
In 1999, ANEW received FCRA permission to receive donations from abroad on project specific basis. FCRA funds helped ANEW sustain itself and also plan for future expansion. In 2000, the organisation moved to an apartment building and continued work there; until 2007, when a donor Mr. Basil Sellers gave enough funds to buy their own office building. The organisation is based in that building today, a spacious two storey plot.