Giving Back: Malini Saba’s Story

Malini Saba grew up in the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka. She did not have much from the time she was a child to the time she moved to the United States, and she was only able to bring about $200 with her to her new home. However, she was full of dreams and felt empowered enough to take the world by storm. Now she is one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, and her philanthropic ventures put her on par with some of the most influential givers in recent history.


Malini Saba became interested in business at a very young age. From the first time she sat in a business course, she wanted to become involved in investments and join a venture capital firm. She, unfortunately, did not have the capital requirements that most venture capital firms want, so she was turned down everywhere that she applied. She soon decided that she would rather work for herself than some other investor, so she created Saban.


In the early years, Saban quickly grew to be an investment powerhouse. Starting off by investing in technology and oil and gas, the company rode the waves of increased use of tech and the increased prices of oil. Saban quickly grew and expanded further in the international marketplace. Malini loves to take risks and go where no other investors dare to go. That is when she entered the real estate market in India, before the economic boom that the country saw in the 2000s. This created even more wealth for Saban and Malini, and she knew that she had to start giving back.


That was when Malini created the nonprofit organization called Stree. This organization’s main focus was women’s issues on an international scale. Growing up in Asia, Malini Saba was more than familiar with what women had to go through. While we may talk about a glass ceiling in the U.S., women in these countries faced a ceiling made of steel that was impossible to break through. That is why Stree offers low income and women who are at-risk the ability to get healthcare, get legal counseling, and get training in entrepreneurship and business.


Malini’s giving did not stop there. She has given millions to charities and causes that are very important to her. In 2004, after the huge tsunami devastated much of India and Sri Lanka, she donated $10 million to help fund relief efforts. Now that is a great story.