Chanda, a poor tribal woman living in Walvanda village in Jawhar Taluka was looking for an income to support the family of 7. All she could do and was interested in was to cook and she was a good cook at that. She could cook for 5, max. 10 but cooking for 100 was not her cup of tea. All we taught her was to scale her operations and how to scientifically calculate and cook for more number of people. Most important lesson she had to be given was money management. Having never seen money in her life, managing money was something she had never done before. We had to teach her nuances of financial management, cash flow, budgeting, balance sheets and accounting in an easy to understand language that she could grasp and implement. Chanda was a fast learner – she picked up things and started using all the tools taught to her. Today she not only works as a cook at a resort but also runs a successful catering business. Chanda has further employed 7 other needy women in her work. Chanda has inspired several other people to emulate her story and the list of women wanting to take up cooking professionally is growing by leaps and bounds.
Bhama is also a tribal woman living in the same village as Chanda. Bhama was born in poverty and had thought that she would also die in poverty until she got inspired by Chanda. She came to one of our programs and decided to change her life like Chanda. Bhama had huge self-esteem issues and our team took almost 6 months for her to actually start looking into our eyes which is when the program started. Look at the picture now, she is smiling into the camera without any consciousness. She is confident, she thinks about herself, she has respect in her family and her community and she has a dream and a hope that life could be different for her 4 children, one of which is mal nourished.
There are several Chanda’s and Bhama’s living there waiting for us to provide that trigger which will then allow them to take things into their hands and change for better, change for good.
Chandrakala comes from a family of 13 people. Her husband is a farm labourer and she has 5 children between age groups 14 yrs to 2 years. Her sister on law (husband’s sister) who is a widow and has five children also lives with her. They own a small of land where they grow rice during monsoon. It was important for Chandrakala to start something to contribute to the family income. She met us with her story and what stuck us was her resolve, her determination and her smile. She was smiling through her troubles, through her trauma and through her challenges. We instantly saw in her a role model and realised that she can be a great counsellor. Her pleasing personality and her smile could be a great magnet to draw people to her. We then groomed her to help women turn positive and realise their self esteem and hidden talents. Today Chandrakala is an intrinsic part of all our programs and she speaks to women, counsels them, plays confidence building games with them and she is on our rolls and gets a regular salary from us. Her counselling sessions are helping a lot of women to change their attitudes and move confidently in the direction of sustainable living.