Good and Healthy Food is necessity and not the luxury – Kalyani Chavali
Saptadhanya Ladoo (Millets and seeds based) and Moringa Chikki from Pabal; GaaRELu (Spicy 12 ingredient chip) and GaVVaLu (Modified version of Andhra snack) from my mother's village; and 100 percent authentic and original honey from Maval's forests. Tulsi honey and Jamun honey are also sourced from Karnataka borders
Historically, rural women are powerful, strong and purposeful women who are deprived by the circumstances of abuse, inequality, and lack of opportunities. These challenges have hindered their personal development, economic empowerment, and community leadership.
Here is the story of Kalyani Chavali. Born and brought up in a South Indian family, Kalyani is a B.Tech in Chemical Technology. Her family believes in happy and simple life. In her high school, she realized that she has entrepreneurial skills. She also did brief internship at the PMPML office. On her everyday tour for internship, she heard complaints from the bus drivers about the routes and their financial records. She tried to resolve the matter at the age of sixteen by creating an app and designing new tactics for promotions that resulted in better revenue generation. In was an immature approach because she was unskilled.
Her college studies were going on and in 2nd year of her college, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Her mother had to take an unwanted 3 months break from her job to take care of Kalyani. In these 90 days routine care duration, she observed her mother and realized that housewives make delicious cuisines. To take care, no good cooks were available at that time, her mom had to quit the job and since then she didn’t continued her job later on. Her mother sacrificed her job, which was integral part of her life, for the family. She proved that for Indian woman, family comes above her dreams and career.
Later on she joined Vigyan Ashram, where she worked under Dr. Arun Dixit and Dr. J.B. Joshi on the strategies to combat Vitamin D deficiencies for just Ten Rupees. The place is in outskirts of Pune, approximately 50 kms from the city. There she met many locals and learned about Saptadhanya Ladoo and Moringa Chikki. Rural women prepared these dishes with delicacies that were full of taste, nutrition, and most important part is that the ingredients were local harvests.
Going In all
In May of this year, Kalyani launched Sahrudaya with the goal of giving a voice to our rural India's unsung cuisine dishes that are devoid of refined flour and added sugar! Many people think of us as an aggregator, but we are much more.
Leveraging rural women’s initiatives
Initially, the plan was to assist these rural ladies in gaining more consumers. Kalyani planned to promote their items in her family circles, friends' circles, and so on. There were issues that arose while delivering orders, such as variations in flavour, texture, and bad packaging, among others. Her passion progressively grew, and she went from assisting these ladies with customers to establishing an entirely new business.
After she came in engagement with women, there are five keys areas that she worked for the sustainable development and empowerment of women. Done right, these areas will lead to women living confidently, independently and unleashing their full potentials in their communities. It will lead to sustainable community impact and women development.
Every step forward is met with a slew of obstacles. Standardising was the first and biggest challenge. Sourcing directly from farmers varied the raw material quality and the types. Peanuts alone came in eight different types and jaggery varied batch to batch and day to day. This resulted in varying the quality. Fixing parameters, designing simple quality analysis techniques and training women was also a challenge in itself. Marketing was also a big hurdle! Placing the products on counter didn’t make sales, as people were least aware of these authentic recipes! Special in-house marketing was done too!
Another major and unresolved issue - Women's force. Having a firm that is entirely run by women has its own set of repercussions! Menstrual cycles, pregnancy, children, and the responsibility for the well-being of the family make it difficult for a woman to come up every day with the same intensity. There have been cases where a woman's family forced her to stop working since they wanted her to take a fourth chance in the hope of having a son or because she earned more than her male partner. All of this caused delays in the process! Empowering women is one thing; creating a work atmosphere that accommodates her wants and emotions is quite another.
We are a food processing firm that offers more than six distinct products from three different villages. Saptadhanya Ladoo (Millets and seeds based) and Moringa Chikki from Pabal; GaaRELu (Spicy 12 ingredient chip) and GaVVaLu (Modified version of Andhra snack) from my mother's village; and 100 percent authentic and original honey from Maval's forests. Tulsi honey and Jamun honey are also sourced from Karnataka borders. We have a variety of honey available depending on the season.
Prices of the nutritious and healthy products offered by Saharudaya are very competitive as compared to other products like millets, oats or ready to eat packaged food. The material used in our products comes directly from the farmers, freshly cooked by expert village ladies and packaged hygienically to keep the freshness intact.
SAHARUDAYA, is a team of seven women based in Talegaon, Pune. In the villages of Pabal, Maval, and Attreyapuram, three teams of three women are working. Women can now establish material balances; some have even learnt English; and, last but not least, they have gained confidence.
Presently, their products come from three different villages on store and two more village products will be added by March-end. Products are available on Sahrudya website along with four other platforms - mitti ke rang, mitti good gifts, moms kart and terrahealth. The delicious and authentic products are available across 18 shops in Pune. Expanding their wings abroad, Sahrudaya has major deliveries to California and New Zealand. They also collaborated with various old-age homes, women's and child care centres and provided nutritional RTE snacks to these institutes.
How and where do you see yourself in the future
The team is focusing in expansion of Sahrudaya manufacturing units to 20 additional communities and to have a product portfolio of at least 50 items. Secondly, recipes that caters to the specific requirements of each individual. Thirdly, providing long-term employment options to rural population. Fourth, source 100% of the Raw Material directly from farmers. Fifth, amending a supply chain model in order to have a countrywide distribution of products. Obtain international recognition for Indian village cuisine.
An advice to readers
Women’s economic empowerment in the rural economy is inseparably linked to strengthening laws, policies, governance and institutions, which reduce the risks of exposure to, and enhance protection from, unacceptable forms of work.
Kalyani believes, there is no time limit. Being brought up, I have always been told that everything has the right age to do. There is a right age to get educated, a right age to get married. But, in my opinion, every age is appropriate for making your own decision and starting from scratch. There will be different types of difficulties at each stage, but the struggle and showing up even when you don't feel like it will remain constant.