Induja Nair and Shalin John were staying quite nearby, just one kilometre apart. But they had never bumped into each other until a chance encounter at a common friend’s place, which changed their lives forever. Now, the duo is working together on the second edition of their venture, Kaipunyam, a chance for homemakers to showcase their skills.
The first edition held on April 13 saw 21 entrepreneurs – women who did not know how to showcase their talents before the public — being launched. Following its success, the duo is launching another set of women on Saturday.
Shalin, 44, was an aeronautical engineer with the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited. But after a few years, she quit and formed Kriiyaa, an NGO which is working for women empowerment. Meanwhile, 34-year-old Induja, who runs a PR agency and consulting company called IRA India, had been planning to do something for women belonging to the marginalised section.
“Not many know how to start an enterprise,” says Induja. This had been on her mind for quite some time and she discussed her plans with Shalin, who was also planning to do something similar. A token amount is collected from each woman who registers to put up their stalls. In return, the duo promotes them by designing logo, business cards and posters as well as coming up with promotional videos on social media, branding and marketing their products. Shalin says they are keen to help lots of underprivileged women, but despite the limitations, they wish to uplift at least 10-15 families every month. In the first leg of Kaipunyam, out of the 21 entrepreneurs, 17 of them were newcomers. The duo shared the story of Deeja, a woman affected by polio who has been in a wheelchair since the age of three. She has now become a successful pickle manufacturer. Like Deeja, there are other women entrepreneurs who have success stories to share. One among them is Poornima, who is a jewellery designer. She did not have a Facebook page and only her neighbours and friends used to buy her hand-designed ornaments. Shalin and Induja came up with a name — ‘Pearls and Beads’. Now, she is confident of earning extra income to run the household.
“This is not our activity, but our responsibility. I feel that a woman, even when she is sleeping, will be thinking of what to do next. We are not gaining anything from this as both of us have other businesses,” say Shalin and Induja.
During the second leg of Kaipunyam which is taking place on Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm at IRA Tower at Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, homemakers will be coming up with handicrafts, terracotta items, mural paintings, indoor plants and more. The two have decided to make it a monthly affair by organising one on every second Saturday. They are also planning to take Kaipunyam to Kochi soon. Women should be independent and recognise their capabilities, they say. “What may sound impossible for some people must be easy for others. So, why don’t women come out of their shells,” asks Induja.
Each participant will also get an opportunity to talk about their product and their journey to success. This way, they will get self-confidence. They can talk about their anxieties, how they beat them and come out victorious in life. The duo is not keen to take rest, as they want to help many more women. Come Sunday, which is Mother’s Day, they will be spending time with the aged inmates of Deepthi Bhavan, an orphanage functioning at Mylam on the outskirts of the capital city....