November 14, 2009

Women Empowerment

Filed under: Maharashtra,Small Businesses — loggers @ 1:21 pm

As we were traversing through Mr. Rohit Rathi’s cotton ginning unit in Amravati, we happened to meet his mother Mrs. Kanta Rathi. Her firm, Rukmini Creations is a handicraft manufacturing unit run by her 50 employees and a sales team. It is an ordinary story until you discover that the organization is run wholly by women. This is a heartening tale in a patriarchal society and a showcase unit for aspiring self-help groups in rural and urban India. Mrs. Rathi is the kind of entrepreneur we look for as part of our travels.

The group has been operational since 1992, a result of Mrs. Kanta Rathi’s work and her mother-in-law, Mrs. Rukmini Rathi’s encouragement (hence, the name). This makes the story even more noteworthy as this narrative is a polar opposite of the stereotypical (Indian) mother-in-law who is an oppressive figure.

Rukmini Creations specializes in the manufacturing of utility kits (jewellery bags, prayer meeting kits, saree bags etc.) for women and also makes bathroom accessory kits and tie bags, among others, for men. The designs are quintessentially Indian with paisleys and bright colors merging to create the mithai-box effect. Most of the products are exported to countries such as the UAE and South Africa, as the demand and rewards tend to be more favorable abroad. Only a small fraction is reserved for exhibitions held in India.

gents kits

Rukmini Creations' products

While on our way out, the affable Mrs. Rathi showed us her feedback book which has remarks from several dignitaries. She proudly shared her picture with the President of India, who hails from Amravati and has appreciated Rukmini Creations’ work. Not only do such encounters make for good blog posts, they represent the much needed optimism to the otherwise bleak realities of women in business in India.

Mrs. Rathi with the current President


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