Shramik Mahila Vikas Sangh is an all-women initiative that helps the women in need and provides them with employment and much more.
It was established by Indumathy Vishnu Barve, in 1991 for women looking for employment to support their families. A teacher at New English School on MG Road, Vasai in Mumbai, Indumathy formed this Trust along with her friends Usha Manerikar, Jayashree Samant, and Shubhada Kothawale.
These women came from different backgrounds – a teacher, a homemaker, and a woman supporting social causes, but they all had one vision, to help other women in need.
They had kicked off the initiative in the ’80s but had failed due to financial constraints. Post this, they turned to start a canteen on the school’s premises.
They pooled together a sum of INR 3000 and found seven women who could cook and serve food to customers from the economically backward society, and as of today, they have an annual turnover of INR 3 crore, with more than 175 women being financially independent.
The Working Hours
Initially, the Vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali offered two rotis, dal, rice, two kinds of sabzis, papad, and pickle, for INR 10 which then grew to be INR 73 as of today. The extras and desserts are chargeable, and yet the quality and hygiene were well maintained throughout.
The centre is functional from 8 am to 10 pm, where initially women would come and work as per their convenience and get paid accordingly.
Now, there is a structure and routine as they work in shifts, with responsibilities such as manning the cash counter, cooking, cleaning, managing customers, and collecting ration that was allocated to them.
The business was slow at first, where the ones working took the unsold food home. They were also given the training to uphold the standards of quality and service. As the days went on, the word spread and people came in to have good food at a very affordable price.
The Perks And The Glory
Financial independence is the biggest perk that these women get. Apart from that, these women have a sisterhood. They also get a pension plan, a provident fund, insurance policies, educational funding, health benefits and much more.
Sumitra Shinge, now 53, has been working in the trust for 23 years. She lost her husband when she was 30 and was introduced to this place. The Sangh helped her become financially independent and helped pay for her son’s education from when he was 5.
Their best-sellers include Puran Poli, Besan Vadi or Besan Barfi, Nariyal Vadi or Coconut Barfi and Aloo Vadi or Patra. In 2016, they received the Silver Jubilee with a lot of hype from the fans.
The festive seasons are a very busy time for them as they get orders worth INR 4000 – 5000 and work round the clock to fulfil these orders and work at the restaurant. The COVID-19 situation has, however, put a halt to their dine-ins, but they are still having takeaways.
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This post was tagged under: Mumbai, women of Mumbai, women empowerment, financial stability, Shramik Mahila Vikas Sangh, women who change the world, canteen run only by women, women entrepreneurs, perks of working a job, healthy food, affordable food for low-income group, women who became sisters