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The Harmonious Flavours of Success Help and Independence

The Harmonious Flavours of Success Help and Independence - Sunanda Masurkar

It’s never a cake walk when a woman decides to work and earn a livelihood. It was more difficult twenty years ago for Sunanda Masurkar, a resident of Worli. Today, she runs a catering business with the members of Prerna Self-help Group where she’s the head. She, along with the other women, takes food orders, sells masalas and homemade snacks.

Every step of her journey was entangled with struggles. But now, looking back, she feels that facing them was worth it all and that it made her a proud woman.

“I started working many years ago but then I had to take a gap that stretched up to more than fifteen years. I used to live in Virar before. There, I ran a small tailoring unit. But I had to shut it down when I shifted to Worli. Thereafter, I hardly worked because of family responsibilities.” - said Sunanda while describing her journey. She always wanted to go back to work but couldn’t because she had no specific direction.

“Few years back, Omkar Foundation started classes for women in the vicinity. I joined them right away. It was a wonderful experience to go back to learning something new again. I received a certificate for the masala making course”, she talks about her learning experience.

“The first big catering order that we received, was for a wedding that took place in our community itself. A boy from our community was getting married and he had no one in his family. He asked us whether we could help make food for the guests and arrange other requirements. We carried out the order successfully. Though the profit wasn't high, we as a group, started gaining confidence in our work.” Sunanda shares the story of the first catering order of their self-help group.

Sunanda's family members lent a helping hand by working for her business. To help improve the sales of her products, her son helped her with writing WhatsApp messages and designing pamphlets. They sent them out to people they knew to help gain her business some exposure. Her other relatives helped promote the business by word-of-mouth. These fruitful efforts led them to receive more orders.

“Today, our group takes catering orders for small and midsize functions. We sell snacks, various types of masalas and take customized orders for food items too. We’ve generated a favourable amount of profits. Sometimes when the group members receive individual orders, they help each other in carrying them out. This is how we are progressing gradually”, explains Sunanda.

“It did take some time and patience to convince these women to start a self-help group. Almost all of them were home makers and barely stepped out of the house. Though they wanted to do something, they were worried about leaving their comfort zones behind. But we mentored them throughout the process and supported them every step of the way.” - adds Suman Shevale, Program Co-coordinator of Manav Sadhan Vikas Sanstha.

They want to learn more about things like, packaging, costing, marketing and other aspects of business. As they continue embarking on this journey, from being home makers to running a small/micro enterprise, they will surely reach many success stops.

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