It is said that the only permanent thing in this world is change.
For centuries, in our villages life has gone on unchanged especially for women. Since her childhood, a girl is reared to shoulder the various responsibilities of the home. Once married, she has to work in the kitchen, tend to the cattle in the fields, attend to the elders and the children. Life goes on this way generation after generation.Advances in sciences, especially the advent of television and the smart phone have changed all that. For the women, who always lived in her own village with little communication with the rest of the world, to hold a smart phone in her hand is tremendously empowering.
Every woman in PSSS owns a phone. With that many new changes have come into her life and many challenges as well. Happily, The Stree Shakti woman is ready to face up to challenges. Indeed, she does not think change is a challenge but an opportunity. She has learnt that every minute of the day is to be used fruitfully .Time management and planning are helping her to work and make her understand how to motivate her co-workers to perform better so that everyone is benefited. She is given the opportunity to meet a variety of customers – Indian and international – which teaches her the importance of quality and finish. At home, she is able to manage her duties as efficiently as at work.
The endeavor of the management is to inculcate within the members of Stree Shakti the necessary skills of not only making beautiful products but also marketing and meeting customer demands to make future plans for their business.Many friends and friendly organization have come forward to help us succeed in our vision.The year 2016-17 started with the visit of Sarah May who volunteered to work with us for a fortnight to make a marketing plan for Stree Shakti. Having worked with huge firms in the capacity of experience and expertise to help us increase our markets and sales.Anna Westcott a designer from Australia worked with our women for over 20 days to create samples of quilts with her design. Those were marketed and were very well received. Anna gave us 2 big orders of these quilts and baby quilts which we exported to Australia.
We also received many other bulk orders. Our women and designers are always ready to do their best to make elegant and well finished products to the satisfaction of the customers. Be it a dohar for a birthday party, notebooks and polly bags for Christmas on a bulk order from a corporate every item was perfectly design ed and the production meticulously planned and executed within the time frame stipulated by the customer. Many new products were also created. We made a whole range of pet products for a client who had started this new \ business. Our designers thoroughly enjoyed creating bandanas, winter jackets beds and blankets for pets.
In Feb 2017, Hena Parveen a garment designer from NID joined us. She helped our women to make a range of garments from crop tops to palazzos, kurtas and pants, As we had been wanting to enter the field of garments. Hena’s patterns and styles gave us the courage to a go a head with this plan. Our women were encouraged to learn the craft of garment making.
A well known online portal sent a designer to Purkal to create some samples of garments for them. Another organization got us to make samples of quilted throws. Our artisans took up these projects readily for they understood that these may result in future orders. We also started working on supplying to various online portals both in India and abroad.In the previous year we had participated in over 50 exhibitions around the country. This increased our sales but the expenses for these shows were crippling, resulting in major losses. So this year we participated in fewer exhibitions and concentrated on bulk orders. This strategy helped us realize a small profit.
Our welfare activities such as free lunch to the artisans, providing bus transport to reach them to the women’s center and free training program are all funded by donation. Unfortunately, Purkal Stree Shakti is viewed only as a commercial organization and collecting donations is a big challenge. With the help of a volunteer Chinmayee we registered our lunch project on Milaap, a crowd funding platform the collection was not spectacular but even a small amount was welcomed.Running a Non profit organization is a wrought with challenges. It is even more so if it is supporting a commercial venture. Purkal Stree Shakti has marched ahead nonchalantly for over 14 years. Support comes from many quarters- friends, empathetic clients, volunteers and donors.