KOCHI: They are truly bold and beautiful. Amid big talk of women’s empowerment, these women understand the importance of self-reliance. And realising the need to connect and spread the message, this new breed of gung-ho women have been creating networks for their ilk to channelise the zeal for life. Here is a look at some women’s platforms that have gained impressive traction, even at a global level — The Roopa George Circle, Queens Business Global, Moms of Kochi and Her Trivandrum.
A perfect circle
“The Roopa George Circle took shape as I came across several enterprising, creative and talented women — basically homemakers from different strata of the society — who lacked the much-needed exposure to take the path of self-reliance,” says Kochi-based social activist Roopa George, whose network spreads across Kerala.
Her collective promotes momtrepreneurs and also deals with issues women face in their day-to-day lives. “It’s all about effective networking,” says Roopa. “And the networking doesn’t stop at developing or gaining business. The circle has evolved as a platform through which drivers, domestic helps, etc, have found steady employment. We also help farmers sell their produce directly to customers. This was a big boon for farmers, especially during the pandemic crisis.”
Be it medical help, initiatives for the emotional and physical well-being of women or aid for the underprivileged in society, members of such platforms have been working closely in perfect sync.
“There is no ‘I’ here, only ‘we, us’,” says Sandhya Radhakrishnan, founder of Queens Business Global. “Our group came into being just three months ago, but the initial spark dates back to the first lockdown. I had some health issues and was cooped up inside my home. It was quite depressing. So, I turned to embroidery, which I learned via YouTube tutorials.” Sandhya’s work started trending, and she began receiving orders. “Now, I have clients and students in foreign countries, too,” she says.
As orders started piling up, Sandhya could not meet the demand. “An embroiderer can cater to orders placed by around five clients per month. Also, there are times when the client might demand a different sort of design or pattern that one might not be comfortable with. That’s when I started connecting clients to other women with a passion for embroidery. It thus became a chain,” she says.
“One does not need to worry about losing clientele, as the market is huge. Work is easily available when it comes to creative endeavours.” After anchoring her ship, Sandhya started promoting products made by other women entrepreneurs through her social media handles that have huge followership. “It was a joy to see those products receive acceptance, and the women entrepreneurs benefit,” says Sandhya.
From that joy sprouted the idea of forming a social media group to promote entrepreneurship among women. “There are many hidden gems, who just need a bridge to the vast pool of consumers,” she says. “For instance, some mothers are into making yummy homemade goodies, but they have no clue about the potential of online services. So, their products don’t get the reach they deserve. This is where Queens Business Global comes in. We aim to build each of the members into successful entrepreneurs.” Sandhya adds that the platform connects budding entrepreneurs with women professionals such as doctors, counsellors, lawyers, etc.
“In the past three months, 500 entrepreneurs have joined our group, “ she says. “Currently, all the trade happens via our Facebook group, which has over 15,000 members. To provide more visibility, we will soon be planning exhibitions. They won’t be large-scale affairs; that would be opposite to our idea.”
Moms of Kochi is another platform that took birth from the stress a mother undergoes when it comes to getting help in child-rearing. “It started as a group for mothers in the city to help each other,” says blogger and author Rakhi Jayashankar. “It, however, has evolved into a platform for moms to share information, promote business and showcase talents.”
For business alone, Rakhi started a social media collective named Ladies Corner, which connects women entrepreneurs and influencers across India. “We aim to bring like-minded women together and provide them with opportunities. There is huge potential, but not enough opportunities.”
‘Started off from a query’
Her Trivandrum, launched by homemaker Anjali Manoj, was initially a platform for women to discuss various issues. It soon expanded into promoting entrepreneurship and talents. “It started off with a query [which does not want to share now] that I posted on social media. I was surprised to receive many strange responses and requests. It was then that I thought of starting a group to freely discuss women’s issues. Soon well-wishers asked me to expand its reach,” says Anjali.
“Today, Her Trivandrum’s Facebook page has around 15,500 members. Besides networking, the platform allows women to air their grievances and gain support. We have even had abuse victims seek help.” Business activity is allowed thrice a week. “Members get an opportunity to sell or buy products,” adds Anjali, whose platform has many NRI members, too.