Being Women

Youth Bringing Social Change Through Enactus

Helping people grow without expectations is the biggest social cause one can aim for. NGO’s and many independent entities have come forward to skill the poor and make them help themselves. Enactus is one of those global communities which is dedicated to social innovators. Students of Kirori Mal College, Delhi have their stories to tell.

‘You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.’ -Brigham Young

This saying beautifully encapsulates the rationale behind searching for a financially dependent group of women who could be turned into entrepreneurs with Project Dor. We wanted to utilise the platform provided by Enactus to catalyse social change. 

We were on the lookout for a community and soon got in touch with an NGO, which helped us establish contact with some migrant women. During the initial phase of the training sessions, our goal was to familiarise them with the work we do at Enactus and how they would be involved. However, this met with certain difficulties. These training sessions were conducted by our team members themselves and while the members came from a place of information and knowledge, for the women, they were complete strangers, much younger to them. It became crucial for them to interact with the women in a way that they did not come out as condescending. 

During one such visit, as we sat with all the women to discuss the future of the project, one of us said, ‘Yeh business age jakar apka business hoga’ (This business would be yours in the future). As soon as this was said, all the women gasped. It was as though the member had spoken French! This is when we had an epiphany- the thought of owning a business for a female was so far from reality that accepting its possibility was also challenging. This reflected the miserable social conditions they were subjected to. We reassured them that they would be there to support them at every step of the way, similar to incubators. 

We decided to start by developing one skill at a time. First, we tried to familiarise them with the production process- demonstrating every process in a detailed manner. Eventually, we explained to them the procurement process, and then the management of money, just as a step towards financial literacy. Soon enough, they started taking stock of the work they were doing and became financially aware. With every step we took in an attempt to catalyse financial independence, we grew closer to the ladies. 

There’s a particular story associated with one of the production visits that later became one of our most cherished memories at Dor. We had a massive corporate order that had to be produced and delivered in a short period. The entire team decided to give the ladies a helping hand in the production process. After an entire day of toiling hard under the scorching sun, we all sat down to dry the products. One of the members sat opposite to one of the four ladies, holding a scarf by opposite ends and moving it aggressively to dry it. While doing this, he got into a conversation with the lady about homemade sweets. The member nonchalantly mentioned that he loves laddoos (a sphere-shaped Indian sweet). They quickly dried and packed all the products and left.

Coincidentally, another production visit was planned for the same week. A new set of members were asked to go for the visit. At around 10 AM, the member who went to the previous production visit received a call from the production site. He picked up and one of the ladies said, ‘Hello beta aaj nahi aa rahe?’(Hello, aren’t you coming today). This got him worried. Had the members not reached the site yet? What was going on? He asked her, in utter confusion, whether the other members had not reached yet. She excitedly said that she had prepared his favourite laddoos for him. This brought a broad smile to the member’s face. 

This transformation from an employer-employee relationship to a family-like bond occurred very beautifully. They are no more just a community for us, they are a group of four talented women, who are now a part of the Enactus Kirori Mal family.  We believe that we alone cannot empower these women, but allowing them to put their experience to use is a step in this direction. The satisfaction obtained from knowing that these women, now, contribute financially to their families is uncanny. Four women are on the journey of breaking free from the shackles of poverty and patriarchy, and so are the generations to follow.

By Enactus
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