After two years of crises due to Covid-19 also in India normal life is coming back. This is happening at all social levels and means a lot to less wealthier people. The lockdowns and curfews as well as the situation at schools and job losses hit them the most.
It is just a few days now that the owner of the Appalam (Papad/ pappadam) bakery in Coimbatore has re- started the activities. She has been a self help group member of a cooperative, called Vimukktha. It’s a cooperative that was formed when HIV hit the region and many women had lost thee or husband or where affected themselves. Out of those self help groups of women Vimukktha developed. Today, it is a cooperative where women living close to the poverty line, come together, save together, learn and have the opportunity to set up a small business. These women have participate also in many of our health, digital and soap making training sessions. Also some basic marketing sessions were highly interesting to them.
As a member of Vimukktha, the Appalam bakery woman got also the possibility to get some basic money to buy some machines and materials to start her big dream: baking and selling papadam.
Before Covid came in, she has started very small, with home made Appalam, a kind of crispy chip bread. She started to sell it to neighbors only. With a win of 2-3 Indian rupees per piece (0,03 Cents/EUR). She has taken a small loan from the Vimuktha federation she is belonging to. It worked out well.
Then she took another big loan when her dream of an own bakery became a reality. But she had to be patient due to the crises.
It is a challenging loan about ca. 3500 EUR. She needed the money to scale up and to buy some machines and rent a room. Now finally she can start to pay back and – fortunately- the request for pappadam and the daily production is high.
She has already taken some workers under contract and produces every day several thousand pieces. Even for some Canadian customers. In the meantime, she has optimized also the packaging and branding.
As Nagar, the director of the Vimuktha federation says: “She is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in our association. The idea is not too complicated and she could start very small. The whole family is helping her. This makes it much easier.”
Have a look at the pappadam making.
Although the set up is still a simple one, it is impressive how the final product looks and tastes. And to see what is possible when people at the poverty line get the right support and skills.