In Hindi, the word Chaakri signifies ‘seva’ and ‘service’. Chaakri is a fully volunteer run organisation and a dedicated social enterprise. It was launched way back in 2005. In Chaakri, the employed women come from marginalised backgrounds. These women are trained to make khakhras. Presently, Chaakri employs 90 women from 18 villages. Today these khakhras are sold not only in India but internationally as well.
Chaakri is a unit of Sa-Ni-Sa (Shramik Naari Sangh) – An NGO run end-to-end ‘By women for women’, is a beacon of hope to a million dreams. With a novel idea of industrialising the one inherent skill of the Indian woman – Rolling Round Roti’s (Indian bread), the NGO aims to empower hundreds of women and their families by making them realise their potential through employment, education and spiritual elevation.
The district of Raigad, a completely male dominated demography, with extreme conditions of poverty led to severe malnutrition, tribal culture and lifestyle, high suicidal rates, child labour in bootleg breweries, child marriages, scarce resources for an average family size of 6-8 and lack of purpose to avail education, especially for the girl child. It was an unfavourable environment for survival, let alone the survival of women.
Chaakri works towards the economic empowerment of these women in an extremely well-rounded format by ensuring their independence financially and helping them build a positive mind-set. It has been instrumental in uplifting the women and their families from an extremely unfavourable situation and has helped put them on the world map; on a journey of independence, welfare and success.
Chaakri is indebted to Shruti Sheth, Trustee of the organisation. Shruti is a post graduate from NMIMS University with a degree in Human Resource Management, Previously, she worked with the Business Research arm of JP Morgan Chase India for almost 9 years. She quit her job as Associate Vice President at the peak of her career to put her management experience and professional expertise at work for Sa-Ni-Sa. “Empowering lives” is her aspiration; admirably, she strives to fulfil this dream everyday –she made her humble beginning 6 years ago when she moved to the village to head Chaakri’s production unit – and is literally working at the grass root level with the less-privileged women at Rajnagar, Parli.
“What started with 2 women in 2005 has grown today to 90 women who are self-reliant and work with dignity in a safe, secure & positive work environment. We are looking to support a greater number of women with this successful model, but don’t have the infrastructure and space to do so; and are raising funds for a new factory,” says Shruti.
Team Chaakri is working hard to shift to a bigger place so that it can support livelihood of 500+ less-privileged women and sow seeds of transformation for generations to come. It will also enable Chaakri to extend its reach to over 35 villages. Chaakri has bigger plans in enhance the standard of living of the employed women and their families in terms of education, health, nutrition and skill development. After all, Team Chaakri is making no effort unturned to bridge the gap between overwhelming demand and limited supply by optimizing production capacity and building a self-sustaining model.
With a vision of empowering more women, Chaakri is raising funds through a crowd-funding campaign with Milaap. Be a part of this incredible journey of Chaakri (www.milaap.org/fundraisers/chaakri)