This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Enactus Aryabhatta. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Triumph of Women Entrepreneurs At Project Utkarsh

After centuries of never-ending struggles in India, the primal roots of the age-old social evil known as patriarchy remains persistent and imbued in the minds of its citizens. For centuries, women in India have been shackled by the interiorized ideologies weaved by the dynamic web of patriarchy.

The Conundrum Between Traditional Family Roles And Independence

Women have been victims of familial confinement, yearning to free themselves from the clutches of cultural marginalization. In the context of extreme poverty, these women are captured in flux between their desires to be independent while also tending to their traditional roles in the family.

This being one of the perils faced by society, there are many more sectors in which exist a multitude of socio-economic and humanitarian issues that have long withheld the progress of our country. One of the obstacles that have posed a constant threat to our country is the issue of starvation.

It has been reported that over 50,000 Cr worth of food and 21 Cr of wheat have been wasted every year. Food wastage has been an alarming issue in India. It is said that India wastes as much food as the entire United Kingdom consumes. Food security is the basic right of every human being, which has been neglected due to over-exploitation, thus, widening the gap between the rich and poor.

Adding on to the pile of issues, there are concerns about unhealthy eating habits. The magnitude of which has led to diverse cases of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obesity followed by a legion of other diseases.

Project Utkarsh Breaks Oppressive Genders Constructs

However, witnessing these grim realities did not dampen the spirits of the young minds at Aryabhatta College. The student-led team of Enactus Aryabhatta looked forward to these challenges as an opportunity that could bring a change to the lives of the deprived. These young entrepreneurs strived towards the holistic development of the underprivileged communities.

Representation Image. The increase in the income of lady entrepreneurs’ families has allowed the children to gain access to better educational facilities.

Focusing on uplifting the lives of these deprived women constrained to their conjugal duties, Enactus Aryabhatta sought to break these oppressive and undermining gender constructs of the society by initiating a Project named ‘Utkarsh,’ which means ‘to rise.’

Project Utkarsh simultaneously tackles the issues of gender biases, food wastage, and unhealthy consumption patterns by empowering underprivileged women through a source of earning by attaching an entrepreneurial approach to their existing skills of cooking.

Their women entrepreneurs utilize the waste pulp of vegetables like Carrot and Beetroot that contain high amounts of fibers, minerals, and antioxidant properties used to make healthy savories called VEGGITOS. These savories are manufactured with a well-defined hygiene module and eco-friendly packaging.

Each production unit under Project Utkarsh generates employment opportunities for more than 8 women. The team, through its consistent efforts, has consulted with various nutritionists to ensure the best quality is delivered to the consumers. Thereby preventing food wastage and generating a healthier snacking alternative to unhealthy fried chips that contain a high amount of trans-fat.

50 Opportunity Deprived Women Evolved Into Successful Entrepreneurs

Battling against the obstructions faced by the community, Project Utkarsh has laid a massive impact on the lives of downtrodden people. Our product Veggitos, through its health benefits, became a favorable choice for health-conscious people, thereby promoting social welfare.

Within a span of 3 years, this project expanded across Northern India to Chandigarh, Faridabad, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh. Our project has potently employed more than 50 opportunity-deprived women by transforming them into successful entrepreneurs. Now, being proactive members of their community, they take part in important decision-making affairs and reach out to form networks, wherein both the societal interests and theirs can co-exist.

“I have been able to save money to build my own house and provide for my family. I am looking forward to earning and supporting my husband in managing the house with the help of project Utkarsh.”, said Chanda Srivastava, a social entrepreneur under Project Utkarsh, RK Puram.

We have positively impacted the environment by reducing food and water wastage. Through Project Utkarsh, these women entrepreneurs have saved over 90,000 gallons of water and 1200KGs of wasted food.

The growth and development of this project is just a stepping stone towards the triumph of a huge revolution. We, at Enactus Aryabhatta, believe to not settle for anything less than excellence. With extreme diligence and devotion, we continue to strive towards chasing a better tomorrow.

You must be to comment.

More from Enactus Aryabhatta

Similar Posts

By Rohit Singh Chauhan

By Juhi Smita

By Megha Parmar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below