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.
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.
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.
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.
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.