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Oakridger Rishi Verma’s Start-up Initiative “Swayamkrushi” Empowers Rural Indian Women

Rishi Verma a grade 10 student from Oakridge International School Gachibowli started an initiative called Swayamkrushi; with an aim to create a secondary source of income for farmer families who suffer irregular and meagre revenue owing to the unpredictability and seasonality associated with the farming profession. He identified a growing demand for organic village produced sweets and savouries which fuelled his idea to make them available to the masses. Within a short span of time his project was able to raise 80 orders providing a stream of monthly income to farming families.

Educating the farmer families on existing market values

The journey

Rishi visitedBheemavaram a town in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh; to understand the issues faced by village communities like dying art and culture irregular wages and unemployment. After interviewing many farmers Rishi figured that farmers generally wait on crops to grow for 5-8 months and end up with a meagre revenue after the harvest. To bridge the gap between revenues in the idle months of harvest Rishi formulated an idea that could serve as a secondary source of income to the farmers on a daily or monthly basis. He empowered women toutilisetheir skills of producing indigenous food such as sweets pure ghee and pickles.

Women making Godavari delacacies Pootharekulu Palakolu and more

I have been very emotionally connected to my village and its people in West Godavari calledKallakuru and I decided to give back to the community where I hail from says Rishi.

I wanted to educate families of farmers especially women about the already existing market value of village goods in the urban areas as 80% of organic food produce is directly obtained from villages. After researching about the top-picks consumers prefer from the selection of village foods I selected the main produce with higher market value than the rest:pootharekulupalakovatatitandrachicken pickle and cowgheeexplains Rishi.

Walking from door-to-door to educate and convince the villagers it was a tedious effort to gain their confidence against the notion of how a 10th grader could impact their lives in a positive way. After being persistent he managed to onboard several women of the village onto the idea of using their excellent skills to earn money in an independent sustainable manner.

By simple WhatsApp communications and word of mouth Rishi managed to grow the customer base for farmers developing these products. He later liaised withVegesna Trust to package the products followed by collaborating with a travel agencyThomas Cook who subsequently connected Rishi toTru India Restaurants a chain of restaurants in HoustonTexas;where they agreed on a monthly order of 12 kgs per product from January 2020. After this massive success Rishi was able to pool in 80 orders and in less than 100 days he was able to generate 1.4 lakhs!

The amount wasn;t the impact but the impact on the families was my major win as my goal to facilitate a daily or monthly income to the families was being met adds Rishi. He was recently invited at the 1M1B Activate Impact Summit at UN New York where he presented his Village Sustainable Programme. The project was receivedwell and was appreciated at the conference.

Speaking on the occasion Hema Chennupaty Principal of Oakridge International School Gachibowli said We are extremely proud of the work done by Rishi and we are sure that this project will have a long-term impact on improving the lives of our farming community. At Oakridge we constantly provide various opportunities for our students to think beyond the ordinary and strive towards making a difference in the world. Like Rishi we have several other students from Oakridge Gachibowli who are coming up with various initiatives to help make our world a better place.

About Oakridge International School Gachibowli

Oakridge International School - Gachibowli School is a Nord Anglia Education day-school located in Nanakramguda Hyderabad. Oakridge Gachibowli school is one of the best international schools in Telangana and has the proud privilege of being the pioneers of IB School in Andhra Pradesh and one of the largest providers of IB Education in India. The school has also been listed among the top 5 best international schools by Times School Survey consecutively for the last three years and has been ranked no. 1 by Forbes Fortune Magazine and Education World (Top 10 in India). The school is purpose-built to deliver the IB curriculum and to support our students; growth learning and development.Spread across 5.11 acres the school provides a range of facilities that include state-of-art indoor and outdoor amenities - Soccer ground Wimbledon-sized tennis courts swimming pools amphitheatre digital classrooms and learning resource centres.

For more information please visit www.oakridge.in.

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