Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Women’s Shop Has Officially Launched!!

On Wednesday morning, Rangoli opened its doors to the Saurath community. And many were in attendance for the inauguration ceremony, including the sponsor team from Japan! The ceremony started with a lighting of the diya and a few speeches:

Lighting of the diya by Bhavana & her husband and the Ricoh team

And then of course, serving of free mithai! J There was quite a crowd of young girls and women who came to see what the store is all about – it was completely packed for the first few hours! So it was all hands on deck to help serve the customers:

And many customers bought too, making for a pretty successful 1st day.

After the many long nights of planning and preparation (and lots of bargaining with vendors!), it’s great to see the store up and running. But there’s still a lot to do to make this truly successful and self-sustaining.

So now I’m spending half of my days with Bhavana at the store to help her understand how to manage daily activities – recording sales, managing inventory, tracking customer information etc. It’s funny how much this reminds me of growing up and helping my parents at their store – though I had no idea back then all the work that goes into the planning and management!

And in return for this training, I’m doing a bit of learning myself! I’m learning more and more Methali these days (or at least trying!), and I’m also learning quite a bit about the life of women here – like the tradition (or “duty” as it has been explained to me) of wearing certain jewelry after marriage (nose ring, toe ring etc.), but then discarding all of these and pursuing a very simple lifestyle that also includes many food restrictions if one is widowed.

Though I can’t always fully understand the conversation, it’s quite refreshing to be in an environment like this where women seem to be really comfortable and open. I hope word continues to spread and more and more women get excited and involved with this model!

A few more pics from the day, including some snaps of the team setting up, and the many people that came to see what Rangoli is all about:



4 comments:

  1. Way to go, Seema! All the best!

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  2. Good Luck, Friends
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