Rupali Patil grew up in a small village in Hitae, Kolhapur and dreamed of pursuing her higher education and lead an independent life. After passing class 10, her parents didn’t allow her to continue her education, and she was married off when she was only seventeen years old. After her marriage in 2004, she shifted to Pune. Her husband’s income was not enough to make ends meet and eventually he had to stop working due to his continuously deteriorating health. Economic hardships for Rupali soon began to pile up and she desperately needed an alternative source of income.
During that time, Rupali had come to the Forbes Marshall (FM) Medicare at Kasarwadi to visit the doctor for her son’s checkup and saw a bunch of women in the community centre making items of handicrafts. Seeing those women, Rupali too wanted to gain a new skill and engage in something that will fetch her some income.
In 2007, Rupali joined the Phulora Program for learning vocational skills and then joined the Umang group that helped her in improving her skills and abilities. In 2009, Rupali started to work in our Cafeteria where she along with other women from the community made sweets and snacks that were bought by the members of FM during festivals. In the beginning, she was unsure about her ability to handle this responsibility and lacked confidence.
Eventually, with the support of our members, her confidence grew over time and she eventually started her own business with the lessons she learned during her time at Umang.
Now, Rupali is a Self Employed woman. She sells snacks in our Cafeteria as well as provides tiffin services to the nearby offices. She has learned to incorporate customer feedback into her services and takes into account her consumer’s tastes and demands. She takes suggestions from her customers and uses them for improving the quality of the product.
Rupali still has some problems she would like to overcome. She wants to ensure a steady source of income for her two children. Her income also depends on the season. She can get more orders during birthdays or festivals but at other times the income is comparatively low.
She always faces the common problem of being a woman in a patriarchal system and can’t travel very far to deliver orders.
But with her resistance, Rupali is one of many such women of our community who are slowly but surely subverting the patriarchal norms. Her skills, confidence and access to a community for support has made her carve out a place for herself. She is now the main breadwinner of her family. Through her venture, Rupali has also learnt some valuable life skills like managing finances, dealing with stakeholders and resilience in the face of adversity. Rupali would like to expand her business and take up more orders. At present, her business is restricted to Forbes Marshal and adjoining areas. However, she is thinking of expanding soon.