Education in our country is failing. Despite being armed with expensive degrees like MBA, hundreds of youngsters are seen taking up petty jobs offering a few thousands in the name of salary. On the other hand, there are people doing stunning things despite having little formal education. Look at these four tribal women who have made history in business and are earning in crores today.
Jija Bai, Sanjee Bai, Hansa Bai and Babli have little formal education but have become the source of inspiration for thousands around them. It is fabulous how the four of them established a business with zero capital, grew it to form a company, and are now employing numerous employment opportunities to other tribal women who once struggled to make their ends meet.
The women grew up in Rajasthan where their homes were close to forest. This forest has an abundance of custard apple trees (seetaphal) that turned around their fortunes. When these women went to these forests in search of dried woods for fuel, they noticed the hundreds of sweet, ripe custard apples just falling on the ground and getting wasted.
This was a sight they had seen for years while growing up. One day, they began to bring as many custard apples as they could to sell them besides road. The passers-by were more than happy to buy the sweet fruits and soon their sales began to go up. The increasing profits pushed them to make this bigger and more organized and this is when Ghoomar came into existence in the Bhimana-Nana, Rajasthan.
How would four women selling custard apples by the roadside think of building their own company? Well, profit does things to you. They began adding more tribal women to their occupation and the rising profits took shape of a company.
They allotted the responsibilities, including taking care of the forest, among the women which started raking in huge supply of seetaphal that they began selling at the national-level through their company. This attracted big ice cream companies of the country and they began buying custard apples directly from these tribal women. Such spurt in the business reflected in their bottom line and they were clocking an annual turnover of over Rs 1 crore.
Growing profit and a firebrand company was not all. Sanjee Bai, one of the key operator of the company, says they have also opened a custard apple processing unit by investing Rs 21.48 lakh. The unit is completely managed by tribal women of the area.
Looking at their endeavor, the government also began to help them and offered them a seed capital for the business. Everyday, around 60 to 70 quintal of custard apples is processed and 60 women workers are working in eight collection centers near their homes and are getting standard wage of Rs 150 per day. This venture has been instrumental in alleviating the curse of poverty from the area as well as empowering women.
The tribal women say, “At the roadside, we used to sell custard apples for Rs 8-10 per kg which was only during the season. However, after setting-up of the processing unit, the ice cream companies are paying us Rs 160 per kg.”
This year, Ghoomar has around 10 tonnes of custard apple pulp ready to be sold in the National Market. This will push their turnover to cross the Rs 1 crore-mark. They founders of the company say in the last two years, they have sold 10 tonne of custard apple pulp.
The tribal women proudly say, “We have seen these fruits getting wasted from our childhood. We always thought that something can be done with these delicious bounty. Then an NGO came forward to help us form a group and gradually our business has grown into its current stature. Other women also got involved with us after seeing the profits we were making and we never looked back.