On the 4th of January, we organized the first ‘Enriche Bazaar’ where Solar Mamas from 8 countries and 3 Indian states set up stalls to take part in an ‘Exhibition cum Sale’ event. The objective was to provide a platform to gain first-hand experience and familiarity of the nuances of small business development.
At our Tilonia village campus, in the Solar Section courtyard, Solar Trainees showcased their skills in marketing handicrafts and cultural food items.
As co-curriculum to the Solar Program, Barefoot College Trainers also conduct a series of Enriche sessions, where aspects of Micro-Enterprise are discussed in ways that identify what skills and interests mamas may have. Figuring out the similar or substitute items available in their marketplace, incorporating different creative ideas using the internet and finally presenting the finished products. Other aspects like naming a business (branding), pricing strategy, labeling, packaging, customer feedback, market linkage, accounting etc are also discussed in class.
The market day went beautifully, apart from being a learning session, it turned out to be a cultural amalgamation where the campus staff got to see the diversity of skill sets the women posses. The hand crafted items in the bazaar included jewelry made from beads and sea shells, woolen items such as caps, socks, mobile pouches, traditional tapa paintings, tiaras, embroidered handkerchiefs, crochet items, hair accessories and weaved baskets. The food items included momos, assorted nuts and coloured popcorn.
Initially, the women were very overwhelmed and not confident in their ability to perform this project, however; the partnership approach we integrated into the operation encouraged and motivated them at every step. Shortly after the first few customers came we could see them proactively engaging and began to witness the confidence in their eyes.
Enriche offers comprehensive training in things like basic technological skills, women’s reproductive health, environmental stewardship and occupational skills. The programme’s foundation rests on three aspects:
- Digital: Technological tools are developed for specific use among semi-literate and illiterate learners from various regions of the country.
- Viral: Each woman trained becomes a trainer, actively participating in the ongoing knowledge transfer to others.
- Co-Created: Enriche is developed and delivered in partnerships with local social enterprises and NGOs.
With each passing semester brings a new batch of mamas, each with cultural differences and with them unique issues, however; through the collaboration of their input, Barefoot College’s resources and a vigorous ambition we create solutions and build the world we know is possible in our hearts.
“We are currently evaluating what profits were made, how much investment went in and an overall assessment of pricing strategy in proceeding classes. We will also discuss about what the trainees plan to start when they go back to their respective countries/states followed by a reflection session of their overall learning and experiences.
We thank the whole barefoot family for their support and encouragement, this has helped us incubate a seed of entrepreneurial spirit and for the women to realize their full potential.”
Nandita, India Coordinator for Enriche