At the Shivaji Stadium in Haliyal, the enthusiasm was palpable. So were the colours, the aromas, the buzz of the Karavali communities who gathered to celebrate the annual Haliyal Utsav. A year-end tradition since the last five years, the Haliyal Utsav brings together villages from the coastal areas of Karnataka in a fun fair that showcases their vibrant communities. This year the women of CherYsh Community Kitchen were proud participants in the Haliyal Utsav. The women proved their mettle in bringing together a well packaged and labeled collection of spice mixes, chutneys and pickles neatly displayed in the CherYsh stall. These women of substance were 100% engaged in the production, packaging and sales of their produce from the CherYsh Community Kitchens. Professionally trained every step of the way, the women are competent in sourcing raw materials, maintaining high standards of hygiene during production and packaging and delivering consistent quality in every batch. The aim of registering women to participate at the Utsav, was to infuse greater entrepreneurial zeal in them. It was heartening to see the once shy women communicate smartly, explaining the products to customers, making entries in their account books and tracking sales.
The spice mixes produced by CherYsh Community Kitchens of Mundawad and Jogunkuppa included sambhar powder, groundnut & fried gram chutney mixes, sweet-lime and lemon pickles, and nutritious groundnut laddoos. The produce was hygienically packed in 100, 200 and 250gm packs. The response was encouraging and earned them praise for freshness and good quality. Visitors to Haliyal Utsav were curious about the spice production units run by our kitchen women, assuming they were factories. The women explained the processes and their own involvement in the entire process with guidance from CherYsh.
The exposure, and confidence from making sales, has empowered women to participate in ‘santhes’ ( local market) and such community events in the village neighbourhood.