Women’s Enterprises from Nadukuppam village go to Delhi!

Parvathy talking to Smt Maneka Gandhi, the Minister of Women and Child Development
Parvathy talking to Smt Maneka Gandhi, the Minister of Women and Child Development

Our intrepid herbal medicine expert Parvathy is back from the Women of India Festival 2016 in Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi: a ten day exhibition from the 14th – 23rd October organised by the Ministry of Women and Children to showcase women’s organic products across India. An invite-only exhibition, out of a total of 260 stalls, ours was the only one invited from Tamil Nadu. Here are Parvathy’s notes from her great Delhi adventure:

“It was a wonderful and challenging experience. I went there to showcase herbal medicine and cosmetics (Amirtha Herbals), herbal food and organic millets (Meera Herbal Foods) and spirulina (Surya Spirulina), all of which are produced by our women’s cooperative in Nadukuppam, set up by SEDAB in conjunction with the SLI. With seven big bags of produce, worth over 75,000 rupees, Selvi from Ameertha Herbals and I took the train – for two nights and a day. Unfortunately,  on the first day Selvi had to go back to Tamil Nadu, so I was left to negotiate the capital by myself. It was my first time in Delhi, and I don’t speak Hindi, so it was a real adventure!

More than two hundred thousand people visited the exhibition centre, and our stall was a real success, with over ten thousand people visiting over the ten days. Initially, I was surprised at how little people knew about traditional medicine – in Delhi, people only know about allopathy. They didn’t know names of plants and flowers, so I took pictures to show them. It took time for people to understand how our traditional medicines are different from allopathic medicines, and to educate them, I laid out samples of all the products on our stall and offered siddha consultations to our customers, talking to them about body constitution and how to take food and eat healthily, lose weight, relieve joint problems and so on. Gradually, word of mouth spread, and many customers came back several times, each time buying more products.

Among the many new friends and customers we met at the exhibition, two were very important in our success. First was the Minister of Women and Children’s Development, Smt. Menaka Gandhi: she spent ten minutes talking to me at the stall and enquiring about herbal treatments, bought some organic millets, and showed a real interest in our women’s products from Tamil Nadu.

The second was the Director of the Women and Children’s Development Department, Dr. George: he came to me with complaints about digestion, and after I gave him one remedy to try that night, he came back the next day with ten colleagues and told them all to buy it!

Parvathy receiving her commendation on stage
Parvathy receiving her commendation on stage

More than fifty businesses were interested in our products, including retailers, exporters and wholesalers. One lady who runs a vegan cafe in Delhi even asked us for recipes for her cafe – so now we want to compile a herbal recipe book.

The best surprise was at the end of the exhibition –  our stall was awarded 4th place out of a total of 260 stalls, and I was asked to give a speech on stage in front of all the other participants.

Overall, we made many new friends and business opportunities, and one customer even took me for a tour around Delhi! We have been invited for another exhibition in Ahmedabad from 24th to 26th December, and we’re all very excited to see what happens next. ”

 

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