This is the second in a series of success stories of women who have worked hard to get going during tough times. Instead of giving up, these women from a small village in Andhra Pradesh, India, formed a small business after the village was hit by a drought in 2010. Their story shows how resilience and hard work ultimately lead to success.
Chennai woman leads initiative for village to thrive despite drought
Agriculture is the primary income source for the people of this small village, called Paalaguttapalle Dalitwada, in the Chittoor district.
The village houses nearly 65 landless households and has a tiny population of about 200. Almost all the people who live there earn money from farming. However, they had to struggle after a drought occurred in the village in 2010.
Thirty years ago, Chennai’s Aparna Krishnan and her family had relocated to Paalaguttapalle Dalitwada. Aparna and other female villagers got an idea due to which its people thrived in spite of the drought. The initiative is led by Aparna.
She says, “A simple idea, a lot of skilled labour from the people of the village, and clever social media marketing have helped the residents of this community get back on their feet.”
Women form small business to get going after drought hit them
When brainstorming ways to tackle the economic challenges caused by the drought, the ladies got the idea of sewing bags by machine and also by hand to resume earning.
“Regardless of the task,” she explains, “men as well as women collaborate in the village.”
In 2016, several rural women began to stitch cloth bags. Aparna, with the assistance of friends such as Arun Kombai, a designer based in Chennai, and Sai Krupa, a photographer, made use of social media to build a buzz on Facebook and other social media apps under the brand Paalaguttapalle Bags.
Aparna’s acquaintance was the first to make an order for a hundred Paalaguttapalle Bags, and these bags are now in demand in India as well as globally in nations such as the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Canada, and Germany.
Paalaguttapalle Bags has produced over 70,000 bags to date, including 50 different types of bags including supermarket bags, conference bags with logos, totes, jewellery pouches, sling bags, laptop sleeves, backpacks, and gift bags.
They also make personalised clothes bags with company logos for businesses.
Aparna explains that she just advertises the products on social media; everything else, including purchasing fabric, designing, stitching, embroidering, packaging, quality checks, dispatching, and delivery, is overseen by a group of ten rural women.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the women also began creating masks and sold thousands of masks for a large profit. They also sell home-made pickles.
Working hard to support their families is what matters most to the women of the Paalaguttapalle Dalitwada village. The success stories of such women should inspire us all to work hard for success.
You can support these women through their website Paalaguttapalle Bags that has the tagline Sustainable Livelihoods for All.