Kolkata self-help group supplies homemade food to offices

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Kolkata, Oct 17(ANI): A group of women in Kolkata have got together to set up a group, which serves homemade lunches to various offices to earn a living.

'Aastha Bhojan', self-help group set up by around 32 women, caters food to IT firms in Kolkata.

According to Urmi Pal Chowdhury, president of Aastha Bhojan, the group was set up with the purpose of uplifting the under-privileged urban women who have been generally neglected.

"All of us had been thinking of the rural women, but there are lot of underprivileged women also in the urban sector. What about them? What are the options left to them. So, we thought why not make a group and instill certain things, inculcate certain things into them and then promote entrepreneurship," Chowdhury said.

Before joining the self-help group, women were given training regarding hygiene, packaging, preservation, customer dealing, transportation and serving.

Majority of women belonging to the self-help group joined it due to their poor economic conditions.

"My economic condition was not good enough so I joined this group. All the women amongst us joined the group out of poor economic conditions. Here we cook food the way we do at home and sell them at the IT firms. Whatever we earn from it, we divide it amongst all of us," said Rama Sarkar, member of the group.

Each member of the group earns between Rs.3,000 and Rs.5,000 every month on a regular basis.

The group runs cafeterias at companies like Tata Telecommunication, Exide, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), IDBI and Amity School of Business.

Besides cooking and serving skills, the business talent of these women has developed considerably, and the business is gradually turning into a movement with new groups being set up for the same purpose across areas like Hatibagan, Rajarhat and Keshtopur. (ANI)

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