Let’s take a walk through the Happy Roots cookie factory!
At UnLtd India, one of the most thrilling aspects about working with social entrepreneurs is watching their ideas come to life; witnessing the action on-ground, watching their hard work transform lives and bring about the change that they envisioned – slowly and steadily.
We recently visited Reema Sathe (Jan 2018 Cohort) who started Happy Roots, a social enterprise that manufactures healthy food using local, farm-fresh ingredients. Formerly a chemical engineer, she is now a real-life, eco-conscious wonder woman!
From R-L: Reema Sathe of Happy Roots along with her coach Rachna.
Happy Roots works closely with nearly 15,000 local farmers to grow unique grains which are used to bake delicious goodies –handcrafted by a co-operative of trained rural women. Happy Roots partnered with the Nimriti Women’s Industrial Cooperative to set-up the bakery and give the women a platform to develop a new skill and livelihood opportunity.
During our visit, we interacted with Anita Petare, lead trainer at the Nirmiti Co-operative, who handles the baking operations at Happy Roots.
Anita prepares the dough for the cookies
Anita is truly inspirational. A survivor of domestic violence, Anita was part of the first women’s training program conducted by Happy Roots in Pune in 2017.
As we watched the cookies get baked, we got a taste of the livelihood opportunities and experiences that Happy Roots is providing to these women. They train local farmers and rural women such as Anita, and provide them with an environment of learning & empowerment. Anita shares with us that working at the bakery has given her an individual identity, strength to stand up on her own, and be able to provide her child with the best education possible. Although the work was extremely new and difficult at first, Anita is grateful for the support and hand-holding that the Happy Roots team provided her. She now enjoys the process and is proud to see a good batch of perfectly baked cookies.
Happy Roots procures the cookies and markets them on behalf of the women. With the new skills that they have acquired, the women have gone on to experiment and churned out their own cookie recipes. They sell these cookies locally to earn an additional income.
The bakery and the training program have been designed beautifully keeping in mind that these women have household responsibilities and need flexible working hours.
These sumptuous cookies are truly ‘soul foods’ in every sense of the term – good for the body as well as the heart.
Anita is delighted with her perfect batch of cookies
We were lucky to taste a freshly cooked batch of cookies straight from the oven. They are not only tasty but also highly nutritious since they are made from Indian indigenous grains. We can totally vouch for the fact that they smell divine!
Our visit to Happy Roots demonstrated that partnerships, although tedious, are truly fruitful. By leveraging local resources, Reema has been able to influence the whole geography and empower the women.