Luqma Kitchen is a training platform for women to find livelihood opportunities through cooking and food. As we reach the last phase of completing our training all the women have echoed the same thoughts .
“the past few weeks were so much of learning & fun for us that as we complete now we only wish we could continue coming here”.
Here are stories of two women who have been able to find a new life through this initiative.
Badar bides her time...
50 years old, Badar Unnisa ia a Widow. Previously, few years back, she used to run a micro restaurant locally , with her son, which got robbed. Due to which she faced severe financial crisis and never reopened the business again as she was in deep debt . Badar is also active socially,she worked in COVA (Confederation of Voluntary Associates) as a Community Outreach Worker.
As a skilled trainee, she now aspires to start a Catering business. Badar is the most motivated woman and is constantly innovating in the kitchen. Cooking for her is a pleasure & if she converts it to an income which she lost a few years back she will be an inspiration for all single women in the community
“ I cannot thank SAFA enough for the learning which I got here. Today if I become skilled, tomorrow I can impart the same to many other women who are helpless like me. I used to be like a lifeless soul until I joined Safa, I feel I got a completely new life. The Kitchen etiquettes that Chef Ashish has taught us are highly commendable. My parents never guided me the way Chef did and the way he disciplined us has helped us become what we are today. There is no looking back now. I want to help more and more women like me to come forward.”
Saleha's Puran Polis ...a business horizon !
Saleha is a divorced woman. Her husband abandoned her with three girl children and married another woman after 18 years of their marriage. Saleha was shattered as she had never expected this turn around and on being urged & supported by her parents etc she asked for maintenance of her children from her husband. In response he said he would give her maintenance & that she had to sign some papers . Since she is illiterate she signed a a few dotted lines & after a while she came to know that they were her divorce papers .The divorce was completed fraudulently by the husband by taking advantage of her illiteracy. She went into depression as her support systems had collapsed & she had 3 daughters to feed at home. Having no support, she began stitching to earn a livelihood. She used to earn 3000 to 4000/- per month from tailoring, which was never sufficient to run a house along with children's educational expenses. As her food was always appreciated at home she decided to turn it to her advantage & started taking up orders for a traditional sweet”Puran Poli”. The orders soon increased from neighbourhoods & word of mouth . She was doing well but started faltering on time delivery as the sales were growing . With her limited resources she could neither scale up her business nor manage her existing clients . She shut down her business last year.
At her home, her brothers never encouraged her to move out for work/job. We met her while we were doing Scholarships for Orphan children and requested her to join us so that she can follow her passion towards cooking. She is highly motivated and active in class. Saleha wishes to re-start her Puran Poli centre, with our support. She is keen to pick up on her old / existing clients, engage 2 more women from the batch and use the Luqma Kitchen facility and start her business .
“The skills I have been taught is new and so extraordinary for me. I never thought I would be able to meet a Master chef (Puneet Mehta) and also learn from a professional chef in these areas where we live. I am so happy that you opened this unit. I have so many ideas to do the cooking business and earn money and I wish to explore them all”
In the final assessment the women were asked to make a dish that they had never made before. The final lay out of over 21 foods left us spellbound as all of them had picked difficult & unusual foods from recipes on line using their brothers/fathers cell phones with their families translating it for them from other languages to Urdu. The dishes were plated too and for women who eat & serve in the vessels they cook in this was an immeasurable achievement.
Director Mrs Rubina Nafees Fatima said,
“The outcomes of this intervention have been extremely encouraging .We have watched extremely depressed women with low self esteem transform into warriors in the kitchen space !”
Going forward plan
We have identified foods that can be sold in the local schools & restaurants and intend to start on it this month .
The Kitchen products marketed by SAFA will be branded & registered
Food & related licensing will follow in November-December.
Health & hygiene are a top priority for us and medical tests are now underway for women from Zaiqa team .
As per SAFA s strategic plan all women under our Income generation plan will be organised into a producer company / SHG s and women from this project too will be made a part of it in the coming months so as to ensure sustainability of the work being done over the past 2 years.