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Stories from Luqma Kitchen

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.

women cooking
Ms. Saleha & Badar in their favourite space, “Kitchen”!

Badar bides her time...

50 years old, Badar Unnisa is 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 the single women in the community

Badar expresses her gratitude towards SAFA as follows:

“ 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 could 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.

Sahela's words for SAFA

“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 have opened this unit. I have so many ideas to do the cooking business and earn money and I wish to explore them all”

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 transforming into warriors in the kitchen space!”

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