Pune-based Rupali Avdhute had grown up in Maharashtra with little education as a young girl. It was not easy when she had to work to make the ends meet. She used to work in a company where they had been trained to make junk jewellery using recycled products.

At work, she found several women with humble beginnings just like herself. She would occasionally talk about the idea of running a small business with them. Some of them wanted to change the future for their own families. A few years after she and her friends had been working together, they thought of going on their own and starting their own jewellery business.

Seven women joined hands to set up the group. Once the group started getting some orders and the business took off, others joined in and it has now grown to 12 members.

“We started with saving 200 Rupees a month, nearly two years ago,” Renuka said, talking about the humble beginning. She learnt English, picked up computer skills, even as she juggled with the education of her daughter studying in a government school. Over a period of time, she also learnt the entire process of export documentation, shipping and managing the inventory for the small junk jewellery making business.

The group of women were identified after nationwide hunt for entrepreneurs, supported by Coca-Cola and Jagriti Yatra.

Formal classroom training for teaching fundamentals to women entrepreneurs

The entire group now earns about 50,000 rupees a month and life has come full circle for the enterprising group of women from Pune. Encouraged by their mentors, Abira Creations, they are investing in education and learning and looking at other income generating activities.

Nearly 150–200 varieties of each design are being sold now through the online marketplaces, finding buyers in different parts of the world.

“We now have become confident and are very sure of ourselves. Our kids go to English medium schools and are now teaching us English, which is helping in our work too. We are now getting better at doing work online,” Rupali said.

Becoming computer literate has helped open a new world for their products. “We are undergoing training by Abira so that we can start working on computers by ourselves”, Rupali added.

“The group of women are now putting up their own exhibition in Pune and its suburbs”, says Priyanka Khandelwal of Abira Creations.

A new beginning for the may have already been made.