Bhoipada is a remote village on the outskirts of Nashik. A tribal area, it has numerous medicinal plants and shrubs and its residents apply their traditional knowledge to treat numerous ailments. Jaywanti Devidas Bhoye, previously a daily wage labourer, has been making oil from the leaves of the nirgudi (five-leaved chaste) tree ever since she can remember.
However, it never crossed her mind that this seemingly mundane task could have some commercial value. A few years ago, she happened to attend a financial literacy workshop conducted by the Mann Deshi Foundation. Here, she was surprised to learn that her nirgudi oil could fetch her thousands of rupees.
“In the workshop I learned that there were many other courses I could take on how to market my product, interact with customers, and package my product,” says Jaywanti.
After the Mann Deshi workshop, Jaywanti tried selling her oil at the taluka market. Though she was able to sell only eight bottles, it was enough to boost her confidence. Emboldened, she took a loan of Rs 5,000 from the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank in 2019 and set up a stall to sell her nirgudi oil at a four-day exhibition in Mumbai.
Her entire stock got sold out within first two days and she made a profit of Rs 28,000. She couldn’t believe it! Adding that at the exhibition, she met many women like herself selling their products and earning a living. “That gave me a lot of confidence and I realized that I could also do well in business,” she recollects.
“For many years, my life revolved around my home and my kids. I had never stepped out of my village and had only heard the names of cities like Satara and Mumbai. When I visited Mumbai for the very first time, I was very nervous. On seeing this huge city and its people, I realized that the world is so big and our village is so small, and also that there is so much one can do in this world,” says Jaywanti,
She started taking more loans to set up stalls in various locations – each time doubling her sales. “I had a stall at the Nashik Panchayat Samiti market, a stall at the Mann Deshi Rural Mahotsav 2019 in Satara, before coming back to Mumbai in 2020. My strength and belief is growing with each step that I take,” she says proudly.
Apart from being an entrepreneur, Jaywanti has made incomparable and commendable contribution to her society. She saw that many women fell ill and died in labor due to dangerous and amateur operating procedures. She left her own child at home to attend a civil hospital training in Nashik. Educated only up to 9th std., Jaywanti has since carrying out 70-80 deliveries in her village using proper surgical procedures, and free of cost!
She is also part of a Self-Help Group (SHG) with 11 other women, which manufacture ecofriendly sanitary napkins and she regularly trains young girls and women in her tribal community about menstrual hygiene. Moreover, Jaywanti is also trained in mental health and has identified several patients in need of care of treatment for stress or mental ailments and directed them to hospitals for advanced treatments.
Jaywanti’s managerial skills on the home front compliment her business skills. The chores at home have been divided between her two sons and her husband, all of whom support her immensely. Whenever, she is away on business, her husband handles the cooking and her sons look after washing of utensils and clothes. She is thrilled that she can explore the country and grow her business! Jaywanti embodies the spirit of the women at Mann Deshi and she is an inspiration to us all.