Singhania Public School
Singhania Public School
Lijjat is often seen as the role model for rural women empowerment. Besides providing a medium for generating income-the organization has undertaken efforts to promote literacy and computer education for member-sisters and their families. An interesting factor being- only those women who send their children to school are given employment at the unit. The member-workforce use their organization to promote their families' welfare. In the Valod centre, an educational and hobby centre for rural women has been set up. Orientation courses in typing, cooking, sewing, knitting and toy making as well as other courses like first aid and hygiene are taught. The first ever pucca (tarred) road in Valod to be built and inaugurated in 1979 was with the help of the Lijjat’s Valod branch.
Lijjat prioritizes the financial and social welfare of a sector of producers that have traditionally been at the margins of the Indian economy – low income but skilled female workers. Although the sisters in each branch share the losses and profits among themselves, the system has ensured a steady income for its members with the additional benefit like bonuses- filling members with pride and a sense of financial self-sufficiency. Paying reverence to papad’s manufacturing tradition, the cooperative operates a manual production line (the wafers are still hand-rolled and dried within members’ homes, thereby ensuring employment for its members and keeping overheads low) that functions along the lines of a cottage industry. In addition to instituting quality in its production processes, the cooperative has branded itself within the niche market of enterprises that are run by women for the empowerment of women. The key element of the organization’s development is an all-woman membership. The only male workers at Lijjat are employed on a contractual basis for specialized roles ( drivers, porters, printers,etc). Further to its product branding, diversification and pricing strategy, the organization has relied on a wide network of local, national and international distributors and dealerships in order to enter the national, regional and global marketplace. Lijjat’s products are priced in a way that they are affordable for middle and low income customers. The cooperative’s trade name – Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat – encapsulates its women-orientated, quality-driven and traditionally rich business ethos. In English, Shri can translate as Mrs. or Ms., mahila as women, griha as home, udyog as industry, and lijjat as tasty.
During our field trips and research at Valod unit, one thing captured both eye and heart more than everything else. Dinesh Bhai is a paraplegic and is employed in the Label printing deptt. of the unit. Unassuming though he seemed, yet enjoying his work to the fullest- Dinesh' s inclusion in workforce is a testimony to Lijjat's compassionate and humane approach. He would have led a poor or sub-standard way of life, given his condition but Lijjat imparted dignity and a source of earning. Dinesh posed for pictures and merrily showed off his expertise in printing work. He bade a warm farewell till our vehicle was out of sight.