The pandemic has been tough on the economy and on businesses. Many people lost their livelihoods, but Covid-19 has not been able to crush the spirit of the people. From finally pursuing life-long dreams to changing professions for the better, some city residents have transformed their lives despite facing adversities.
“I had been working as a bank manager at one of the cooperative banks in Kalewadi over the past 10 years, which was shut down due to the pandemic, so I started my own business of selling sanitary napkins,” said 48-year-old Prashant Gaikwad.
Working to empower women had been Gaikwad’s dream and starting this business, helped his ideas grow. “I started my new business at Akurdi on August 15. I have always observed that women ignore menstrual hygiene especially in slums and even those who belong to middle-class families and use cloth instead of sanitary napkins. My aim is to change the habit of these women in order to improve their overall hygiene,” added Gaikwad who is also approaching non-government organisations and social organisations to promote menstrual hygiene.
Along with Prashant, his wife and daughter are now also spreading awareness regarding menstrual hygiene in Pimple Gurav.
Like Gaikwad, Vivek Temkar, who was unsure about his future due to the lockdown-induced unemployment, decided to start a chicken and mutton shop at Manchar, Ausari Khurd, Ambegaon taluka.
“I decided to start my own business instead of depending only on my regular job for a living,” said Temkar, who started the quality chicken shop in June. Suddenly, the days have become longer for Temkar as he starts his day at 6am and ends at 11pm. In the morning he completes his office duty as an engineer and from 3pm onwards, he attends to his shop.
“In our area many people had complained that chicken and mutton centres do not maintain cleanliness. So cleanliness is our top priority here and people have encouraged my business venture. I have been able to earn good profit over the last three months,” Temkar who works at Varroc Engineering Limited, Chakan.
His family had first objected to his idea, however, now all are onboard. “Business is business and if you give quality products, then people will keep coming to your shop without any hesitation. I will keep growing my business,” added Temkar.
Gaikwad and Temkar were guided by Abhay Bhor, president, Forum of Small Scale Industries Association.
“Bhor has always been there for guidance and he has helped many people start their own business during these hard times,” added Temkar.
For Vaibhav Hinge, the decision of leaving his profession turned out to be for the better, as his Matoshree plant and fruit nursery on a two-acre land – is now earning him profit.
“Due to cost cutting, my company terminated the contract on April 30. I had been reading that organic plants and fruits have a lot of demand in the city so I decided to set up a nursery and it is attracting many people,” said Hinge who started his Nursery on June 5.
People who love flowers have started making queues at the nursery.
“First I was thinking of starting a hotel but in our taluka, we don’t have such a nursery and since we have farms at our home, I took to the idea of maintaining a nursery,” added Hinge who worked as the project head at a cable line at one of the private firms in Chakan.
Earlier, Hinge had to work in various shifts at his company, but now he doesn’t have to travel every day to earn money.
Abhay Bhor, president, Forum of Small Scale Industries Association, who has provided many such people guidance, adds, “To overcome the current situation of unemployment, our firm is always pushing new ideas and innovation for the people and we are also creating opportunities for them.”
Bhor runs different forums to give consultation to unemployed people, women self-help groups and youth.
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