The Women of India – Radhika Kumari

Radhika is a product of Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer and an English Literature graduate from Delhi’s St. Stephens’ College. Radhika has been channeling her professional energies into the field of rural development for the last decade. She has focused her work on developing programs on poverty alleviation and non-farm livelihood enhancement. This responsibility implies providing non-agrarian skill development to several artisans below the poverty line and thereafter linking them to mainstream niche markets with a systematic understanding of market dynamics. Not only does such a strategy ensures sustainable livelihoods for the disadvantaged but also equips them with the agency to determine their equation with the market. Apart from ACCESS, Radhika was earlier associated with Helpage India, headed the Marketing and Business Development for ‘A different India’ and was a consultant to the Government of Rajasthan on Urban slums. She free-lanced with various not for profits and NGOs in between. After having spent many years in Delhi, she is now based in her hometown, Jaipur.

1. Who you are you?

A traveller, an extrovert, a dreamer , a busy bee , a mother.

2. What inspired you to create your business/NGO?

I have not created my own NGO, but instead supported / worked with organizations who share the same vision and belief as my own and helped them scale up . Personally for me, I have had the luxury living in metropolitan cities and at the same time not losing my connect to rural India and hence developing a good understanding of both. I believe this can be the key to bridging the gap and help create sustainable businesses.

3. An anecdote which epitomises your India?

I travel a lot for work. Many a times in the interiors of India. The inborn warm hospitality the people have, always ensures a flurry of refreshments offered. I generally choose to drink tea as its safest because the water is boiled. One day writing about it, I realized I’ve had tea made with milk, with goat’s milk in some places, with camel milk in Rajasthan , exquisite black silver tip tea amongst many in Assam , tea with butter in the upper Himachal and so many others served in a variety of ways- sometimes in earthen cups , sometimes in the saucers , many a times in tiny tiny paper cups and sometimes in lovely bone china . To me this epitomizes my country- like the concept of the well-loved tea, its has one common thread running across but so many weaves in it because of the varied cultures present here that it ends up a beautiful gorgeous pattern.

4. One thing that you can’t live without?

Strong coffee early in the day. 5. One thing that you hate?

Mosquitoes!

6. If you could change one thing about India what would it be?

Better opportunities for women.

7. Who is your greatest inspiration?

My grandmothers who had the opportunity to see India through its many stages and still be brave enough to accept and embrace the change so gracefully.

8. What is your favourite quote?

Be the change.

9. I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?

The mobile phone revolution.

10. What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years ?

Unemployment and social stability.

11. Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?

South of France.

12. What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?

Can’t think of any place I disliked so much.

13. Book or Movie?

Always the book.

14. I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?

Kachori.

15. In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year old self?

Go backpacking- it’s the best way to see a place.

Indian Experiences met Radhika through the Pink City Rickshaw Co which we now support as one of out prefered NGO’s: http://www.indianexperiences.com/preferred-partners/experiences/ngo-experiences/pink-city-rickshaw-company/ 

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