The best day in Ahmedabad was, by far, the day we visited Rudiben in their homes. We had the opportunity to meet and interview six Rudiben. We learned their stories and how Rudi changed their lives. In the rural villages of Gujarat, women do not have much opportunity for income generation beyond embroidery and agricultural work. Not only is this work inconsistent but also only provides a minimum income of around 1000 Rupees a month, which is not enough.
The women we met knew they needed to pursue other work to improve their lives. Rudi is Avon for spices, sugar, and grains in India. A Rudiben sells spices, grains, and sugar door-to-door receiving 10% commission. Becoming a Rudiben enables a women to take control of her future because she has the opportunity to make anywhere from Rs. 2,000-25,000 Rupees a month. This money is life changing; with the income, a woman can afford to build a proper home and send her children to school. Moreover, the work gives the women independence and confidence which can be difficult to achieve in rural India.
For many of the Rudiben, they have a difficult time, at first, convincing their husbands and mother-in-laws to allow them to work as Rubiden. In traditional villages, it is not appropriate for a woman to work outside the home. However after their families see money they are making, they begin to support and even help with their Rudi sales. For example, one woman’s husband and son sold Rudi products at their factory. Rudi becomes a family business and improves all the lives of the family.
Over the next quarter, my team will write 6 case studies about the women we met and devise a training strategy to increase sales. I wish we could have spent more time with these amazing women who by their own volition pulled themselves out of poverty through Rudi. We had to leave India to return to school, but their stories will stay with us as we continue to work with the Rudi staff to determine the best training strategy.