The first introduction to new customer Avani is showing substantial growth opportunities for jobs for women in the Himalayan mountain region. The founders have a healthy growth ambition and understand that things need to change, without violating the principles of Avani.
Avani started fifteen years ago. Rashmi and Rajnish, a passionate couple from India, started this business with a view to creating jobs and improving living conditions of the population of more than a hundred mountain villages. Step by step they developed Avani into a community with a large number of employment generating activities for over 1,000 women in the villages, while operating 100% eco-friendly. The women spin, weave, knit and sew. In the densely wooded surroundings they collect and burn pine needles for electricity generation. They also gain solar energy, they develop natural dyes for cosmetics and yarns and they grow vegetables.
Women on Wings experts have worked a week with the management of Avani in May. Rosalie van Ruler Thaker, Deepika Sharma and Ronald van het Hof visited one of the spinning and weaving production units, to get a good understanding of all activities.
Rosalie: “We had to walk two kilometers downhill to the village where women work in the production unit. The women are proud of what they do and happy with the better life they have thanks to their work. The women themselves have helped to establish the unit. And, as a group, are shareholders. It was very inspiring to see how enterprising and resourceful these women are. No mountain is too high for them. It really gave me energy – exactly what I needed to make the two kilometer climb back.”
The experts mapped all the activities, processes and plans of Avani. Within the community there is an open atmosphere and a healthy sense of reality. To transform Avani from a real NGO situation to a business-driven organization, a lot must happen in the coming year. There is a sound growth strategy designed to contribute to the further professionalization of Avani. Which will ultimately result in a significant increase in jobs for women. This mountain region has, despite or perhaps because of the remote location, more than enough potential for growth.