Women on Wings, in partnership with Coca Cola India, organized a CSR Seminar on 16th September which also marked its 8th Anniversary. With almost 50 guests, the Seminar tapped on today’s CSR, looked for ways to improve it and create involvement of corporates, NGO’s, social ventures and implementing organizations.
Success story of a social company
Ms. Sumita Ghose, Founder and Director of Rangsutra Crafts, shared her journey of becoming a social entrepreneur in 2000, believing there was a market for products handmade by rural women. When Women on Wings started collaborating with Rangsutra in 2008, 700 artisans were connected. Ms. Sumita Ghose: “When I needed working capital in those days, no bank would give me a loan. So I decided to give out shares. One thousand artisans bought shares of 100 rupees, enabling me to continue the business. Today, these shares have a value of 500 rupees. One of the artisans told she has the certificate framed in her house and that she would never sell it as it is the only thing she owns herself, for everything else is her husband’s or in-law’s. She said it made her extreme proud and gave her self-esteem and that she worked not only with her hands, but also with her head and her heart.”
Today Rangsutra has 3,000 artisans, of which 70% women. It’s still working from the heart but using its head too and sees its business expanding, both in the domestic and international market, delivering to IKEA, the world’s largest home furnishing retailer. Women on Wings has been working with Rangsutra on issues like branding, exporting, communications, management and organization.
How to create a larger impact
In a panel discussion led by Supriya Kapoor, Senior Business Consultant at Women on Wings, we looked for answers how to balance the head and the heart in the collaboration between corporates, NGO’s and social enterprises. Panelists Neelima Khetan, Director CSR & Sustainability at Coca Cola India, Sumita Ghose (Rangsutra), Vidya Shah, CEO at Edelgive Foundation and Ronald van het Hof, joint Managing Director at Women on Wings India, shared their views on how we can transform the social sector. The audience participated in asking questions and sharing own experiences and opinions.
Ronald: “We concluded that corporates should work on their CSR not from a strategy paper, but it should become part of their business DNA. And that there’s no harm in working more from a business perspective for NGO’s and social enterprises. They can, without losing their social cause. We truly believe that by bringing more balance in working with ‘the head and the heart’, we can create an even larger impact.”
Celebrating 8th Anniversary
After the official program, Ellen Tacoma and Maria van der Heijden, founders of Women on Wings, invited all guests to join them in celebrating their journey of 8 years co-creating jobs for women in rural India. They expressed a warm thank you to Coca Cola India for hosting the CSR Seminar, the Women on Wings team in India and all guests who took the time and effort to join in the discussions on today’s CSR. Jointly, we can bring positive change to the social sector.