Pratibha Singh, a Social Entrepreneur

A Teacher and a Social Entrepreneur, Pratibha Singh founded Rural Beat Enterprises in 2018.

After a successful teaching career spanning 20 years, and having worked in prestigious schools like Lawrence School Sanawar,  Army Public School, Lucknow, CMS Gomtinagar, and MAMS Raiwala, Dehradun where she was the Principal for 10 years, Pratibha decided to work in the rural areas of Sultanpur. 

In 2007 she founded Kshitij Education and Rural Development, a platform for Skill Development and Training, in 2018 Rural Beat Enterprises became the platform for Women to leverage their training and create income-generating opportunities. 

A catalyst for positive change at the grassroots she is committed to working for Health, Education, Employment, Sanitation and Welfare of Human Rights of Women and Marginal Farmers of Sultanpur 

RURAL BEAT ENTERPRISES

Rural Beat Enterprises is a collective of women from the villages of Sultanpur who have come together to work towards generating livelihood opportunities through sustainable solutions. 

Journey

Our journey started in 2010 when along with my husband I decided to return to our village in Sultanpur. We had started Kshitij Education and Rural Developments in Rishikesh in 2007and in 2010 we moved our base here.   My husband was a research scientist, specialising in antibiotics and medicinal plants. He was keen to set up good medical facilities in the village which led to a health centre in December 2010 – the first project under Kshitij in Sultanpur but God had other plans, my husband passed away in January 2011. I decided to stay in the village and continue the work we had started. 

Having lived in small far-out places all my life it wasn’t difficult to adapt to the village lifestyle & culture. Slowly, we set up our team of local women and recognising the scarcity, started emphasising work promoting women’s menstrual health management solutions. This led to Kshitij’s second project – a sanitary napkin unit here to provide suitable low-cost products to women in rural areas.

In our time here, I realised that the majority of the population comprises the marginal farming community which needed economic opportunity in addition to health – a need further intensified with COVID-19. This gave birth to our third project at Kshitij –  a program providing skill development to women associated with self-help groups. 

Why self-help groups? 

Most women in these regions, looking for income opportunities are a part of this NRLM scheme. We connected with these self-help groups under the MHM program and were able to successfully integrate them within Kshitij’s skill development program. Kshitij in this endeavour partnered with FICCI FLO Lucknow and CSIR CIMAP and has succeeded in addition to making Sanitary Napkins also conducted several programs including providing training to make incense sticks, Diya decoration, plantation of Lemongrass and subsequently to set up a distillation unit for Lemongrass. we also tied up with Tata Trusts to make sustainable cloth Sanitary Napkins.

How did Rural Beat come into being? 

As we progressed and expanded our outreach, we met with yet another hurdle when we experienced an absence of a platform for the women to leverage their training and create income-generating opportunities. This in turn gave birth to Rural Beat Enterprises in 2018. Rural Beat equips women trained through Kshitij and women in the marginal farming communities of Sultanpur by providing a platform to sell products made and produced by them.

OUR BELIEFS

We are a women-led initiative and believe in creating simple and sustainable solutions. Our core values can best be described in three short (simple) points:

Women do it better! 90% of Rural Beat’s team are women (we also believe in inclusivity which is reflected in the remaining 10% of the team) 

Source local. As much as possible, we source our raw materials from local vendors, artisans, and farmers and support our community. For example, the diyas crafted by the women are sourced from local porters. 

Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. Climate change is very real folks and we try to ensure that all our products create minimum wastage. A great example of this is our hand-rolled incense sticks which are made by recycling temple flowers collected from nearby areas. 

RURAL BEAT PRODUCTS

We are growing day by day and our product offerings reflect this. The Rural Beat basket comprises products that can be economically and sustainably made in the villages. Here is a list of our current products: 

1. Handcrafted diyas

2. Hand-rolled, charcoal free, incense sticks (made from recycled flowers) 

3. Cold-pressed mustard oil

4. Seasonal products include spices, seasonal pickles, gur (jaggery), sugarcane vinegar, etc.

As we continue to grow we hope to add more and more to this list through your support for our aim in bringing pure, fresh, locally made, and packaged products.

 

– Team Ws

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