Image © Trade Aid.
These have got to be the yummiest poppadoms I’ve ever eaten.
Seriously. I first tried them yesterday. They are like little crispy warm blankets, toasty, flavourful, yummy like hell… more addictive than chips.
What adds to my appreciation of these is the knowledge that they’re made by Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, an amazing group of 40,000+ women in India. (‘Lijjat’ means tasty, ‘mahila’ means women, ‘griha’ means home, ‘udyog’ means industry.)
Originally started in 1959 by 7 semi-literate Gujarati housewives, this is a group of hardy women who have navigated all sorts of challenges ranging from the general secretary of a trade union trying to interfere in their affairs, to fake Lijjat poppadoms being circulated in the market…… not to mention the challenges surrounding poverty, gender discrimination, violence etc that affect many women in India!
Presently, Lijjat aims to empower women by providing them with employment opportunities. They run their business and cooperative system through 60 autonomous branches; their ‘sister-members’ as they call each other all have a right to vote on business policy. Lijjat also coordinates free transport, eye tests, health education and literacy programmes for its members.
What I find remarkable too is that no machinery is used at production level in accordance with their aim to generate self-employment for women!