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These 5 Women Entrepreneurs Are Fulfilling Their Dreams And Helping Their Communities In The Process

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

Adivasis and tribals constitute a population of about 10 crores in India. They mostly inhabit the villages and towns located near the forests of central, south, and northeast India. For long, these indigenous population have had little to no access to trade and entrepreneurship at a level witnessed in the metropolitan cities of India. However, the narrative is slowly changing as more and more women are connecting their traditional knowledge with technology and modern marketing skills to become entrepreneurs. All the while ensuring that as they grow, their community also prospers alongside. Here is a list of 5 such enterprising women.


Lipsa Hembram – Galang Gabaan

It is said that fashion changes every season, but sometimes, fashion can be the very change needed to uplift people. Lipsa Hembram is the brain behind Galang Gabaan, which has carved a niche for itself in the world of contemporary Santal saree manufacturing. This Santali woman from Odisha has brought about socio-economic changes among Adivasi communities through fashion. Hembram developed the idea when Lipsa’s mother complained about the length and coarseness of traditional Santhali sarees. To counter this problem, Lipsa launched her own brand of sarees. In Santali, “Galang Gabaan” means “creating something with utmost care”. Based in Bhubaneswar, the label has become famous over the years for its vibrant motifs and colours. It retails modern Santhal sarees in cotton, linen and silk to patrons across the country. Source: The Week.


Bijiyashanti Tongbram – Sanajing Sana Thambal

The indigenous peoples of India have always nurtured nature and have generated a treasure of knowledge over the course of thousands of years. One of the valuable expertise generated by the people of Manipur is the art of extracting fibres from lotus roots. 28 years old Bijiyashanti Tongbram decided to safeguard and promote this knowledge and established the Sanajing Sana Thambal which spins this yarn into scarves, stoles, and other apparels. The start-up is located in the Bishnupur district of Manipur which is a few kilometers from the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast region. The lake is famous for the lotus that grows aplenty. Bijiyashanti is looking forward to promote agro-tourism, which will be helpful in marketing the produce.


Aruna Tirkey – Ajam Emba

One of the ways in which Adivasi culture can be promoted and celebrated is through food. Aruna Tirkey from Ranchi is doing just that through her initiative–Ajam Emba–a restaurant that means “tasty food” in the Oraon’s people’s Kudukh language. The food is sourced locally and promotes the taste and flavour of the tribes of Jharkhand. It also gives employment to tribal women of Ranchi. Aruna aims to turn the restaurant into a brand and have many branches.

Phil Yoyum – Nature’s Boon

Yoyum is a graduate from Delhi University who launched her own brand of organic soaps to promote the natural goodness of plants found in the beautiful mountains of Arunachal Pradesh. Her firm is called "Route to Asia" which produced soap under the brand name "Nature's Boon". She promotes the use of aloe vera, lemon, orange, oatmeal, and goatsmilk in her products that do not have harmful chemicals. She has also experimented with cherry tomatoes grown in her own yard. All soaps are made by hand. Over the years, Yoyum has amassed a huge fan following through her facebook page. Her products are found at NE Departmental Store in Itanagar and in some other stores. She is giving employment to about 20 women through her initiative. Yoyum wants to see her brand grow and is currently studying a course on Organic Skincare Formulation.


Ruby Hembrom – adivaani Ruby Hembrom started the publishing house aadivani in 2012 to fill the absence of Adivasi voices in the field of publishing. Whereas Adivasis have always been brilliant story tellers and have carried forward stories in the form of oral narratives, the time was ripe to convert these treasures into the book form so that they can be conserved and disseminated. Therefore adivaani began to publish books on Adivasi histories and folktales. It has published the award-winning picture book Disaibon Hul on the 1855 Santhal Rebellion and Sylvan Tales: Stories from the Munda Country.

You, too, can help Adivasi women-owned businesses by doing the following:

  1. Search for them on social media and like their pages

  2. Share their products on your social media

  3. Comment on their social media

  4. Sign up for their emails

  5. Attend their events

  6. Tell a friend about their business


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