Their soon-to-be-launched portal will make available unique products, sold at a margin that will be used to fund livelihood programs for women.

Kalpavriksha shop and donate platform showing Meghalaya turmeric harvested by women
news Social Enterprise Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 16:07

Chennai-based Sethu Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, has come out with a shop-and-donate platform by the name Kalpavriksha. Their soon-to-be-launched portal will make available unique products, sold at a margin. This margin will go towards funding livelihood programs for women who are part of the foundation.

Sethulakshmi, managing director of the Sethu Foundation, tells TNM that the idea for Kalpavriksha came from its co-founder Janaki Kannan. Kalpavriksha is expected to be launched soon and will go live with one product. “We’re sourcing Lakadong turmeric from Meghalaya, from the Padma Shri Trinity Saioo’s women-led turmeric farms. These will then be repackaged and sold here on the platform,” Sethu explains. Lakadong turmeric is considered a scarce produce with very high curcumin value. Curcumin is a substance found in turmeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

One kilogram of turmeric will be priced at Rs 1,200. Over the course of the year, Kalpavriksha will source close to 100 such unique products including spices, varieties of rice, tea blends, and hair oil from women’s groups.

The women who will run Kalpavriksha platform are those who have had to go through difficult experiences in life. “We’ve got violence survivors, burn survivors who are a part of Kalpavriksha. In addition to packaging, the donation amount will also help fuelling their employability programs, programs that can help their entrepreneurial skills, and more,” says Sethu.

Talking about the other verticals of the Sethu Foundation, Sethulakshmi says, “Janaki also conceived Chetna, a program for children; and Alaigal, a program for women. We also have urban farming programs and other events and campaigns done to support the other initiatives."

“Alaigal is an exclusive women’s only program where we try and encourage women to take up skills that could enhance their livelihood. We give them financial literacy, roll out programs for driving, and digital literacy as well,” she adds.

With the mango season around the corner, Alaigal will start on a campaign for mango promotion. Fruits will be sourced from organic farms in Salem, Dharmapuri and the campaign will promote their products. Such monthly campaigns are also part of Sethu Foundation’s activities. “In April we will roll out the ‘donate a Ramadan kit’ program. A similar program will begin right in time for Onam and so on. The idea is to reach out to as many women as possible through the platform,” Sethu adds.

This year on Women’s Day, Sethu Foundation honoured working women from different fields including a corporation field worker, a post woman, a Dunzo employee, a dancer, an acid-attack survivor, and corporation sweepers.

As part of Chetna, children aged between 6 and 12 coming from working-class families across Chennai are enrolled in a learning program where they are taught maths, science, art, and crafts, music, etc. The curricula for Chetna was devised and developed by Janaki Kannan. “The idea was to reach out to the children who lost out during the pandemic so they are equipped both academically and in other activities. We have fun science experiments, art and craft programs, etc,” Sethu shares.