Fatima Rasool – Connoisseur in Kashmiri Jams and Pickles

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It was a gloomy day, the gloomiest of my life. I had never pictured this tragedy be falling upon myself and my innocent kids. What worse could it get for anyone!I had lost my husband to heart attack and now I was left with two children, a son and a daughter, to look after all by myself. When for many others it would have meant retiring into a corner of a life abandoned to sorrow and heartbreak,I had to start a new life, a new living; I had to come out stronger than I even knew I was. I always loved making jams and pickles. Everyone seemed to love the mixed vegetable pickle and the strawberry jam I made at home. It was only after the death of my husband, when my kids were still studying and I was in a dire need to find a living to support them, did it strike to me that I could sell this expertise. So I ventured out to explore avenues that would come to my rescue. This was when I met Hajira Begum and Mehfooza Bakhoi, both single struggling parents and we decided to come together in this venture.                                    

The first hurdle we faced was to arrange finances. It is still a challenging task. We pool in money from our personal savings for the raw materials. We make sure the fruits and vegetables are fresh. Our products are pure traditional organic Kashmiri recipes made from fresh ingredients and home–based hygienic processing. There is no use of preservatives or artificial coloring agents. Once the products are ready, we take them to the local retailers for sale. We have been following this process for over 12 years now but have not been able to scale up because of lack of resources and absence of a proper channel to directly be able to cater to our customers. Also, since we have not been indirect contact with customers, we do not get their feedback and thus have a very limited knowledge about the tastes and preferences and the current market trends. Our pickles, jams and masala tikis have received a lot of fervor,locally as well as in the international markets of Dubai and the United States.Lacking proper marketing and distribution channels, all we can do is send a petty number of products via acquaintances travelling to these far off lands.This is the biggest backdrop to an otherwise promising endeavor. All these problems hinder our efforts to cater to a larger audience.

With the help of Kashmir Box, we now see our long held dreams coming true. Through Kashmir Box we hope to serve a larger audience. The biggest breakthrough for us will be to gain recognition in the form of our own brand name, Sabz. To sell in our own name and to connect to the customers directly without the intervention of intermediariesis our long sought desire.

It is very important to keep moving in life. One needs to stay busy and involved and most importantly financially independent, especially if there are responsibilities to meet. At an age when most of the women give up and consider it as the termin us of their life, we have started a new enterprise and have new heights to scale.It’s never too late to learn new things or make a new start. If we could, so can you. That is the message we want to give to the women of the Valley.

To a healthy lifestyle , to natural living and  to a social impact

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