YRGaitonde Medical Educational&Research Foundation

The YR Gaitonde Foundation (YRG Centre for Aids Rehabilitation and Education) is a non-profit organization based in Chennai, India. It mission is to prevent new HIV infestions and to assist those living with the infection to live with dignity, by providing care, support and/or education about HIV and its prevention.
Sep 23, 2014

Street Food that tastes like Home Food!

An entrepreneurial couple and owner of a cart
An entrepreneurial couple and owner of a cart

The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India and Bangladesh, about her recent visit to YRGaitonde Medical Educational&Research Foundation.

Ever heard of an NGO that creates entrepreneurs and is environmentally friendly? The Eco-Kitchen model really blew my mind as it is one of the most different models I have seen throughout my travels. It’s a model that all about enablement, where the NGO takes the work out of the cooking and enables entrepreneurs to sell and earn extra income in a really short period of time. 

I visited two cart owners, who proudly showed off thier cart as well as the food. Their customers seemed to love the simple, healthy, home style cooked meals at a very competitive pricepoint. The couple in the first photo, spoke about how the extra revenue really helped to make ends meet and the work is not so strenuous so its something they can easily do for a few hours at lunch everyday. From the second entrepreneur, I got her opinion on the food business, where her customers come from and if she thinks that the price is competitive. She was really impressive, as she was able to give an overview of her customer base and what they look for when they come down for lunch. After all, it is up to her to bring in customers and sell at least 30 plates a day. She definitely looked like she knew what she was doing. 

Finally, the tour of the actual kitchen where the food is produced was equally impressive. All of the fuel for cooking is made with bricks which was made with organic matter. Large drums for food preparation, a staff dedicated to taking orders, inventory management, and delivery was working throughout the day as part of a well oiled machine.  I even got to taste some of the food from the kitchen and it was yum yum yum! 

Customers enjoying a filling meal
Customers enjoying a filling meal
I get a lesson on the food business
I get a lesson on the food business
Biodegradable fuel for a burner
Biodegradable fuel for a burner
Inside the Eco Kitchen: Managing grains
Inside the Eco Kitchen: Managing grains
Inside the Eco Kitchen: Cookers for meals
Inside the Eco Kitchen: Cookers for meals
Aug 14, 2014

Celebration of entrepreneurship

We are progressing, albeit slowly, towards resources to support 100 entrepreneurs.  We are delighted to acknowledge our donors who have continued to pledge support and committed to monthly giving. The journey however is far from over and we hope to reach our goals in the next six months.

The entrepreneurship program had surprise visitors in the last three months. Visitors from Copenhagen School of Business, Denmark and the Business School of the National University of Singpore, who expressed their interest in writing a case study about the project. 

Also, the ECO Kitchen is now part of a collaboration established by the Anna University, Chennai, to explore needs of children in Chennai city and to develop suitable strategies and products that would boost their health status.

The project plans to establish a training centre in Chennai for entrepreneurship development with special focus on KATHIR and for building supply chain for the production. 

We will be featuring in the America Tamil Medical Association conference (August 2014) at Washington, DC as a project of note from Tamil Nadu.

It has been very fulfilling few months and indeed a celebration for the spirit of entrepreneurship :)

Links:

Feb 26, 2014

Progress until December 31, 2013

Kathir's core philiosophy is to provide resources and skills; create markets; and strengthen product range on sale. We could not as hoped significantly increase the number of entrepreneurs in this half year (July to December 2014), however we made significant strides supporting the existing entrepreneurs and improving the product range.

The readers will recall that the project set a fundraising goal of 100 carts (40000$) and has until date raised a little less than 22000$. By augmenting community donations we have as on date supported over seventy entrepreneurs,and the project is still hopeful of reaching its desired target by end 2014.

In October 2013, a series of workshops conducted in partnership with several non profits in Chennai city allowed us to address 4270 individuals of whom over 200 were identified for second level entrepreneurship training. 49 individuals have been selected for the KATHIR opportunity and they await required resources to establish the franchise. In the meanwhile we have enhanced the product range, introducing a delicious and nutritious vegetable rice, which has not only increaed the total sale volume for the entrepreneurs but has also created a new market: take away.

During the year 2014, we are proposing to establish a new opportunity - KATHIR CAMPUS - that allows individual entrepreneurs to set up a food service business within small offices and pantries, on exclusive basis. 

Your support is more critical than ever for the entrepreneurs in waiting. Please view our updated page on details of how this project works at http://www.ecokitchen.org/eco/kathir.html

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