I am a Rajasthani Brahmin raised in Hyderabad – a chef by profession. I have hosted 2000+ cookery shows for south Indian television channels. I write food related articles for different magazines and papers and am a food stylist. I run a cookery school by the name of Chef Ruchika’s Culinary School. We do kitchen training programs for the Indian Air Force, Indian Army, National Police Academy and MCEME, and also provide culinary services to them as and when required. We do team bonding activities in corporates like bake shows etc.
Giving a new dimension to my culinary career, I have run workshops in schools to enable mums to come up with creative ideas for preparing and presenting food for children. Mums know what kind of tantrums they have to face from their kids when it comes to preparing and serving food. I help them design menus for tiffin boxes so that they can serve healthy food, presented in a stylish way. Recently, I was part of a show for TV9 which addressed issues like preventing child obesity and malnutrition and discussed ways to prevent it. I have also done mother and kids shows aimed at increase nutritional awareness.
I was doing a Goldman Sachs course on entrepreneurial skills at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in 2012 when I had an accident. I was confined to a wheelchair for four months. Thanks to Dr. Mee Reddy of Care Hospital, Banjara Hills, I was put back on my feet with a five-inch screw in my left leg. I was determined to finish the women entrepreneurship course at ISB. I was overwhelmed with joy when I won the award for the best business plan!
While I was still recovering, the ‘never-say-die’ attitude within me encouraged me to do something which would have been a dream for someone confined to a wheel chair. One day I decided, even though it’s difficult for me to walk today, I will surely walk the catwalk soon! I started browsing the internet about various beauty pageants and applied for the Mrs. India Queen Contest in December 2013. I didn’t win the title, but won the sub title and was crowned Mrs India Popular among the 21 contestants. My happiness knew no bounds. Not bad for a first timer!
After appearing in few other beauty pageants, I participated in Mrs. International at Jacksonville, Florida in July 2014 and as a finalist won the title of Mrs. South Asia International 2014.
I started the NGO, Being Women, with a long term goal in my mind to empower women and eliminate violence against them, which sadly still prevails in our Indian society. I feel empowering woman is empowering the nation. In south Asian countries, women have always been the second earners of families, but now they are taking up responsibilities and even becoming the main breadwinner.
I feel it is of great importance for a woman to be financially independent as it boosts her confidence and helps her fight for her rights confidently. We work toward enabling women to gain financial independence. One of the steps we have taken is to impart skills to women e.g. we trained women in chocolate-making skills. The chocolates they made were then are sold at airport stores. We will continue to enable women to learn various skills and market their products in prospective markets.
While I was still recovering, the ‘never-say-die’ attitude within me encouraged me to do something which would have been a dream for someone confined to a wheel chair.
When was the Being Women established?
Being Woman was recently launched in November 2014
Which cities are you operating from?
Currently we are operating from Hyderabad, however, we have plans for expanding our operations to different parts of the country. We are trying to coordinate with other NGOs so they can join hands with us, be our ambassadors. We are just the beginners with great aspirations!
Are you currently running any special initiatives?
I recently promoted a 16 day ‘orange hood’ drive – an initiative by UNO to eliminate violence against women. We visited various colleges, universities and corporates to create awareness. We conducted workshops to teach different techniques of self-defence to women. We ran a campaign to eliminate violence against women. It’s a bitter truth that violence against women exists in our society and we have to unite and fight back.
Recently, the Telangana Government conducted an event related to World Aids Day. Being Woman was honoured to be a part of this event.
How do you fundraise?
We are supporting ourselves as of now but we do plan to conduct a few activities which will help us raise funds for our NGO.
How can others help?
Volunteers are most welcome to join us in this noble cause. Interested people can become executive members of committee. Interested donors can even donate to our charity.
I started the NGO, Being Women, with a long term goal in my mind to empower women and eliminate violence against them, which sadly still prevails in our Indian society.
Who are the faces behind Being Women?
My mother, Mrs. Lalitha Sharma is the secretary of Being Woman. Mrs. Megha Banker is the Vice President. We are also looking to expand our team.
For more information visit:
Being Women: Facebook
Website: http://beingwomen.org.in/ (under construction)
Tel: +91 9246205224