“If you really want to contribute to women's empowerment, talk to the women around you - to women in your homes. Ask them what they do with their money. If you know more than they do, advise them on what can be done!".
Who is this lovely lady?
Apurva Mujumdar may be only 32 years old, but she has already made a huge impact as a practitioner and advocate for sustainable waste management. She started her career in an IT company, but soon discovered she had a strong inclination towards social impact and was meant to tell the stories of communities in need.
She strongly believes in the power of storytelling, and chooses to tell stories that she feels are important and to which she can emotionally connect. Growing up with parents whose job postings frequently changed, she felt uprooted many times, as a child. As a result she finds herself being drawn to narratives of people and places affected by development. “Their stories resonate with me,” she says.
Using her knowledge on solid waste management, Apurva motivates people around her to adopt sustainable practices and to manage their waste responsibly. She has dedicated the last 8 years to the social impact space and today delivers sustainable business results by working as the COO for CARPE | Ecosattva, a social enterprise working on solid waste management.
She has dedicated the last 8 years to the social impact space and today delivers sustainable business results by working as the COO for CARPE, a social enterprise working on solid waste management.
What does she like to do in her free time?
Apurva absolutely loves to read. She is happiest in the company of a book! She also likes to travel and has been solo-traveling to all sorts of places. She says the experience of solo traveling has become a significant and treasured part of her life.
She loves to learn new things and is always looking for an opportunity to inherit new skills. She has recently started learning ‘Indian Sign Language’. How cool is that?!
What are a first few steps an individual can take towards adopting sustainability?
Apurva religiously pesters people to take small steps towards sustainability. She knows it doesn’t happen overnight. She says, “You can’t rush towards sustainability, it has to be a step-by-step process!" She believes that one needs to keep an open mind towards people whose behaviours we might want to change and understand why the person is following a certain practice.
She believes that everyone lives the way they do for a reason and nobody is set out to live a wasteful life. By engaging in brief research and thinking through what you do often in your day, and how you can make it less wasteful - is a great place to start. For example, a first step could be as basic as figuring out where your recent purchase/product came from! How much waste did it generate?
What will be her first step towards women empowerment?
She believes women in India have limited access to financial literacy. Either they do not own bank accounts or have limited control over banking services even if the accounts are in their names. She says “Financial literacy empowers women to make independent decisions. Be it an emergency, unforeseen circumstances or unfortunate events, financial literacy allows an individual to rebuild their life on their own terms.”
At her current job, she regularly teaches financial literacy to the waste pickers who are one of the most important stakeholders in the waste management system. She ensures that each one has their own active bank account. These folks, in reality, have their own "kitties," which they use to lend and borrow money.
What does she love about Swara?
Swara offers her an incredible feeling, which she adores. Swara's handwritten letters are her favourite, and she never misses an occasion to buy from Swara. She enjoys the idea that every product has a narrative behind it, in addition to the comfort and personal touch she receives from the products. Swara has now become a part of her entire family. In fact, her whole family is hooked to Swara now.
Apurva discovered whatever she knows about personal financial through “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel. Reading this book pushed her to realise how little we are taught about the importance of saving and investing our money, and yet how critical it is to our freedom. We took her word for it and have included it in our Gratitude Hamper! We look forward to learning more about financial management with small steps like reading this book!
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Listen to Apurva's informative talk on the importance of sustainable waste management.
Thank you for reading.
Here's hoping your Wednesday is full of motivation!
EMPOWERED WOMEN, EMPOWER WOMEN