YR Gaitonde Medical, Educational and Research Foundation

Help someone in need keep her dignity and earn a rewarding livelihood


The ECO Kitchen team, in a series of workshops "Hunger to Hope", is reaching out to thousands of women in Chennai city who are looking to commence a new journey to financial freedom.

KATHIR is an innovative opportunity for disadvantaged urban women impacted by domestic/partner violence and in need of resources to care for people living with chronic and debilitating diseases. It helps them realize their livelihood aspirations.

The impact of KATHIR is manifold:

  • Improved self-esteem for women
  • Enhanced disposable incomes
  • A purpose to be mobile - leaving the confines of their household
  • Improved sense of empowerment
  • Supports education, nutrition and health for their children
  • Affordable, safe meals to the community

How can you support?

We solicit your financial contribution towards this cause. We will add 100 carts this year @ Rs 27000 per cart and seek financial support.

Item Description Value (INR)
KATHIR Kiosks 100 * 27,000 27,00,000
TOTAL 27,00,000

Your donation to this cause is invaluable. Please do Share this link with your friends. We gratefully appreciate every donation.


Geographic area and
population served

Project "KATHIR" is located at Chennai, India, presently with 8 million residents. As with any large city there is plenty of poverty.


"KATHIR" is a retail opportunity. It offers meals for resale. KATHIR is popular because it respects work-life balance: women are expected to work between 11 AM and 3 PM, MON-SAT. This reduces conflict at home and allows time for women to play other roles expected by their society. They earn between Rs 300 - 400 each working day.

The project will involve the following steps

  • Identify Potential Entrepreneurs

    The YRG Foundation has a rich and diverse experience of working together with communities in Chennai for over fifteen years. Through multiple counseling sessions, ECO Kitchen team identifies suitable candidates for entrepreneurship training from amongst women facing domestic abuse and other challenges.

  • Training

    As part of their initial training and throughout their association, KATHIR entrepreneurs receive instruction regarding food safety, nutrition, business techniques, self-imaging, communication, and numerical literacy and general health. They attend several contact classes, each no longer than three hours (considering their commitment to families), over a period of four to six weeks, addressing these areas.

  • Street Orientation

    Aspiring entrepreneurs require hands on training in business and retail skills. "KATHIR" staff will provide them a twinning opportunity with either a staff member or an established entrepreneur such that they are able to synthesize information and good practices.

  • Establish Selling Site (Location)

    The key to successful livelihood is a safe and rewarding location. "KATHIR" staff help the entrepreneurs identify suitable locations and where needed assist them in negotiating with site owners. Autonomy is key: therefore the entrepreneur should make informed choice about the location.

  • Provide the Start Up Kit

    The kit consists of the cart, food carriers (two numbers: one is used on Day 1 and the other on Day 2 and the cycle repeats), sign boards, plates, stackable seating stools for customers, garbage bin, garbage bags, water cans and cups, gloves, apron, hair restraint and cleaning materials. The items will be replenished on cost basis thereafter. The first meal is provided on credit and thereafter the entrepreneur pays for meals in advance for the following day. By paying for the food in advance and not being able to return any unsold meals to the kitchen, the entrepreneur enjoys the autonomy to demand QUALITY, TIMELY DELIVERY, AGREED PORTIONS and ASSURED LEVELS OF SERVICE.

  • Exchange of Experiences

    The entrepreneurs meet each other three times a year to narrate their experiences and learn from each other. They find this very important and helpful.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation

    A process and outcome evaluation team monitors the progress of the project milestones as well as the progress of each entrepreneur on weekly basis on three parameters: (a) days operated (b) average meals purchased/sold and (c) savings on weekly basis.

    The Kitchen functions as a central kitchen and delivers the food to the LOCATION free of cost. Similarly, "KATHIR" field staff collects the orders and the payment by visiting the CARTs every evening. This allows for understanding the unique problems on a daily basis. This makes timely solution possible.

    Since the YRG Foundation owns and operates the ECO Kitchen, to contain costs and maintain price stability especially in these testing times of food inflation becomes possible. Further, the entire kitchen production process is in partnership with the BETTER TOMORROW initiative of Sodexo India. Sodexo's legendary skills in production of scale and their commitment to food safety, as well as access to their training resources, ensures an inherent stability and sustainability to the project.

    The project is limited only by the resources available to train and induct entrepreneurs. We have a goal to reach 10000 women in 2013-14 and empower over 100 of them to reach financial independence as "KATHIR" entrepreneurs.

  • Timeline

    The project will add one hundred (100) entrepreneurs in the next twelve months. Each of the steps above will occur each month, such that monthly accrual of new entrepreneurs will average to 5-6 per quarter.