“Zindagi Certificate se nahi chalti, Kaabil bano Kaabil!!!! Kaamyaabi aur paisa zhakk maarke aapke kadmon mein aayenge”. This is a saying in the Famous Aamir Khans Movie “3 Idiots” which sums up my entire life profile in a sentence.
I am Sandhya Kini Mayenkar, I belong to a small town in Panjim Goa. I am a Graduate In Home Science. I am also a self taught home baker by passion. My Life took a u-turn after an early marriage. With no means to study further and Going with the flow, i took up a job in a private advertising firm to meet the ends meet. Soon my elder daughter was born. The next ten years went in looking after my child and home and juggling between home and 9-6 schedules.
After the birth of my second daughter, I quit my job to stay home as a full-time mom and take care of my kids. Lots of time at my disposal but no money to dispense. Sitting idle at home with no specific task at hand, I got depressed and frustrated. But my Parents and my husband were great motivators. My passion for food and cooking led me to start baking customised cakes and take food orders from home.
Social Media was a motivating factor to boost my enthusiasm and despite me distributing free techniques and recipes, I noticed no one could replicate the dishes what i would do. My friends and well wishers kept pleading me to teach them my culinary secrets. It didn’t take much time for me to start my own, SKM Institute of Culinary Arts where I began teaching my art to others. I saw that there were many women like me who wanted to stay at home to look after the family and children but also had the strong urge to use their full potential and their skills to earn an income to support their families.
My heart went out to help such women come out and stand on their own feet. I also realised that there were no such training centres in our city to help uplift poor women and girls to start their self business from home. My classes proved to be a turning point in their lives as well. Sharing all the practical knowledge that i had, also many women came up to me for counseling for their personal problems. All the guidance and training that I have been doing is by myself.
This has been my effort for past 5 years and I shall continue to do so in a long run. Currently I have been conducting various courses for the past five years and streamlined around 70 different courses I have trained more than 3000 students. I have also been training ladies with different courses , from basics of cake baking, icing, frosting, to making natural cosmetics and handmade soaps and other beauty products, making agarbattis etc. It makes me happy to see that many women and homemakers have started their food and other business after getting trained in my school.
I have also been traveling in and around Goa giving classes and to train rural women in self help groups into such skills that they can take up various orders from home for food and bakery items as well as make and sell homemade stuff. I have also been an active free lancing teacher to visit schools and train children into such similar workshops. Women not only from Goa but the neighbouring states too travel all the way to attend my workshops.
What started as a passion for cooking went on to become my profession. What was a dream became a reality and much more than that. All my students are my strength. They express appreciation, trust and love for my teaching. The SKM is now become a family of around 4000 plus students. The feedback, good or bad, helps me to grow. Many of my students have started commercial ventures from their homes. It gives me immense pleasure to see what I taught has been reflected in their work with an added value of their own special touch.
SKM caters to all levels of expertise and prides itself on the diversity of its cuisine. Elaborating on the latest feat of cosmetic making workshops, my next is the exciting series of natural and organic cosmetic making classes. I will be teaching people to make their own cosmetics and beauty products customized to suit their body and beauty requirements. What’s all the more fascinating is that all the ingredients that go in the making of these cosmetics come from natural sources from your kitchens! This is to do away with the harsh chemical loaded raw material available in the market. Such chemicals harm the skin and body, so one has to avoid them. Of all the ladies who have done these workshops, they have been successful in reproducing what I have taught them and they have started taking orders and selling in small quantities.
Cooking is not a mystery. Anyone and all can learn and master it. I give confidence to women. Sometimes I even give monetary help to poor ladies for their start up in their home business. I feel that ,teaching people how to earn is a unique opportunity. It touches people’s lives in such an important and elemental way. It’s like giving them a gift for life. They can practice these skills wherever they go on earth. As I believe that the way to someone’s heart is through the tummy.
Those who learn such skills can gain control on what is happening in their lives and help and share in the monetary matters. Even though I don’t have any formal degree in hand, I have been training many women with these skills in the past five year. WHAT HAS TAUGHT ME IN THESE FIVE YEARS IS SELF CONFIDENCE FOR MY SELF AND ALSO TO BOOST THE MORAL SUPPORT OF THE OTHER 3000+ WOMEN TO RISE OUT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLDS AND COME UP IN LIFE . . THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE IS TRUE WOMEN EMPOWERMENT.
Sandhya’s SKM Institute of Culinary Arts is a school for every women who want to stand on their own feet but still want carry out their duties from home and look after their family and children. I help women to start earning from home. That’s my main motive in other words….Women empowerment!!!!!!!
The second major achievement in Life Two years ago came when i stepped out into Business. A long pending dream of my father who is a successful businessman himself. With my father’s total support and guidance I ventured into Supermarket business and opened up a 2500sqft superstore. Since then there has been no stop. Each day is a learning experience by itself. From being a fresher into this line to climbing up the success ladder to becoming one of the highest rated supermarket in Panjim we have managed to create a niche in the hearts of our customers within these two years,as well as creating employment opportunities to local youngsters in these areas.
I would also like to mention here that I initiated a major Kerala Relief Funds in association the Panaji Legal Aids Cell and we collected tons and tons of Relief materials for the Kerala Flood Victims which was personally co-ordinated and sent to shipments in Karwar to proceed to Kerala Relief Centre. I would like to also mention that I have been a part of many cookery and bakes shows and have also been invited as a judge for many women related events.
*** Goa State President of Women Power Society. Conducted several campaigns for Beti Bachaao and Beti Padao in villages, Female Menstrual hygiene with many self help groups.