“The Journey of A Woman Entrepreneur and Her Wheelchair”

“Determination towards your passion will help you succeed”. In conversation is Sagarika Nanda, a 52- year-old lady and the owner of Risaka soaps and products. She met with an accident in 2005 and lost the ability to move her legs. But that didn’t stop her from achieving her dreams.

Sagarika hails from Hyderabad, India. She started her journey by being a social worker in the same company where her uncle was an employee. Her life turned upside-down when she met with an accident. Due to this, she went through a spinal cord surgery and endured unbearable pain. A wheelchair for all your life is stressful.

How did you make this super amazing comeback then?
“Well, it couldn’t have been possible without my family, specially my uncle. He forced me to go outside and see the world. Umm... I was afraid but then things turned out very well for me. People in the company supported me”, said Sagarika remembering old times.
She also added that her son wouldn’t eat the food made by her maid. This was another factor which made her grow and she started trying to cook. Everyday was like a challenge to her and soon she got back to her normal routine.

When and How did the journey of Risaka started?
Sagarika said, “My daughter and son-in-law love handmade soaps. Whenever we used to visit Australia, they offered us these soaps. There was one workshop too on soap artistry. My interest towards this art grew. I came back and enrolled myself in NIRD (National Institute of Rural Development) which is responsible for making people self-employed.”
Initially, Sagarika used to make soap for her daughter, sister, and close relatives. But then Risaka happened, she now sells products under this name. Her uncle saw potential and joined the company too.

What’s with the name ‘Risaka’ and tell us more about its products?
“(Haha) Earlier, Risaka was only ‘Rika’, which originated from my name. But then we got know that there’s already a company named as Rika. So, we added ‘sa’ and made it ‘RISAKA’. Talking about the products of Risaka, they are 100% handmade and natural”, stated Sagarika in excitement.

She also talked about how the soaps are made. First using a cold process, she transforms natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, goat’s milk, herbs, oxides, and clays into bars of soap. “The soap bars are sulphate and paraben free. Essential oils give each soap a pleasing fragrance”, Sagarika added.
She sells them to her friends and family. Sagarika talks how her family has been her constant support like a pillar.

Sagarika remembered her award-winning times, “I have been made the President of Women’s club. Apart from that, I have been awarded by various clubs like Lion Club. I never realized that life would give me so many amazing opportunities. The obstacle in my life has been removed and destroyed. Now I don’t back out because of my illness. “

What would you suggest to other people who have gone through a similar dreadful experience like yours?
“The only advise I want to give them is never lose hope. If you are passionate about something, go for it. Never let your disability stop you from doing anything. Rise like a star and let the disability doom”, said Sagarika in a confident manner.

She also added that, “Family is your biggest strength and support. Without them, I couldn’t have done anything.” Sagarika is like a star shining bright in the sky. Her story is truly inspiring and motivational. Kudos to you Sagarika!!

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