Aesthetic activism in the business of beauty: Anju Rupal
This is the story of how ancient knowledge and its wisdom can be applied through innovative, ethical business practices into life-changing empowerment for generations to come. Through the audacity of re-imagination this shift is happening.
Social awareness and responsibility has always been a topic close to Anju Rupal’s heart. Born in Britain to Indian parents, she began her career as a social worker specializing in gender inequalities. After moving to Switzerland, she continued her work by running a home for victims of domestic violence. Anju became an entrepreneur in order to balance her family life with work. With two pediatricians, she founded Swissmedikids, Switzerland’s first privatized walk-in emergency clinic for children and which now has two locations in Zurich.
Following this experience, Anju used her entrepreneurial skills to create Abhati (a Certified B Corp), which she envisioned as a revolutionary, superior-quality natural and active product range. More than that, the proceeds from Abhati are already reserved to solve a unique social problem that has largely gone ignored.
The combination of nature and science can be a powerful thing – and Swiss-made Abhati products are the proof of this. Ingredients for Abhati products are chosen for their purity, authenticity and integrity. Ingredients are native to the Indian Himalayas and Swiss Alps, creating a balance of East and West.
I think B Corps are, from what I see and meet, people with intentions, good thoughts. For me working with B Corps is more and more a goal. As a parent i want my children to work in B Corps.
When Anju first visited India at the age of 22, she immediately noticed the need to transform the country’s failing sanitation infrastructure. During her visit, a young mother beseeched her to care for her two toddlers while she sought a place where she could relieve herself away from public eyes. “This affected me deeply,” says Anju of the experience. “Something that we generally take for granted was something this woman wanted – needed – desperately. It should be something everyone has access to.” To make good on her commitment to her social cause, Anju has started the “Beauty with Dignity” mission that has Abhati committed to pledging 50% of its proceeds to the “Invest in Girls” campaign.
I wanted to make the West aware of the problem of open defecation and the sanitation issues around it. I also want countries like India to change and to educate their children about this taboo,” says Anju. “Abhati is more than just a product, it’s a way to impact people’s lives and empowering them. Through Abhati, we can help girls grow up in safer, cleaner conditions. And we’re positive that in their role as future leaders and mothers, their knowledge and increased awareness will be passed on to following generations.
Abhati works with farmers in the Western Ghat of India, the Himalaya and here in Switzerland.The women in India are not allowed to work in the fields during menstruation and lose one week pay. I’m changing such thoughts by slowly educating the necessity of women being able to work and trying to break such taboos. This are the inequalities I face, as well as girls not being sent to school. Being Indian I find it easier to navigate and talk with the farmers/parents as I understand the mindset.
Anju delivered an inspiring TEDx talk at the Swiss TV studio in Zurich on 6th November 2015.
The TEDx experience was incredible and I felt very honoured to have been asked to speak. It was a humbling and thrilling opportunity to share the Abhati journey. And I shared from the heart and hope to also inspire others under my title "Aestethic activism in the business of beauty."
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...and don't forget to join "TheNextWoman100" Innovation Summit, where Anju is going to be one of the many speakers.