This husband-wife duo is helping young girls and Mother Earth through their start-up Vistaraku

The girls working for Vistaraku are saving for their own wedding or are trying to help their families meet their day-to-day expenses. In the near future, the founders want to employ more people
Making of the leaf plate | (Pic: Vistaraku)
Making of the leaf plate | (Pic: Vistaraku)

Every day, about five to six girls make their way to Madhavi and Venu Vippulancha's 25-acre Siddipet farm. These girls, who have completed either class X or XII, start their work by collecting the leaves of the Palash tree found in abundance on the farm, stitching it together using food-grade cotton thread and starch-based glue and then finally, heat pressing this along with food-grade cardboard. That's how Vistaraku's biodegradable leaf plates are made.

"Recycling has always been close to us and we follow it diligently in our community in Hyderabad. But we wanted to do much more and when the idea of Vistaraku occurred to us, it just stuck, especially because we could also empower women in rural areas," explains Madhavi who resides on the farm and, she believes, is making the most of her life. "We are lucky that we had no issues finding the girls. In fact, they approached us asking for work," says the 50-year-old former preschool teacher. These sturdy plates, which are quite affordable too, are delivered to Chennai, Bengaluru, Jaipur and even the US and Germany. The orders have been pouring in and now, their two sons are helping them design glasses and boxes too.

Madhavi and Venu Vippulancha at Istanbul where they were invited by Fast Company for a session | (Pic: Vistaraku) 

The path of this husband-wife duo was filled with challenges, of course, like getting the right machinery and even sourcing Siali leaves from Odisha, stitched by rural women there. It is after considerable investments that they are able to break even. Also, farm life is very becoming of the two, who quit lucrative jobs to do what they are doing now. Madhavi wakes up to the chirping of birds, goes for a walk with their dogs Rani and Muffin, cooks the vegetables sourced from their own farm in earthen pots — ah! the stuff dreams are made of. In the future, they want to turn the farm into an eco-village where people from the cities can escape to.    

Through Vistaraku, they also want to begin the sale of organic pickles, karivepaku podi (powder made from curry leaves and other spices), flaxseed powder and so on

"Overall, farming is not lucrative, but it is our passion that is taking us forward," says Madhavi who has pursued her Master's from Kakatiya University, Warangal. They also want to employ 100 people and start a small restaurant that offers organic and authentic recipes of Telangana. "I feel that after everyone fulfills their work in their cities, they should all get back to the villages and do something good," she concludes, putting in her two cents.   

 Their products | (Pic: Vistaraku)

The variety that Vistaraku offers
- Breakfast plates from six to ten inches
- Dinner or lunch plates from 11 to 16 inches
- Bowls from three to six inches

At work | (Pic: Vistaraku)

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