USHERING in the year-long celebration of friendship between India and the Philippines, nonprofit organization Indian Women in Enterprise (I-WE) recently launched a virtual food carnival, “Sarap India: A Taste of Togetherness.”
The showcase featured Indian cuisine from different regions of the country made with locally available produce. The four-day food carnival gave Filipino families and foodies a chance to immerse themselves further in Indian culture, as they got a taste of Indian delicacies.
“Food is the perfect gateway to culture. It offers the first glimpse of the traditions and ceremonies symbolized by special food preparations, and introduces the everyday favorite home dishes across diverse cultures,” I-WE Chair Beena Advani said. “Promoting Indian culinary arts to Filipinos, ‘Sarap India…’ provided a platform for local Indian food businesses to showcase…their delicious offerings, and at the same time, foster cultural awareness of Indian cuisine, [as well as] celebrate the long-standing friendship between India and the Philippines.”
“Organizing the online food carnival, within pandemic restrictions in-place, was an invigorating challenge for the I-WE team and even more so, because many of the vendors were first-time entrepreneurs with limited digital capabilities,” explained Managing Trustee and Project Head Smita Cherian. “Some vendor-partners needed technical and patient support to take pictures of their cuisine, and even create a logo for their home-based [businesses]. This is what made ‘Sarap India…’ a truly I-WE [experience: it fostered] not only enterprise growth, but also professional development of the entrepreneurs.”
I-WE is an organization and platform dedicated to women in enterprises in the Philippines empowering their entrepreneurial and professional spirit. In its March 2021 launch, Ambassador Shambhu S. Kumaran said: “The contribution of women entrepreneurs is going to be [crucial], as we build a forward-looking and dynamic relationship with the Philippines—especially in terms of our business and commercial links… Organizations like I-WE, which combine the efficiency of organizations and economies of working together, have an important role to play in the future.”
The Indian Embassy in Manila, Tourism Promotions Board and affiliate partners—including WomenBizPH, Workbank, In Touch Community Services, Philippine Center for Creative Imaging, supported the event, with other Indian organizations in the Philippines: the Indian Cultural Association of the Phils., Bharati Manila, Indian Ladies Club, India Business Forum, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines.