Empowering Individuals: story of a Humanitarian from Goa

Anchal Payyar selflessly provides free education to women and children along with running her 99 value store in Panjim, Goa.

It’s when you’re acting selflessly that you are at your bravest.‘- Veronica Roth. It’s very rare to come across individuals who selflessly give. Anchal Payyar is not only a successful entrepreneur, but a humanitarian in its truest forms. Travelling extensively within India and parts of Africa, she has empowered women and children by educating them, free of cost. Her interest in African artefacts has helped the community immensely. 

Being a woman who holds many responsibilities in her life, Anchal manages to do small acts of kindness with grace and compassion. There exists a lot of negativity in the world according to Anchal, and even the smallest display of positivity can make a difference.

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Entrepreneurship comes easy to this woman, setting up her 99 value store in the city of Panjim and gathering a huge customer base. She strongly believes that:

The first move a woman makes either defines her or breaks her.

She has successfully made decisions with this thought in mind and there is no looking back for her. At Goan Insider, we spoke to Anchal Payyar regarding her journey till date. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you do your schooling and further studies?

I am Anchal Payyar. I was born and brought up in Pune. I completed my schooling and graduation from Pune, majoring in Psychology & French. I went to pursue my undergraduate and masters degrees from the United States. 

You had to relocate due to your Husband’s projects. Was it easy and how did you cope?

My husband had a project in India and India being home for me, it wasn’t difficult. But we travelled extensively to various villages in Maharashtra and we also self-taught ourselves Marathi to interact with the local villagers. While my husband would be busy on sight, I often spoke to the children and women and realised how willing and keen they were to learn English. So I would take a lot of books and stationery for them which was so exciting. They learnt eagerly and it was an absolute pleasure to see the results. Our project was completed in 2015. My dream is to build a school and offer free education to the children of the village. The projects we completed there stands as a testimony of our passion and hard work. 

You are a well qualified professional. What inspired you to travel and provide free education to women and children, especially in villages?

The desire to teach and offer my skills to empower women and children brings me immense happiness. It’s my own small way of sharing and contributing to make this world a happier and peaceful place to live. I strongly believe that education changes lives from dependency to independence of thought and offers a window to the world. This inspired me to travel and share my knowledge

You have travelled to Africa to teach women and children. What inspired you to do this and how did you manage to teach considering cultural and language barriers?  

My husband was an ex polo player. He played polo for many years in Africa and I absolutely fell in love with the land and its people. Africa has a soul of love, music & heart. It wasn’t very difficult to start teaching as there is such a dearth of good education especially to the lower strata of society. To beat the language barriers I had assistance from the locals. 

Anchal Payyar Teaching Africa
Anchal Payyar at a teaching centre in Africa

Which are the African countries you have travelled to, to teach?

I’ve travelled to the countries in east, west and south of Africa.

You play many roles, a child counselor, entrepreneur, business woman, teacher, mother and wife and much more. How do you manage to balance all these?

Fortunately my balance of different roles is completely supported by my husband, our son and my family. Every decision comes from trust and understanding which enhances every role I play and I give it my all from my heart.

What made you introduce African artifacts in Goa and how do you procure them? 

It was heart wrenching to see the utter poverty and bad conditions that the villagers of Africa have to deal with. The only way they sustain themselves is through their beautiful artwork. It dawned upon me that if I can play a role in helping them by introducing their art in Goa, it would really go a long way..We worked for months and customised using the best available wood in ebony and mahogany, African hard wood and many more, to ensure top quality and durability. We also worked with soapstone. We then procured our entire consignment and had it shipped to India which is an extremely costly affair as we also had to ensure the artifacts were specially packaged to maintain safety and damage control while it gets transported.

What’s your favourite thing about being a woman?

My favourite thing about being a woman is that I am a miracle of God’s creation. I give life on this earth and I have the strength to withstand whatever storm life throws at me with grace and a kind heart.

How hard or easy it is for women to be entrepreneurs? Could you tell us what your 99 value store is about and what makes it stand out from other stores in Goa? 

The desire and will to make your dreams a reality is solely dependent on you. The first move a woman makes either defines her or breaks her. Once you make that first move, there is no turning back.

My 99 value store is a paradise for me as it brings a smile to every customer entering our store. We personally attend to each customer and make sure they have a very pleasant experience shopping. Our products offer value for money and suit every budget without compromising on quality. We are located in the city of Panjim. 

What is in store for you in the future? Any advice you have for budding women entrepreneurs?

I see myself reaching out and giving my best in terms of business, education and hopefully winning the hearts of many to ensure that I’m always remembered in peoples prayers. Budding women entrepreneurs need to be strong and embrace kindness. These two prized principles will go a long way and help you achieve success. 

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