Underprivileged women and girls in a small town in India will be equipped with vital culinary skills thanks to a lasting legacy to Maidenhead Rotary Club member and restaurateur Himanshu Patel.
Himanshu, known to everyone as Harry, died from Covid-19 in February 2021, aged just 58. The long-serving Rotarian had run a number of restaurants in Maidenhead, most recently Gourmet Chicken in the town centre.
More than £2,500 was collected in his memory and as a fitting tribute has been used to set up Harry’s Kitchen at the Aarti Home and Women’s Centre in Kadapa, a small mining town in Andhra Pradesh, India.
The charity provides a home and education for orphaned, abandoned and abused children along with running training programmes for women in its community.
A project close to Harry’s heart, Aarti is regularly supported by Maidenhead Rotary Club, and he had met representatives from the charity when they visited Maidenhead several years ago.
Following delays caused by the pandemic, Harry’s Kitchen has now been formally inaugurated.
A spokeswoman for the Aarti Home said: “With an aim to provide training to the women in the district, we have started training a batch of 30 women. In addition to training them in culinary skills, we are training them in various other livelihood skills like garment designing, basic computer skills, language skills, both local and English, starting a plant nursery, organic compost making, and housekeeping.
“By imparting these skills, these women will be able to become micro-entrepreneurs or can seek jobs in the respective fields.”
In addition, part of the half-acre site around Harry’s Kitchen has become ‘Harry’s Garden’, growing organic vegetables for the kitchen and to support nutrition and education about sustainability.
The organisers would also like to thank Shanly Foundation for sponsoring the event.