Mumbai is the seventh largest city in the world, roughly twice the size of Greater London. Major development is everywhere. When slums are demolished pockets of rough land appear and are grabbed eagerly by team after team of cricket players. They erect small piles of bricks for wickets.
One makeshift sports ground has been taken over by a large market, a temporary exhibition centre sheltering about 400 Self-Help Groups selling their products, food and spice, jewellery and other art, kitchenware, and clothing.
In the food tent, I talk to a Mumbai businesswoman who has dropped in for her lunch. She comes for the variety of food, for dishes not readily available in the west of India.
She knows about the Self-Help Groups from her husband who is a philanthropist. The groups have a strong reputation in India, she says, but it isn’t easy for the women.
She reminds me how long is the journey from thinking about joining a Self-Help Group to selling products at this huge market. Failure, as in any new business venture, is the norm. Getting through the first few years is the most difficult.
The products on sale here are of the highest quality, the work of skilled artisans. Skills that have formed through years of trial and error, gradually improved to the point where they translate into something that can be sold, into something people will queue for.