When I came to the city of Pune, 3 years ago- the number of people I knew- 4. My husband and my in-laws. Moving to a new town can be scary and unless you are the outgoing types- making friends and meeting people can be a serious issue! But fear not ladies of Pune, help comes in the way of a friendly Facebook Group called PULA where women are each other’s BFFs! A group which was started in only 2015, has now grown to over 62,000 members- the digital landscape has changed the way of communication for them. From Bazaar days to Gyaan to even advice and solutions, PULA embodies the strength that the gender carries inherently! Founded by Sonia Konjeti, a teacher, mother and a socialite, her online baby is a great place to meet like minded women!
So how did the group come together? The use of technology in this case is only in the formation of the group. It’s the admin members who keep the spirit alive. ” There were groups for moms and wives on Facebook. Also geographically every woman wants to feel like she belongs to some place and that she can rely for information, advice, solutions and make genuine acquaintances. Couldn’t find anything as such for Pune, hence I made PULA! The group is now 62k+ strong as of today. And to think I started it only 2 years ago in July 2015 with 300 members!”
These admins keep the group clean with its rules and regulations. And they are pretty strict about it too. Call it the “Google” of parenting, advice, school advice- everything that a woman needs under the sun. Sonia prides herself on the bonding created between the women in the group.
” There are dedicated days on PULA to ensure good participation and responsiveness. Besides that it is a free platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and get a 62k buyer database. Women share posts as informative pieces, some share personal issues to seek advice, some also alarm others of any incidents, occurrences to warn each other. Mondays are used to post matrimonial requirements, movie reviews, job opportunities while Tasty Tuesdays falls next day where recipes and useful kitchen hacks are discussed. Wed and Sun are bazaar days. Thursdays we celebrate as Gyani guruvar- this day sees a lot of experts in fields of medicine, law, astrology, etc. Friday is review day for PULA and non PULA businesses. On Saturdays the working women discuss their issues/ share best practices for corporate/ working women. “, Sonia adds.
Each month, there is a unique theme to cater to ladies such as a Kids Carnival or workshops for budding entrepreneurs. PULA associates itself with many social activities too. ” With the challenging dynamics of the platform- we avoid exclusive money collection and creating a mini NGO. However we support social causes by real time contributions for events like old age home visits, etc- to keep complete transparency. We have just started allocating amounts from our ticketed events towards a cause. “
But how does she manage a group of this size? The challenges are many and its an everyday process. She says, “do good and it comes back to you. Managing 62k with a small team is very challenging and sure there are many haters too. But it’s just an unproductive exercise to reason with trouble makers and change rules or the way we work. Hence we all believe in being kind yet assertive and disciplined to sustain PULA. “
The internet has been a big enabler for their continued success to bring together the women on a single platform.
” We are a live example for getting strangers to come on board by using Facebook. New friendships have evolved from PULA. Entrepreneurs have had considerable stable businesses today on the platform. Animal lovers, funny bones, natural enthusiasts, foodies, have met each other on PULA and developed relations that help their monotonous routines. Ladies who have left their friends & family in another city find solace and absolute amazing support through such groups. “
So what does the future hold? It’s a surprise, wait and watch this space for more!