It’s been 8 months working in the tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh at one of the most remote blocks, ‘Rajpur’ in Barwani, which is situated at the border of 3 states – Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. When I started working here I was self – motivated because of a new place, new project and new experiences lined up. But recently, it has been hard to keep going. Knowingly or unknowingly, I was looking for positive energy and found people who inspired me by their hard work and patience. I was amazed at how they kept themselves motivated.
Is it the situations they are in, that make them how they are? If the circumstances are against them, how do they keep up the positivity and never fail to motivate others. It’s both tough and commendable at the same time. Here are a few such stories from my field area where I met some inspiring women. We continue to share our thoughts and creative wisdom with each other.
I call them SHEROES of NIMAR:
Kulmati Ramesh, Village Upla
Kulmati Bai Ramesh belongs to a tribal family. What makes her unique is that her thought process and attitude are way modern than most other women. I learn a lot from her way to approach anything and her courage is something I wish I had. She is a member of communist group “Adivasi Mukti Sangathan” formed by Madhuri Ben (a regional activists). Being an active member, Kulmati bai shows her concern at Panchayat level, knowing where and how she needs to raise her voice. She was also elected as the ‘Ward Member’ from her ward and is the only lady panch (ward member). She listens to her community members and raises their voice in all community meetings. I gain strength by seeing her working for others in challenging conditions where no one else thinks about others but she does it selflessly.
Kavita, Village Limbai
Kavita got married at a young age and since then, her husband has been unemployed. When NRLM (National Rural Livelihood Mission) started its operations in her village, she was already on a lookout for work and grabbed the chance to support her family. Today, she is an active member in the community based organization formed by NRLM. Other than that, she works as a book keeper in 10 villages and volunteers with other organizations. Her organization believe in her because she works hard, gives equal opportunity to all and motivates others to give their best. All with a smile on her face which shows she can deal with anything. She is always open to learn new things and share it with others, which helps everyone grow.
Geeta, Village Palsud
I met her at one of the training programs we organized in Palsud (the cluster with highest tribal population) in the block where I am working. She came walking with a kettle in her hand and a pack of disposable glasses. I thought she might be helping her husband in his tea stall but when I went back for another cup of tea, she was standing gracefully without a ‘Ghunghat’ (a common practice to cover head), serving tea while everyone was praising her for the hardships she has faced in life. Later, I came to know her brother left her mother alone and her husband is also unemployed. Geeta gave birth to two girls which wasn’t supported by her in-laws. She came to live with her mother, started the tea stall and is now running it brilliantly. Her husband sometimes takes care of the stall when she is busy with household chores. She is the only one earning money for her family and courageously stands against all odds by breaking stereotypes of women roles in the area.
Chameli, Village Nanded
Chameli Bai (on the right) is one of the most active and energetic women I have. Her positive attitude makes the women of her group work hard for their community. She is a leader of her village organization and my favorite woman in Nimar.
I am so glad to have started visiting field areas again. Meeting people and knowing about their lives is something that inspires me to work more efficiently everyday.