When courage met hope – Nirmala Women Entrepreneur from Navjyoti India Foundation

India is a country with varied kind of household systems. Some are modern and liberal, some are conservative and orthodox and then there are some who fall somewhere in the middle of these two ideologies.

Nirmala, started her life in a conservative household in village Sehjawas of Haryana where women were not supposed to work or step out of the house. Her husband was in the army and kept her on a tight leash.

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A strong and able mind cannot be controlled for long and that’s exactly what happened with Nirmala. She always had a desire to learn some skills.

Nirmala’s mother in law was surprisingly supportive of her desire to work. They both decided to go ahead with Nirmala’s plan of learning stitching course without letting the husband know.

They say, where there is will, there is a way.  Nirmala heard about Navjyoti India Foundation, that helps under or less privileged women become self-reliant.  She inquired about it and conferred with her mother in law who encouraged her to join the course in the Foundation.

Left to Right (Chandani Bedi , Nirmala , Ritika Joshi
Left to Right (Chandani Bedi , Nirmala , Ritika Joshi

Over there she got to know about how women through the Foundation, can form a Self Help Group of 10-15, contribute some money, deposit in the bank and then take some loan to start something of their own. Nirmala discussed this with her husband but he denied straight way.  This upset Nirmala who didn’t know that life is going to strike her with an irreparable damage. She lost her husband and was left with three mouths to feed, her two kids and a mother in law, with no male member in the family.

In our country, the lower the economic class, the more difficult it is to survive without a husband because of lack of education and opportunities. The loss of her life partner and harsh reality of survival left Nirmala almost traumatized. It felt dark around her and she didn’t know how to get out. But after six months, she decided to take control of her life. Again on the encouragement from her mother in law, Nirmala started stitching clothes for neighbours. And today owns her own shop which helped her to put her kids in a good school where both of them are performing very well. Besides this she also participates in movements with social messages, cleanliness, discourage the usage of polybags etc. The woman who wasn’t allowed to step out of her home today travels to far off distance to procure material and marketing and is a successful example of a rural woman entrepreneur.

Nirmala encourages all other women also around her to drop the fear and work towards becoming self- reliant. She attributes her success to Navjyoti  India Foundation which opened new ways for her.

Nirmala is a fighter, a believer and is definitely an inspiration to those struggling in similar situation like hers especially in patriarchal society of rural areas. But if she can do it, so can others. The idea is to have faith in oneself, faith in the fact that those who try, succeed.

Interviewed By: Ritika Joshi  , Written By : Mrinalini Singh


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