Rajiben is a living example of women’s self-reliance, empowerment and upliftment!

by Ana Lopez

Kutch is a unique border district of Gujarat state. Where people with different cultures and heritages live. Where the people are constantly striving to sustain their culture and identity by facing many natural calamities like droughts, cyclones, earthquakes etc. That is why the soil of Kutch is called Khmeervanti.
Today we will talk about a working woman from a remote area of ​​Kutch who has made a name for herself through self-reliance and hard work and has been honored at the national level and has been selected for the President’s Award on 4-3-2023 by our local President Mrs. Draupadi Murmu. It is Rajiben Vankar, the name of Kutch is enhanced by Aan, Ban and Shan.
Khamirwanta woman Mrs. Rajiben Vankar who was born in the year 1979 in Kotai village of Bhuj taluka. He spent his childhood in the family with his parents, 6 sisters and 1 brother. There was a lot of desire to study, but due to lack of social bonds and infrastructure, they could only study up to standard two. With a large family and short income, Hoi himself used to go to work with his mother and weave with his father in the evenings. In weaving, he loved the long woolen threads and the process of spinning them, and he gave his father unsolicited advice on how to spin!
Rajiben was married into a middle class family at VD village in Anjar. Where Rajiben started his world with new aspirations and dreams. Her dream was to ‘unleash the talent I possess with innovative work in weaving and help my husband to uplift the economic situation of the household and establish a distinct identity of my own. But as the saying goes, nothing comes before time and luck.
As if nature had been cruel to her, one day while going to work as a laborer, her husband suffered a heart attack and died suddenly before any treatment could be obtained. Now in the family only son and one daughter at home. There was no one to earn.
After this incident, it seemed that the mountains of grief had collapsed on Rajiben. As Rajib did not see any other option for employment in VD village, he started living in Awadhnagar village near Bhuj city in the year 2007 and started living by doing small jobs to support his family and give good education to his children.
Rajiben used to support the family from the little income she got from doing black labor day and night. One day Rajiben comes to know that a government employee is coming to his village and who is going to inform the mother and sister about the various benefits and assistance from the government. On that day, Rajiben left early from housework and reached Bhavnaben’s house in time to attend the meeting. Where they got information about the ‘Mission Mangalam’ scheme and explained how the sisters can become economically and socially self-reliant and empowered. While the meeting was still going on, Rajiben stood up and said that if I join the Mission Mangalam scheme and form a Sakhi Mandal, how many sisters want to join me?
All the sisters and women present there agreed to join Rajiben and ‘Kuldevi Sakhi Mandal’ was formed. Where Rajiben was made the president of the congregation and the statue was Rs. 50/- each of the sisters decided to save in the congregation. A congregation account was opened in a nearby bank. After months of doing this, the cluster staff of ‘Mission Mangalam’ scheme again visited the village and at the same time the sisters also brought along a representative of the voluntary organization employing them. The organization was looking for sisters who could work on handicrafts. What do the sisters have to do? And how much will they be remunerated for them? How to get? etc. explained in depth.
Immediately Rajiben and some other sisters expressed their desire to work with this organization. Time passed and Rajiben’s desires took new wings. Expressed the desire to do something new in weaving to the designer of the institute.
The women were also given information about how various and good things can be made from waste plastic. ‘Kuldevi Sakhi Mandal’ was given Rs. 70,000/- Community Investment Fund was given. In addition Rs. 2,00,000/- by obtaining a cash credit loan and purchasing 10 handlooms from house to house and necessary raw material, 15 sisters started plastic weaving in their own village.
Together with the enthusiasm of the Rajiben sisters, they started producing innovative products with very good quality. Rajiben started to feel that his dreams are coming true and today Rajiben is giving employment to 35 to 40 women with the name that he will fulfill the dream of many sisters associated with him. Collect plastic and give them Rs. per kg. 20/- gives. The Rajibens who once wandered for self-employment are now employing other sisters. It is very important and a living example of women’s self-reliance, empowerment and upliftment.
After this kind of experience, Rajiben is helping other women like her to gain a foothold financially and socially. They participate in various exhibition fairs as well as online sales and earn Rs. Doing business of 8.00 to 10.00 lakhs.
Rajibene gives the sisters attached to her an understanding of the importance of saving in times of calamity and the need for women’s education.
In recognition of her performance and courage, she was awarded (1) Best Performance Women Award 2021 by the State Government, Gram Vikas Department (2) ‘Social Entrepreneur Award’ for Climate Friendly Innovation, NABARD (3) ‘Women Excellence Awards’ Startup and Innovation 2022 Award’ has been done. Currently, Rajiben Wankar has been selected for the President’s Award for his excellent performance in the biodegradable waste and plastic waste management categories. On March 04, 2023, Rajiben was conferred the award by His Excellency Draupadi Murmu, the President.
Thus Rajiben is a living example of self-reliance and self-empowered women’s upliftment and women’s upliftment. Salute to such women.
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Additional Compilation: Amit Acharya, Jignesh Pathak, Darshana Visariya and Sarita Harpale

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