Rampyari, a resident of Barauli Gram Panchayat, is one of those leaders whose energy and enthusiasm has spread like a wild fire inspiring many in her village to be self-dependent.

With an objective of developing alternate sources of income for her family, she first associated with HCL Samuday to develop a Small Poultry Shed. She further diversified her livelihood options by entering in the area of Goat Rearing and also ensured daily availability of organic vegetables for her family by setting up a nutrition garden in her own backyard.

But this was just the start of her journey. She found her calling in handicrafts when she saw the various interventions through which HCL Samuday was trying to develop traditional crafts of the region. After enrolling in the program, she not just motivated other members of her Self Help Group to join the program but also motivated 14 other women to come together and expand the budding business.

The new Rampyari, confident and ambitious, took on a journey to Delhi and closed a deal with a leading apparel brand. This proved a new dawn for young aspiring woman. From having no income or earning just ₹ 500 monthly, the women of this group were able to increase their income to ₹3500 monthly.

Rampyari has the #PowerToEmpower.

Shiv Devi, an Aanganwadi worker at Suthena village, is one of those natural leaders who are self-triggered to make a difference. She lost her husband early in life and her kids stay away, yet every morning she goes around on her bicycle to spread messages about importance of safe sanitation and clean drinking water.

She is a part of Village Nigrani Samiti and makes sure that nobody in her neighborhood defecates in the open. Being an Aangawadi worker, her regular work involves house-to house visit and she effectively utilizes it to spread WASH message.

She also volunteered to become part of the Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) and took responsibility of motivating 20 families and collecting contribution from them. Till date she has collected ₹22,000 on her own. As a result of her tireless efforts, today people of Suthena realise that the water they drink from shallow handpumps is contaminated with Nitrate and Fluoride which is detrimental to their health and wish to adopt piped drinking water supply as soon as possible.

Shiv Devi has the #PowerToEmpower.

Rajni, a resident of Gaju gram panchayat, presents a case of fighting against the odds of daily life and coming out victorious. She has seven children – two sons and five daughters. Life was fine for her till she lost her husband due to a heart attack in 2012. This unfortunate event brought responsibility of the entire family upon her and she started finding it impossible to manage everything from household income.

HCL Samuday’s ongoing interventions in the panchayat presented Rajni with an opportunity to engage in livelihood opportunities and support her family. Women from her defunct Self-help group were brought together and capacitated to run it successfully. It is from this group that Rajni regularly gets small low-interest loans for any urgent work. Using such funds, HCL Samuday facilitated her in setting up a backyard poultry unit with 100 chickens. It was the money generated from this enterprise that helped Rajni meet ends and bring up her children well.

Rajni’s story has inspired all women folk in the panchayat and various women groups are now planning to begin working on making home cleaning brushes, agarbatti (incense sticks), sewing, embroidery, etc.

Rajni has the #PowerToEmpower.

The story of Sharma Devi is not of one in a million but culmination of dreams of millions of Indian rural women in one pair of eyes. Born and married in an agricultural family, Intermediate (+2) was the highest level of education she could attain. With only a single teacher in the Govt. primary and upper primary schools during the past decades and poor connectivity to the Intermediate college she is easily the most qualified person of her age and gender in the village.

In August 2018 one of the most ambitious and successful initiatives of HCL Foundation, Shakshar Samuday (Adult Literacy program) took flight from Kachhauna and with it flew the dreams of Sharma Devi of putying her education to good use. “Passing the basic literacy test was not as difficult after the 5-Days training” she says. With two small school going kids and scarce means of transportation, visiting the HCL Training Centre was a demanding task for her but her persistence paid off when she passed the Post Training Test with highest grades. Thus began her journey of being a Community Literacy Volunter. Bold and beaming with confidence she says “I used to speak very little and nobody knew my name, but today everybody in my village and the neighbouring village recognises me. Even the village elderlies call me Sharma Didi because I teach them”. Initial months were the toughest, she had to regularly visit several households to ensure higher learner attendance, struggle with the nuances of the Laptop and ICT Modules and balance relationships between being a mentor and being a village bride.

Till date she has managed to impart literacy to more than 80 women across various age groups from 15 and above. It not only gave her an identity but encouraged her to look for better ways to contribute to the family. Thanks to changing perspective, apart from being sincere members in the Adult literacy, her SHG is now involved in several Livelihood generation activities such as making Pickle and Chips that act as opportunities for income enhancement of many women in the village.

Sharma Devi has the #PowerToEmpower.

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