Putting an end to exploitation: The Halpati women who don’t want financial help from anybody – Gujarat

Saumya at work with the tribal women

Of Spice & Spirit: 24-YO Quits Cushy Job to Double Income of Gujarat Tribe!

Jovita Aranha, The Better India, 3 July 2018

Turn the pages of history, and it will narrate the plight of the Halpatis of Gujarat, one of the most backward tribal communities. For the longest time, they have struggled to break away from a shell that dictates everything they are –landless farmhands under exploitative zamindars. | Read the full report and view more photos here >>

The year is 2018. It is a primary school in the Bardoli taluka of Gujarat. A few parents walk up to the class teacher and say, “Stop teaching these Halpatis. If they get educated, who will toil in our fields?”

No, this is not an imaginary scenario. This is but a glimpse into the oppression faced by the Halpati scheduled tribe at the hands of upper-caste villagers. […]

Soon, two women, 23-year-old Sonamben Halpati, and 27-year-old Sobhanaben Halpati stepped up to become lead entrepreneurs. “They were firm in their resolve that they didn’t want financial help from anybody. And thus, with a small team of five other women as part-time workers and an existing machine, the women began their entrepreneurial journey,” shares Saumya.

They had a machine, they had labour, and they would eventually buy the raw materials, but where would they set up their production unit? […]

“They lacked the confidence and knowledge of running a successful venture. My work is only an attempt to make them aware of the power that lies within the palm of their hands.”

Today these Halpati women proudly claim that they will not be limited to being daily wage labourers. They can turn into entrepreneurs. Looking at the success that Tez Masala has amassed in five months, other groups of women have walked up to Saumya. While some want to set up their stitching unit, others want to run an Anganwadi centre.

Who would’ve thought that all it would take was a group of women armed with spices to spark a revolution in a remote tribal village in Gujarat? These women are doing it every day, and how! […]

Source: Of Spice & Spirit: 24-YO Quits Cushy Job to Double Income of Gujarat Tribe!
URL: https://www.thebetterindia.com/148422/spice-saumya-omer-gujarat-tribe/
Date visited: 29- October 2018

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