Empowering Women in Rural India: Kanchan Devi’s Inspiring Journey of Sustainability and Leadership

For the past several years Drishtee is working towards sustainability and empowerment of the women of Rural India. Vishnu tola of Jangal Aurahi panchayat is one of those villages where Drishtee marked its presence. There is a Vaibhavi (women micro-enterprise group) named “Vishnu Mahila Udhyogi” which is an example of the women coming together collectively and doing some wonderful work. Someone rightly said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” Kanchan Devi is one such leader who has enabled women of her community to break the stereotypes to dream more and live more.

Kanchan Devi is a resident of Vishnu Tola, Jangal Aurahi Panchayat. She has been connected with Drishtee since March 2023. She was a homemaker and now is the leader of the Vaibhavi. She comes from a lower-middle-class family in the remote village of UP and currently lives with her parents.

Kanchan Devi (first right) with her Vaibhavi group members

One day while training a Vaibhavi group she surprised everyone with the visionary story of her life. Before working with Drishtee, Kanchan Devi went through a major crisis in her life when she delivered a baby boy and lost him soon after his birth. The cause of his death is still a question to her. That incident left Kanchan Devi completely shattered. She was depressed and lost all hope in life. Meanwhile, a Swavlamban Mela was organized by Drishtee in the same village and Kanchan Devi visited the mela where all women were introduced to the concept of ‘Swavlamban’, an approach of Drishtee to enable rural communities to attain sustainability and self-reliance.  She was introduced to the concept of Vaibhavi, which means Micro Enterprise Groups, where women come together collectively to start a business and start their journey of empowerment. This whole idea was very exciting for her and she decided to join the Initiative and start working with us. She started her journey with us around March 2023 and moved forward by grasping the concept, upskilling herself, and starting to make cotton wicks. Gradually she mastered her skills and became one of the most skilled and active women in the community and now she is the leader of the Vaibhavi group named Vishnu Mahila Udhyogi Samuh. She motivated other women to join the group and now the group is a collective of 30 women and she is leading them and managing everything by herself.  The group earned a sum of 72,000 INR within three months (from March to May).

This is one of those life stories Drishtee is working for. This story will be an example for all those women who have lost and are scared to start fresh. A journey that will give all of us the courage to be empowered, self-reliant and to dream big.

Written by Suryabanshi Rai

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