There is a leader in every strong woman. When we read the story of Anita Raghav we know that this holds true. Born on 15 August 1976 in the Khedla village district of Sohna in Haryana, Anita started something of a movement in her village. She began working for an Australia-based export house called Shades of India Limited wherein she enrolled 45 women for various jobs in the centre set up by the company in their village. These women were able to earn for themselves and became financially independent and confident.
Anita received extensive support from Navjyoti India Foundation, an NGO supported by CAF India that works for women empowerment. Nayjyoti reaches out to rural women and organises them into Self Help Groups (SHGs), introducing a system of micro–credit and promoting entrepreneurial activities through capacity building and training. The NGO found a lot of potential in Anita’s role as a leader and involved her in mobilising women into SHGs in several villages.
After seeing the benefits of SHGs, Anita began to encourage women who were not allowed to enter the chaupal (community centre) to form groups. One incident that showed the solidarity of these groups was when the women got together against the menace of alcoholism and demolished the illegal liquor shop in their village.
Currently, Anita is an entrepreneur having set up Shudh Masala along with two other women partners. The three founders invested the money that they had earned and saved through their SHGs into the company. They visit Delhi, purchase whole masala ingredients, clean, grind and package them and sell them through their marketing skills, on which Navjyoti is training them. The business venture is turning out to be profitable.
Despite facing the challenges of a patriarchal society and resistance from her mother-in-law, Anita has developed the confidence to work for her society and has made tremendous progress in preventing female foeticide in her village. Recently, she got an opportunity to share the model of SHGs in Australia with the aboriginal community.
Anita is a role model in her village – from a woman who was not allowed to step out of the house she has transformed into someone who has just returned from Australia. In October 2009, she was awarded with a prize from the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) in Geneva, Switzerland for her creativity in rural life. On the occasion of International Day of Rural Women (15 October), the committee chose her for this prestigious award.
There is no stopping Anita. She is a go getter and a leader in every sense, with a little help from us.
*Navjyoti India Foundation is validated NGO partner of CAF India and receives financial support from Microsoft India’s employees through our payrolll giving programme – Give As You Earn