Rakhi Pundir Bardeja
Co Founder, Skill It Up
They say the way a child is brought up plays an imperative role in shaping the life of an individual. In my childhood, my parents always emphasized on the importance of raising our voice against injustices happening around us. I grew up listening to the tales of Maharani Laxmi Bai, Chand bibi , Rani abakka and how they served their country as women, in one or the other way. But on the contrary , as a woman of 21st century , I was always a witness to various kinds of biases, discrimination, trials and tortures that an average woman of our country faces everyday in her life. I always wondered, after so many years of independence, why the woman next door is not free ? To my horror, I saw the worst condition of women in our society when I started People yo Training and Research Institut (PTRI). PTRI is an Ngo, which was founded with the aim to support women and children of the economically weaker section by providing them holistic education through the Nai udan centre and empowering the youth and women towards economic independence. While working with these children, I realized that the conditions were much worse for their mothers there. The common sights in the village were men beating their wives, women suffering from numerous diseases and sometimes they saw suicide as their only option when their husbands died leaving many children , leaving her financially insecure. Watching all this, I could not refrain myself from taking the simplest of steps to make a change in these women’s lives. For starters, I invited my widow maid with 4 children, to make some extra money with me. We used to make decorative diyas and sell them to MNCs and vendors to earn her living. The idea stuck with me and I proceeded with this at a larger scale. With the help of my co founder, I launched the project power2her.in, that incorporates workmanship of 50 women along with soft skill development.We also engage with Self Help groups run by women in the remote villages of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where with our design and marketing support we are making home decor and consumer products and are selling them in big retail chains , across India and abroad.Power2her.in has a vision to help women turn into entrepreneurs from within their homes and give them continuous monthly income, improving their living conditions and hygiene. We train them and provide solutions for various product designs which will help them cater to the dynamic market and grow with it. I was very happy with the success of our 2 pilot projects of festive merchandise, where we were able to place the merchandise made by Power2her.in’s women in big supermarkets and departmental stores in Delhi NCR.Our products reached 1 million customers through these stores and we are continuously expanding. I hope one day we will have a well established brand structured with rural and urban women creating a variety of products. All these actions shall lead to empowerment of women in weaker sections of the society. Simultaneously, In this short course of 5 years, 100 children have joined PTRI. Our project of child education around soft skill development hass been adopted by an IIT Delhi incubated company , under their CSR. I am proud of this cluster progress done by my team but my goals have been set in a faraway land and so, there is a long way to go. I also recieved the, ICICI Bank advantage women award in February 2018 along with a cash prize, for my social impact ventures.
I believe, it’s the duty of every citizen of our country to wake up and contribute to the development of this nation. The times have changed, there are no Britishers now , but that doesn’t mean the fight has ended. The fight remains. It’s with unemployment, lack of education, being deficient in empowerment and I hope with each little step every day, we shall win. We shall overcome. I am taking my step, are you?