Rural women increasingly are running their own enterprises, yet their socio-economic contributions and entrepreneurial potential remain largely unrecognized and untapped.
These hard-working women who, despite their humble beginnings, have overcome all the odds to chase their dreams and soar high.
These women have been recognized as an important source of economic support to their families. They not only have got themselves out from utter poverty but were also able to create employment for others. However, they still represent a minority of all entrepreneurs.
Rising Kashmir’s Misabah Bhat spoke to the two women entrepreneurs who had a dream and the determination to succeed.
Nahida Parveen, 24, from Baramulla started her Kirana shop in 2018.
After dropping out of school at an early age, Nahida was determined to do something on her own and help her family financially.
“Our financial condition was not good. We had no money and were very poor. I took out a loan and with the assistance of the Umeed scheme to set up a small shop to make ends meet,” she said.
Nahida is now doing well as the Kirana shop is fetching her decent living.
“I have an eight-year-old kid and am able to strike a balance between my shop and my family affairs.” she said.
Nahida’s husband has been encouraging her.
“I had full support of my family and they are happy also as our financial conditions which were bad changed for good.”
Nahida lives in a joint family and all her family members are dependent on the kirana shop and she is handling it quite well.
“I am glad I took the decision of opening my shop though it was not easy but I somehow managed. Initially I was sceptical whether it is going to be beneficial or not. There were many questions doing rounds in my head, but it turned out well,” she said.
Nahida brought stability to her family in a short span of time because of her zeal and commitment towards her work.
“I have worked hard to reach where I am today. The journey has not been simple, there have been many ups and downs,” she said.
Nahida believes a person should be honest and true to himself and his work.
“We need to have faith and I believe there is a challenge at every point of time. We need to overcome it and not succumb to our fears,” she said.
Nahida said “I have seen very difficult times and when I remember those, I get tears in my eyes. Seeing your family in a miserable condition tears a person apart. Life is unpredictable but you need to hold on and grab the opportunity. A person cannot sit in one place and keep regretting.”
Another unit holder Hamida Banoo, 28, from Ganderbal also dropped out of college after completing higher secondary.
Hamida started a dairy farm business in 2013 with the help of Umeed Scheme. She just started with one cow which gradually grew into a milk processing unit under the banner “Asli Dahi”.
Owning a small piece of land was a blessing for her which helped her ideate the business.
“We had land of our own and currently I own several cows. I look after them myself,” she said.
Hamida’s traditional processing and packaging unit fetched her good returns.
“I didn’t go for plastic packaging. I chose clay pots for my product. In the old days, we used to process curd in clay pots which were very popular and tasty. I introduced it once again to keep our culture alive and to avoid plastic hazards. Customers are appreciating it,” she said.
Hamida Banoo has big plans for the future and is hopeful of being successful in it.
She has worked very hard to gain popularity in the area and believes the success comes gradually without any shortcuts.
Her pricing is very competitive as she sells milk at Rs 30 to Rs 35 and yogurt at Rs 50 to Rs 60 as per the size of the pot.
Hamida gets orders for weddings and other functions as well.
“Currently, I have gained a customer base in Nishat, Shalimar, Brein, Harwan, Illahi bagh, etc and I deliver it to their doorstep” she said.
Hamida has got immense support from family.
“My family has supported me in my venture, and they also assist in milk and yogurt making.
Apart from devoting time to dairy, Hamida is also a skilled artisan.
“I also do Sozni embroidery to earn more money during my leisure time and it is good to keep yourself busy,” she said.
Due to Hamida’s hard work, her family has been able to upgrade the Kachha house to a Pucca house.
“The business venture has brought a complete change into my life. I didn’t have any bank account but today I have a savings account and I have availed different types of loans amounting 5 lakh which I utilized towards my livelihood and for the livelihood of my brother,” she said.
Hamida believes there should be desire and determination to do something in life.
“Women are the torch bearers of society. There is no such thing she cannot do. Some women are still there in our society who need encouragement and guidance to realize their dreams,” she said.