Saturday, 18 August 2012

Bhuneshwari dares to go against the norms

Bhuneshwari, who is just 20 years old, comes from Biretara, a remote village in Dhamtari , Chhattisgarh. Most of the women in her community are involved in agriculture or manual labor. They are usually unable to pursue proper education and end up in unskilled jobs. Bhuneshwari also had no choice but to do the same after she passed her 12th standard exams from the Chhattisgarh State Board.

She did not personally like the menial work she did, and wanted to use her formal education to build her career, but did not know how to go about it. One day, she ran into one of the Pratham mobilizers who went to her neighbourhood to mobilize students. She got intrigued by the hospitality training that was provided at Pratham's centers and convinced her parents to enrol her for the course at PACE Aurangabad Hospitality Training Center. She had never travelled outside her village, but for the first time she travelled alone to Aurangabad, which was more than 800 kms away from her village. It was simply unheard of for the women in her village to find work elsewhere, but Bhuneshwari dared to go against the norms.

The initial months were very difficult as she was not used to living alone, especially in a city that was foreign to her. She was brought up in a different culture, with a completely different set of values and traditions, but she soon acclimatized to the new surroundings and made a lot of new friends. She spoke a  local dialect of Hindi which posed a few language barriers in the beginning, but she coped with them and now articulates her thoughts really well not only in Hindi but also in English.

She was very happy to get her first placement at the Best Western Goradia, Shirdi, but has subsequently switched to another hotel which offers her a higher salary. She can't help but imagine how her life would have been if she hadn't taken this courageous step, and she advocates our courses to all the young women in her neighbourhood and beyond. We are proud of women like her who decide to take such a bold step and we hope to empower many such Bhuneshwaris in the future.

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