Dulourin Markam, a resilient woman from the village of Kaspur, Chattisgarh, embarked on a journey of courage and transformation. In a place where adversity often overshadowed hope, Markam's life took a tumultuous turn while she faced not only the challenges of a troubled marriage but also the burden of providing for her family. However, amidst these trials, Markam discovered an unyielding spirit and determination that would lead her towards a path of empowerment and self-discovery through entrepreneurship.
In a conversation with SheThePeople, rural entrepreneur Dulourin Markam shared her story, which is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Markam. recalled breaking free from the cycle of domestic abuse and becoming an entrepreneur, tapping on the power of collective support, and her road to self-discovery.
Overcoming Abuse and Societal Indifference
Sharing about her journey and challenges, she said, "The challenges were many, and they seemed insurmountable at times. The initial struggle was to escape the cycle of abuse. Nirmal's (her husband) unpredictable behaviour and violence made it difficult for me to even consider breaking free. But what was worse was the societal indifference to my suffering. Nobody intervened or offered help."
The biggest challenge was survival. With my husband unable to work and my limited resources, feeding my family of eight was a daily battle. I had to work as a daily wage labourer and rely on the meagre income from our small patch of land.
She said that the turning point came when she joined the SHG and started participating in training and meetings in the village; it began her journey in agriculture. However, learning new farming techniques and managing her own crops were not easy tasks; they required determination and perseverance, but they were a step towards independence and a better life.
Motivated by Dreams for a Better Life
When we asked Markam what motivated her to break free from the cycle of abuse and embark on a path towards empowerment and independence, she said,
It was the realisation that I deserved better, and my children deserved better, that made me break free from the cycle of abuse. I couldn't allow my children to grow up in an environment of violence and despair. My dreams for them pushed me to find a way out.
She added, "When I witnessed the strength and empowerment of people during the Mahadhiveshan, it ignited a fire within me. I saw a path to change not only my life but also the lives of others in my community. I wanted to break free, not just for myself but to set an example for my children and other women who might be suffering silently."
Further in the conversation, Markam added how being a woman influenced the challenges she faced,
A woman in a rural community certainly added another layer of difficulty. There were expectations and stereotypes that women should endure suffering quietly. But my determination to prove those expectations wrong empowered me.
She continued, "I wanted to challenge the notion that women can only be victims. I wanted to show that we can be providers and change-makers too. The support of CRP Didis and PRADAN Professionals gave me the tools and knowledge to do just that."
Inspiring Change and Empowering Women
Talking about how gender dynamics played a role in her story of resilience and transformation, Markam accepted that gender dynamics played a significant role in her story. She said, "In many rural communities like mine, women are often expected to endure suffering silently, and their voices are often unheard. The burden of caring for the family, both emotionally and financially, falls heavily on women."
My transformation was a rebellion against these norms. I decided not to accept the burden of abuse and poverty any longer. I wanted to change the narrative, not just for myself but for all the women in my village. It's crucial for society to recognise the strength and resilience of women, especially in the face of adversity.
Dulourin Markam envisions a future in agriculture where she continues to learn and thrive. With plans to use her entire acre for vegetable cultivation through drip irrigation, she aims to embrace organic farming to reduce costs and enhance soil quality.
Beyond her personal goals, Markam is determined to inspire and empower more women in her community, breaking the cycle of abuse and poverty. She believes that, together, they can create a brighter future for their families and village. Deep within her heart, she maintains hope that her husband, Nirmal, will one day find the help he needs to regain his sanity.
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