Growing up, Malati Kadraka did not know there were many career options for her to pursue. As someone who was always confined to her region in the Rayagada district of Odisha, she decided to follow a natural route of studying and landing a decent job to fend for herself and her family.
To look at entrepreneurship as a possibility was something she had never thought about but learned to embrace. Today, Malati Kadraka works in agricultural marketing and digital withdrawal of money services.
At the India Commemoration of the IWD at the UN Women Country Office, Malati Kadraka shared with us her inspiration behind pursuing entrepreneurship, how digitalisation empowers her, and how she constantly improves her skills to master different trades.
Malati Kadraka Journey
30-year-old Malati Kadraka was always sure of one thing, she wanted to work no matter what and become financially independent. However, knowing that she could do her own business was something she didn’t know she would ever get the opportunity to do. “I never had this issue that I had to sit at home and not earn money, I was clear about this. But I was unaware of opportunities that existed in many different ways. That’s where the organisation Pradan empowered me.”
Malati explored the various benefits of digitalisation and decided to work with the Digital withdrawal of money services. She installed a thermal scanner that is used for withdrawing money from the customer’s account. “I charge a certain fee and also explain to them how the system works.”
Not just this, she also works as an agricultural marketer and assists the farmers in her villages to understand the dos and dont’s of the business. She explains, “I try and gain as much knowledge I can to learn about the agricultural economy in our region, and that helps me pay it forward to make farmers aware. Tapping the power of digital media has been a huge part of where I stand today.”
Malati also wishes to work for the women farmers who often do not get their due as being major contributors to India’s agricultural economy. “Women work so hard in the fields without realising that they are integral pillars of the region’s agricultural growth. They must know that and they must be given their due,” she says. The entrepreneur is now set to install a photocopier in the village and is excited to keep her options open to explore more. “I love what I am doing but I also need to learn more and experiment with different attributes there are to businesses.”
Women work so hard in the fields without realising that they are integral pillars of the region’s agricultural growth. They must know that and they must be given their due.
As far as entrepreneurship is concerned, Malati does not want to confine herself to one option, a reason why she learns different skills at a time, and this is something she wants other women to experience too.“My story can inspire several young girls in the village who grow up without options. They think that there are certain paths that women cannot tread on. I want to change that, I want to make more families aware that everyone should get an equal opportunity, progress and success come much later.”
Suggested reading: This Is How Sumati Hikaka Established A One-Of-Its Kind Business In Her Village