There is nothing more inspiring than women who have taken charge of their lives and pushed for change. The internet has been a transformational tool for women – from those who dreamed of learning to those who hoped to someday escape the horrors of their destiny and create a respectful livelihood for themselves. And so digital skills have helped thousands of women across rural India to explore opportunities.
SheThePeople brings you seven powerful, moving stories of courage in partnership with Google’s Women Will
Shalu Devi – Inspirational Teacher & Entrepreneur | Punjab
At the age of five, I lost the use of my legs due to polio, but my family always encouraged me to be independent.
Today I tell a lot of women I meet, “I’m differently-abled and still active so why aren’t you? If you don’t seize the moment then life will pass you by.”
After marriage I didn’t want to just sit at home idle so I started stitching basic patchwork bedsheets for Rs. 50, since it was easy to learn and other women were also doing it .
Once I learnt how to access the internet, I started learning women’s salwar-suits and men’s shirts. It helped widen my limited scope. I get enough orders now, to be able to employ others and make a good profit.
Rabita Pandey – Teacher / Smart Betiyan | UP
I still remember the words of my math teacher who would tell me as a child that I have a teacher within me and I should always nurture that.
A teacher is a person who can affect a real change in society. That’s why I’m pursuing my MA in Education to become a professor soon.
Wherever I look, I see the inequality girls face. I see little girls being made to stay home and look after their siblings or do housework. These girls should be in school instead. I wanted to talk about this and make a difference.
It was through Internet Saathi that I found a voice.
Lalitha- Tailoring Unit/ Entrepreneur | Karur / Tamil Nadu
I am from Karur which is a textile hub. I used to work at tailoring shops on a daily-wage basis, which was bringing in the money but I wanted to start something of my own and become more independent.
Last year, the government announced a statewide ban on the sale and use of plastic carry bags. Suddenly the demand for cloth bags went up. I felt the time was right to start my own business of making cloth bags.
The internet training I received helped me immensely to take my business forward.
Kanimozhi Gunasekaran- Entrepreneur | Tamil Nadu
I help my father run a traditional printing press in Pallipalayam. My brother managed the press briefly but now works outside the village as a medical representative.
Before I joined my father’s printing press, I finished a computer course in DTP works. The internet became a good resource for me to go beyond the course and learn much more. Earlier we used to outsource the design work, but now I carry out all the design work in-house. As a result, our revenues have doubled
Mustan Kaur /Food Entrepreneur | Punjab
After my husband walked out of our marriage, I took to cleaning houses to provide for my two kids, but it was not enough.
As luck would have it, there was a need for a canteen in a women’s college.
I was initially told that a woman can’t run the canteen, but I was supported by the village council so I borrowed money from friends and started my venture.
I knew this would be a challenge as what students like was not the everyday food I was used to cooking.
I had to be resourceful, so I turned to the internet to learn many new dishes that were popular in other canteens. There are so many videos that show you how to make a single dish and I would spend my free time poring over those.
I have now perfected burgers, samosas and chinese noodles at my canteen and these are our best selling items. Business has really taken off.
Sowjanya – Social Change | Andhra Pradesh
I was working as a farm laborer earning a minimum daily wage, despite being educated. The financial conditions were very poor and I had to do what I could then.
I wasn’t sure how to change my circumstances until I got the opportunity to learn the internet. The first thing I did was I accessed a govt. website where all our land records were documented. I noticed there was a discrepancy in the record of what we owned and took it up with the local government body. I fixed this issue and today our land is rightfully ours as per govt. record.
With the right information one can change one’s circumstances. As my life turned around, I started helping others by giving them useful information that I could access online.
Amar Jyoti Kushwaha / Entrepreneur & Community Outreach | Bihar
I run a tailoring centre for women in my home. We also provide free training to women who don’t have the money to pay fees.
We give these women jobs to stitch for us, which secures their own income.
Earlier, I would feel limited in the things I could achieve in class but when I learnt how to use the internet, a whole world of inspiration opened up for me.
Using the internet, it is very easy to learn and teach new designs and techniques.
When I am happy with the output, I share images with family and friends through WhatsApp and social media pages.
You can hear these stories, and know more about their lives, struggles and successes by clicking here.
Women Will is a Google initiative making an impact1 in 49 countries, supporting women’s economic potential through digital skills and community building.
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