Handling Challenge

SHILPA KASHELKAR
Posted July 10, 2019 from India

Handling  Challenge 

As part of livelihood and income generation program for village women, I have handled one innovative program. For economic and social empowerment, by the end of May, 2019 we have purchased total 300 cows with support of Rotary and DISHA organization. We have given these cows to the 300 women beneficiaries from Maval Taluka and Mulshi Taluka of Pune District, Maharashtra, India as income generation project.

During  project period, I have conducted around 35 market visits in 2 cow markets within Maharashtra State, with overnight journey from 5 to 15 hours and stay before and after of cow purchase, in the market cities. I traveled by heavy  vehicles arranged by beneficiary families such as heavy vehicles, tempo, pick up etc., with minimum 5 to maximum 20 male members from beneficiary families and with my team members.

Initially few experts from field told me that:-

  • Women can not handle this type of cow project, as it is very demanding  project, 
  • Women can not go in cow market as all business people, vendors, farmers, veterinary experts,  government officials all are male, 
  • Women can not travel locally or across districts continuously due to demanding work

It was really challenge for me, I felt bad when people demotivated me and questioned my leadership as woman. I accepted challenge and completed work before given time. I have kept my health and family behind for work priority. 

I have observed that in cow market, 99% male are handling all business. In villages, I observed that women are handling 90% work of cow raring work  such as cleaning of cow and cow shed, fodder management, taking care of cows etc. Since major issues related to decision making and finance etc. are still in control of men. So during village level meetings and trainings,  I have discussed gender and women economic empowerment issues. In this project, only 4 women came to market with me for cow purchase and in remaining cases all male from beneficiary families visited cow market for cow purchase. 

After successfully completing work,  again many people raised many issues such as :-

  • You worked with men only 
  • You are travelling with men 

Finally they connected all issues to my character, and questioned my integrity and commitment towards my work for social cause. I am not against male, but I am want to raise my voice against patriarchy and patriarchal attitude. I fighting for gender equality and also want to advocate women's rights local to global. 

Even after facing number of challenges, I am happy and proud to be leader because I have  received lot of trust and support from many male members from my team, from farmers, vendors and veterinary experts for successfully completion of project. CIP Fellowship, World Pulse  has gave me lot of courage to express myself and encouraged my leadership to handle challenges.

 

 

 

Comments 6

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Hello, Shilpa,

Wow, congratulations on this cattle livelihood project! What a great initiative. Thank you for proving that women CAN do what society thinks we CAN’T do. I’m so proud of you for winning the respect of the people from your community because of your hardwork and dedication.

There are no challenges that you cannot overcome, sister. Keep up the great work. Thank you for sharing your story!

SHILPA KASHELKAR
Jul 11
Jul 11

Dear Karen
Thanks for feedback and support. Connected and feeling happy.
Stay connected.
Regards
Shilpa

You’re welcome, sister. Yes, I’m just here waiting for your next post.

By the way, please visit our Resources Page. There are lots of opportunities there for India.

Hope you have a great day!

Dawn Arteaga
Jul 11
Jul 11

Congratulations on this very important and very challenging project! You are confronting a lot of stereotypes head on and proving, by example, that women are perfectly capable of handling both the manual labor and the business side work. Be patient, you will not always be working only with men! I see this as a wonderful reflection of your character! I am with you in solidarity - and don't forget, you can always express your challenges and frustrations to your sisters on World Pulse when you need to be lifted up. We are here for you!

SHILPA KASHELKAR
Jul 11
Jul 11

Dear Dawn
Thanks for your understanding, concern and for all love. I am happy by connecting with you and all world Pulse family.
Regards
Shilpa

Jill Langhus
Jul 13
Jul 13

Hi Shilpa,

You rock! Thanks for sharing your really inspiring story with us and for blazing the trail for the current, and future generations of women. Indeed, we can do anything, and this needs to be challenged. I'm glad that four women were even interested in doing what you're doing. Next time there will be more, and they will inspire others to do the same. Please keep doing what you're doing. I hope that traveling with these men is safe, however, and that they're respectful of you?!

Hope you're having a great weekend! I'm looking forward to seeing more posts from you!