Handling Challenge

SHILPA KASHELKAR
Posted July 10, 2019 from India
Work with Mission & Committment
With Village Farmers at Cow Market
With Village Farmers at Cow Market (1/2)

Handling  Challenge 

As part of sustainable livelihood and income generation program for village women, I have handled one innovative program. For economic and social empowerment of women and their families, we have purchased total 300 cows with support of Rotary Club of Poona North  (RCPN), various other Rotary Clubs from District and DISHA organization within 2 years. We have given these cows to the 300 women beneficiaries from marginalised farmer families, from Maval Taluka and Mulshi Taluka of Pune District, Maharashtra, India as part of income generation project.

During  project period, with team I have conducted more than 40 market visits in 6 cow markets within Maharashtra State, with overnight journey from 5 hours 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 25 male members from beneficiary farmer's families and with my team members. 

Initially and even mid of the project, few experts and seniors from field suggested many things directly and indirectly to me that:-

  • Women can not handle this type of cow project, as it is very  demanding  project related to time, travel, finance, expertise & leadership. 
  • 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 and with heavy vehicles due to type of 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 with support of team. I have kept my health, friends  and family behind for my mission and work .

I have observed that in cow market, 90% men are handling all business. In villages, I observed that women are handling 90% of cow rearing 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 under control of men from family.

So during village level meetings and trainings, myself and my team members, we have discussed issues such as gender, dairy management and role of men and family in social and economic empowerment of women, with all community members. In few other districts and states, women are handling all matters related to Dairy management. I am also learning and working on same.

Myself and my team worked 24x7 and completed our mission before time. After successfully completing work,  again many people raised many issues regarding my work & leadership such as :-

  • You worked with men only 
  • You are continuously travelling with men 
  • Your team members are men

Finally they connected all issues to my character, and questioned my integrity and commitment towards my work for social cause. My commitment is for our society, people and social cause, so I ignored them and their views, and concentrated on my work. As around 25 years I am in social field and working for women's rights and people's empowerment.  

I am not against men, but i am raising my voice against patriarchy and patriarchal attitude of people. I am fighting for gender equality, justice and also advocating women's rights at all levels.

Even after facing number of challenges, I am happy and proud to be leader because I have also received lot of trust and support from many people -  such as my mentor & chairman of DISHA ( Brig. R. Jatar.), my team ( Mr.Santosh Vanjari & Mr.Sandip Bidkar), my Organization trustee ( Mrs.Indu Gupta), Rotary members ( Rtn.Kumar Shingare & Rtn. Kishin Bhagwanani),  vendors ( Mr. Khalil Shaikh, Mr. Akram Shaikh, Mr.Nadim Shaikh & family), veterinary experts ( Dr. Vardhaman), Rtn.Parimal Naik (Rotary Global Grant Evaluator) and farmer's families, villagers for successfully completion of project.

I have received  respect, support and love from women from all villages. All these women strengthen my leadership and inspired me to work for cause. Now after completion of income generation project of 300 families, our organization have received more 3 to 4 Cow Projects, I am happy for same. Now I can reach more and more marginalised families and will create support system for them.

All women beneficiaries, also 4 women beneficiaries who visited cow market with me, CIP Fellowship team and fellows, CIP Coach - Sonal Satelkar, World Pulse team, DISHA  team, my family members and friends... have given me lot of courage to express myself and encouraged my leadership to handle challenges.

Thanks to all for keeping trust on my leadership and my work for women and community empowerment.

This project was great learning opportunity for me. Cow project helped me to strengthen my capacities, knowledge and skills as leader.  I am thankful to all. 

Shilpa Kashelkar

 

 

Comments 9

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Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 12, 2019
Jul 12, 2019

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, 2019
Jul 11, 2019

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

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 12, 2019
Jul 12, 2019

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, 2019
Jul 11, 2019

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, 2019
Jul 11, 2019

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, 2019
Jul 13, 2019

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!

Poornam Foundation
Sep 20, 2019
Sep 20, 2019

Hi Shilpa,
This is Rajashri from Mumbai very much happy to read your post. Inspiring and daring. let's connect sometime. Let me know if I can be of any help to you.

Rajashri

Anita Shrestha
Oct 01, 2019
Oct 01, 2019

Dear Shilpa
Yes same problem facing in Nepal also when walking with men. But I never heard their talk.
'You worked with men only
You are travelling with men '
Be strong
What is good charater what is bad character, judgement is from ourside, we should not care other blame. Be strong, nothing happen.......................................

Nandkumar Palkar
Feb 17
Feb 17

शिल्पा,
तुझं जेव्हड कौतुक करावं तेव्हडे कमी आहे. खूप मोठं आणि प्रचंड काम तू करत आहेस. तुझा या धडाडीला खरंच मनापासून नमस्कार! पुढील वाटचालीसाठी खूप खूप शुभेच्छा!
काही मदत लागल्यास आपुलकीने हाक दे!
नंदू पालकर.