Women from indigenous and grassroots communities are often also custodians of traditional knowledge, which is key for their communities’ livelihoods, resilience, and culture. They are integral in the rural economy as farmers, wage earners, and entrepreneurs.
Empowering rural women by creating employment opportunities contributes to inclusive and economic growth, but they need financial support to revival the rural economy for the long term.
In the Small village of Sikkim, Temi Tarku we found a woman named Geeta Chettri who is known as “Jalebi Didi” as she was very expert in making Jalebi by her hand without using any technique.
Geeta Chettri, 40 yrs old mother of three sons, faced lots of hardship before share started her small venture. She currently lives in the far village of Lower Pabong, South Sikkim. Most people during occasion invite her to make Jalebi which is her major source of Income.
She said that ‘I learned a lot to make the most delicious Julabi in the village and instantly got positive feedbacks from many people which kept me motivated to do something new’.
Now, ‘She tries her every effort to make her customers happy by putting her dedication into making the tastiest Jalebi, She has great feedback from South Sikkim.
During interaction with The Sikkim Today, she said, she often gets recognized in almost every corner of the village and many other places as well. Due to this, her demands for Jalebi at different functions on a large and small scale have been a successful experience for her to run the family, she mentioned.
She also got a job offer from many good restaurants. However she denied because she wants to lead an example as “Self-Empowered” from rural areas to lead others, she just wishes govt to provide an equal provision of rural services and infrastructure, it is possible to facilitate women’s access to startup, productive resources, and build on their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Despite seeing her business growth, she said she wishes to start a venture where she can train 20 women to make Julabi and send them to occasion in every corner of Sikkim wherever they will get invited.
There is a requirement to focus and make efforts to increase women’s representation in local institutions and governance mechanisms and include them in decision-making within their households and communities. Sikkim Government must focus on this to uplift rural women. Women empowerment has progressed beyond being an urban phenomenon as the government and various welfare organisations are trying to bring a paradigm shift at the grassroots level.
Geeta has a dream to set up her venture to another level and hire more woman if she got help from Government’s side to set up her venture.
If you want to take a ziaka (taste) of her Julabi then you can visit Chalamthang Village Tourism near the entrance of the venue on the auspicious ongoing celebration for Rukum Gangchung Eco Village Tourism Cum Gyalpo/Sherpa Losar Festival-2021 in Rukum Taar, Gangchung, South Sikkim.
Geeta, 40 years old, is one example of a successful project taken forward by a woman for the prosperity of her family and community that too all by herself with her effort. The need of the hour is thoughtful planning, considering complex social, economic, and cultural nuances, decision-making dynamics within the community, and access to resources. It is important to thoroughly consider, research, and collaborate necessary actions for holistic and long-lasting solutions that will help in empowering women in the true sense.
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