Closing the gender gap: women and girls in vocations previously dominated by their male counterparts

Sandhya (2)

Sandhya (Islampur, India) belonged to a poor income-generating household. Her parents work as wage laborers. It was getting difficult to make ends meet for the family. Sandhya studied till class 6 and after that she took care of her sibling and learned about cooking.

She got married at the age of 14. However, in her in-law’s house, their financial condition was also not good. Due to the poor economic condition at her in-law’s house, she had to work as a wage laborer too. She became a victim of domestic violence; her husband started abusing her and beating her even when she was earning money. She informed her parents about her situation so they brought her back to her maternal house.
She was feeling dependent on others and felt a need to do something on her own. When Mann Deshi Foundation’s Business School on-wheels came to her village she wanted to learn a skill, but didn’t enroll.
After some time, one of the staff went there for the survey, and Sandhya got to know about the free course offered by the Mann Deshi Foundation. She enrolled herself in that course and learned to make jewelry and tailoring through the training conducted under the GIRLS Inspire project. She started making earrings, necklaces and sewed blouse. she was now able to earn money. Along with that, she also learned about the digital financial literacy course and opened the Bank account and started saving money.
The Barefoot College had organized a three-month training in Rajasthan, aiming at empowering women through an electrification and solar power course. MDFs staff informed her about this program and it took ten days for her to get permission. Her parents didn’t not allow her to go Rajasthan. After many struggles, she succeeded in convincing her family and she went to Barefoot college and acquired skills such as installing, building, and repairing solar lamps and water pumps. After successfully completing the course, she came to her village Islampur and is now getting many orders for her work. The current situation due to spread of COVID 19 has posed many challenges in front of her but she is working on her craft and skills. She earns around 3,000 rupees a month.

Sandhya repairing a water pump
Sandhya Kate repairing a solar lamp