In an event for TED at Vancouver, Chetna Gala Sinha, a resident of a rural village community shares stories of successful initiatives taken by the women of her village. She recounts the struggles and trials they faced, and how they persevered to take ahold of their lives on their own.
Sinha represents all the women of her village as she delivers an awe-inspiring account of how strong, motivated rural women fought against ordeals and became successful and independent. What is even heart warming is that, throughout her whole talk, she uses the words, “our women” to refer to her companions, which is a testament to their unity and camaraderie. In her moving speech, she talks about the difficulties they faced, and how these obstacles led to them becoming literate, capable and independent individuals. She shares stories of confident, accomplished women, who made great strides in overcoming injustices and even centuries-old caste-based oppression.
The first anecdote she shared was about an independent ,rural women’s savings bank. She relayed the event that transpired, talking about how after being denied a simple savings account, herself and the women of her village decided to open their own bank, which then went on to reach unforeseen heights of success. She explains how they used modern advents of technology to help expand the reach of the bank for even more women. Sinha remarks how she, too, is inspired by these women. “That reinforced the teaching which I have always learned from women: never provide poor solutions to poor people.”
The second story she recounts is about a cattle camp, another woman’s initiative, which provided water and fodder for animals during droughts. She goes on to talk about how a Dalit woman educated herself, broke caste barriers and became one of the most accomplished veterinarians in India. She also narrates the story of a 15-year-old hockey player from their village, who is training to be part of the Indian Hockey Team for the Olympic Games.
The tales she tells about these beautifully-fierce women offers hope and encouragement to all humanity. They fill us with pride and amazement at what a strong will and determination can realise. “…at first you may think that they do not have anything to say, they do not have anything to share. You would be so wrong,” she says, and continues, “As one of them said: ‘my courage is my capital’, and I say here, ‘their courage is my capital.'”
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