Divya Rawat, popularly known as “The Mushroom Lady” among locals. Divya lost her father when she was only seven-year-old. Hailing from a small village in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, Divya had to face a lot of difficulties from her childhood.
After completing her graduation she was getting lucrative offers from MNCs, but her love for villagers led her to reject all the offers and she went to Delhi to pursue Masters of Social Work.
After completing her post-graduation, she decided to go back to her home in Uttarakhand and start a business where she is able to empower women of hills. Divya came back to Dehradun, where she learned about mushroom business and later started mushroom farming with almost no cash in hands. Since then, she has never looked back and now it’s a well-run business in the city. She has been felicitated with several awards from state government like Sanjivani Rattan for agri-entrepreneur.
She wanted to do something about this situation and the big push came when Uttarakhand was hit by the tragic floods of 2013. Divya immediately quit her job and went back to Dehradun. Her plan was to try and revive decent livelihoods for the people of Uttarakhand. She wanted people to find employment and lead dignified lives within the state. And she also wanted those who had left for the cities to come back home. Her decision to leave everything to return to village ! Everyone was shocked to hear her decision of moving back to the village. They thought she just wasting the peak time of her career. No one was happy so she moved out alone. Everyone thought that something has gone wrong in her head. It was in Dehradun that she came to know about this mushroom business and learnt the intricacies of it and launched her own mushroom farming. It is interesting to note that mushroom is a cash crop and could be cultivated indoors also. Thereby effects of natural calamities could be avoided. Another advantage of this mushroom cultivation is it needs less space when compared to others.
My Mission is to develop the Self-Employment opportunities in our Uttarakhand's Villages by giving the technical trainings to villagers to stop migration.
Women-empowerment is an issue which has always been in the headlines in our country. Of course the government is doing all in its power to highlight and endorse the rights and equality for women, but there are certain individuals that have stepped up and their actions have caused women-empowerment to get propelled further in our society. One such individual is Kavita Bisht.
What sets her contribution apart is her own story of her fall and consequent rise against all odds. Kavita is an acid-attack victim. Easily her struggle and hardship may lead you to empathizing with her, but she’s not running for just that. Despite her own ordeal, Kavita is a young woman who decided to not let her scars dictate to her. Instead of sulking at her losses, she decided to stand up and utilize her misfortune for creating awareness about acid attacks in our society.
The tragic episode took place seven years ago which resulted in Kavita losing her looks and also her eyesight. Her fighter’s spirit led her to become the voice of women-empowerment today. Recognizing her for her continual efforts directed to do good for women, the Uttrakhand government has named her as the brand ambassador for women’s empowerment. And what makes this bestowment more special is the fact that she is the first female acid-attack victim to get this honor.
Kavita is not somebody who hails from an affluent family. She comes from a very humble background where she saw her father toil hard to earn bread. But thanks to her difficult upbringing, Kavita is very well able to relate with the problems young women have to face in rural areas. The manner in which Kavita fought with her demons in the aftermath of the attack garnered a lot of praise from women-centric groups from all over.
Kavita has been the recipient of several awards too. She was awarded the State Women Honor in 2014 and 2015.
With her experience Kavita has been able to strike a chord with womenfolk, inspiring them to build attributes of confidence, dignity, and integrity in their personality.
While working for the betterment of women, Kavita is associated with several other initiatives such as the ‘Beti Bachaao – Beti Badhaao’ campaign – an initiative aimed at encouraging education and upliftment of girl-child across the country.
Whilst her involvement in social causes in applause-worthy, Kavita did not forget to work towards her own upliftment. In the midst of occupancy, Kavita managed to find the time and energy to invest in learning various useful skills – such as learning how to operate a computer, stitching, etc. What’s interesting to note is that after mastering the basics of the newly-learned skills, Kavita has ably taught the same to others – including women and visually-impaired students.
Kalawati Devi Rawat knows how to get things done. Plain and simple. No matter the adversary, Rawat over the last 30 years has made it a habit of coming out on top. She’s taken on corrupt government officials, the timber Mafia and alcoholism, and prevailed each time, making a real difference in the lives of women (and men for that matter) in one remote Indian village. Her accomplishments have won her a profile in the BBC’s ongoing “Unsung Heroes” series, which spotlights people in India who make life better for those around them. Rawat’s story of activism began in the early 1980s, shortly after she was married. She and her husband lived in Bacher village in northern India, an area that seemed so remote that wiring it for electricity seemed impossible. Not that it actually was too remote to be part of the grid. As Rawat discovered, the lack of electricity had more to do with government officials’ malaise than the faraway location of the village. Rawat had rallied a group of women to lobby the officials to do something, but they blew her off. On the way back from local government headquarters, the BBC reports, Rawat and her band of women found power lines, which they carried back to Bacher. Once there, Rawat and the women went through the laborious task of using their haul to connect the village to the power grid. But when officials learned of what happened, they threatened to pursue criminal charges against her. As word spread, though, more and more women spoke out and pleaded with police to arrest the officials. Eventually, they backed off and allowed the village to stay connected. Later, Rawat noticed an unusual relationship between the alcoholism that was plaguing men in her village and the local timber Mafia. It turns out, the men, while under the influence — which was often — were easy targets for being taken advantage of, a fact that organized criminals were happy to take advantage of. “Many men in and around my husband’s village were alcoholics and they were being exploited by the timber mafia gangs that operated in the area,” Rawat told the BBC. “One morning, I went into the forest along with the other women to fetch cattle fodder when I saw that all the trees were marked with a chalk to be felled later.” Their drunken weakness was putting the forest at risk of being totally wiped out. That’s when Rawat sprang into action again and was once again successful, this time using strategies inspired by the “chipko movement” of the 1970s.
Cheetah police is a team of bike-borne policemen who rush to spots of incidents as soon as they are reported. This will be the first time that the force will have women constables in the wing, he said. “It’s a good initiative for providing policewomen more opportunities. We hope the induction of policewomen in the cheetah police will help us to control crime against women.