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Village Woman Ensures Better Future For Her Daughters

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In the lower foothills of the Himalayas, local women do their best to earn a living in agriculture and handicraft. Like Gopuli Devi, who works at Kumaun Grameen Udyog, partner of Women on Wings.

Living the rustic life

Gopuli says she’s somewhere ‘in her early forties’. She was not registered at birth, like many people in rural India. When she was a child, it was also common that girls did not get schooling. Gopuli went go to school up to Class 3. From then on, she had to support her mother doing daily household chores. Gopuli was married off at the tender age of 16, which in the villages was a reasonable age in those days. Fortunately, rural India has developed over the years. New laws make sure girls are not left behind with regards to e.g. education and India leads South Asia with its rapid decline in child marriages.

Money of her own

Inspired by other women in her village who had attained financial independence, Gopuli started working in 2015 as a knitter at Kumaun Grameen Udyog (KGU).
woman knitting
This work can be done from home and gives her the flexibility to do other household chores, like farm work, looking after domestic animals and collecting fodder from the mountains. Sometimes Gopuli works one to two hours per day, sometimes more. She earns a minimum of 800 to 900 Rupees which is additional family income and entirely managed by herself.

Educating daughters

Gopuli has two daughters and one son. She is educating all of them. She told Women on Wings: “I ensure that my girls get all the opportunities that I didn’t get. Working at KGU gives me the opportunity to be financially independent. I feel I now have more self-confidence and self-esteem, because my income contributes to my family’s and particularly to my children’s future. I want to teach my children that they can take their future in their own hands. But education is key for a better future.”
KGU ploughs back all profit into rural development activities in the Kumaon region at the lower foothills of the Himalayas. KGU strives to give quality and a fair deal to both the customer and the rural producer.
KGU sells various products under its brand name Kilmora, which include hand woven and hand knitted textiles, apricot skin care products, organically grown culinary herbs, cereals, spices, jams, chutneys and juices. KGU and Women on Wings started collaborating in 2017. In a region largely dependent on subsistence agriculture and a variable fruit crop, KGUs outreach gives a meaningful income to the rural families it is involved with.