LAHAN, March 9: Three years ago, adding some loan to her savings, Ramjhari Yadav of Aurahi Rural Municipality-4, Khajanpur made up her mind to start an agricultural farm. When she shared her plan with others, she became a subject of mockery. Those who had only seen women lighting cooking stoves and raising children, could not control their laughter.
Regardless of the criticism and negativity, Ramjhari stuck to her goal and opened 'Women Integrated Agriculture Farm' in her village. Now, she is a role model to hundreds of Madhesi women. She is not just rearing cows, ducks and fish but is also farming fodder and vegetables. She is an example of what women can do if they will. Ramjhari who has challenged the traditional gender stereotypes said, "We just need to keep our calm and confidence, the day will come when the ones who mocked you will greet you."
According to her, every challenge is an opportunity if we overcome it. "Instead of worrying about what people will say, we must concentrate on our goal," she added. Inspired by her achievement, many women in her community dared to step into the world of business later. These days Madhesi women are found doing exemplary works in business proving many people wrong.
In 2015, by putting her 10 ~Idhurs of ~Iland as collateral, Ramjhari borrowed a loan of Rs 1 million from the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Mirchaiya. By using the loan and her savings, she got 46 katthas of land on lease for her farm. Currently she has nine ponds, 15 cows, 200 ducks. She makes around Rs 3,000 to 4,000 a day.
Over the years, the Madhesi society has changed its perspective toward women. Those women with good qualification, skills and courage have started exploring oportunities. Various awareness and skill-generating programs conducted by the government and I/NGOs have turned out to be fruitful for the women of late, says Laxmi Paudel, acting chief of the Cottage and Small Industry Office, Lahan
"We must not work just for earning money but for respect," said Ramjhari. She believes work does not just uplift the living standard of people but adds to their dignity. Apart from operating a farm, Ramjhari also spends her time providing sewing and cutting training to women. Though education is important, women like Ramjhari have proved that it is the skills and dedication what matter the most. Housewives who want to explore the business world but hesitate due to their low educational qualification can look upto Ramjhari.
As her transformation and struggle can change the lives of many, she is actively seen participating in social activities for spreading awareness. In a month, she earns more than Rs 100,000. "The demand for my products is very high in the market. I wish I could expand my business further," said Ramjhari.
Unlike many women, she has been blessed with a supportive husband who has been with her through the thick and thin. She credits him for her success. "Her hard work, dedication, confidence and sincerity inspire me a lot," said her husband Ramprabal.