What are the criteria for success? A well-paying job, savings, assets, loving family and luxuries. If you consider these as a success, yes, I had them all and hence could be considered as a successful lady, striving towards more and more. Coming from the least known district of Rayagada – Odisha, I believed that staying back in the town won’t fulfill my larger than life dreams. Just like any other motivated youth, I moved out to achieve them, crossing one goal after another. I traveled, learned, studied and worked from Delhi to London, to Greece and back to Delhi. Check-marking almost everything in my dream list, a thought struck my mind that I could go out to achieve my dreams, but how many did actually get the opportunity of chasing their dreams?
Every year, we see people migrating from rural to urban areas, in search of better education, amenities, jobs and much more. There surely would be cases of people who made it large, but unfortunately, not everyone succeeds in achieving their goals. The hefty expenses of living away from home, the traveling and a share of money to be sent home every month, leaves people with almost nothing saved for themselves. Why did the people of rural areas have to migrate, why couldn’t the cities reach out villages and towns?
Working in New Delhi with a known corporate, I had all that I needed, job security, money, and respect. Having everything, yet felt unsatisfied, as I saw the people back in my hometown and across different regions suffering from a number of issues. For everything that the society had offered me, it was my moral duty to give it back. Although my professional work included helping and uplifting societies, I went ahead and started helping people in my personal life as well. These acts gradually started giving me the utmost satisfaction and happiness I was seeking. Days turned into months and into years, then suddenly one day I received an opportunity from a leading group of companies to work for their development wing in Odisha and that too in my hometown, Rayagada.
For such an opportunity that I could never reject, there struck a thought in my mind. My two young daughters, who lived and studied in the best institutions across the world would be stripped off all the necessary amenities and luxuries. It was a very difficult decision to take for moving with my girls to move to such an interior place with least facilities. But then I wondered about the rest of the children belonging to that community, who needed help just like my kids did. I chose to create a difference and leaving all the luxuries behind, I moved to the place I was born – Rayagada.
Initially, this major change hit us hard, especially my family who had a tough time to adjust, but sooner we realized that to bring a substantial change to the community, we had to lose our comfort and luxury. Lucky enough, my daughters supported the cause, for they share the same goal of working for humanity. Instead of running away from the problems, it was time to create solutions for this community, so that the circle of migration could stop one day. Every day we learned something new and added to our experience of how to tackle problems of life.
The Rayagada district of Odisha faced a number of challenges, ranging from complete illiteracy, lack of clean drinking water, child marriage, substance abuse and numerous more. For an element rich soil that Rayagada had, the lack of farming knowledge served as a major challenge.
It has been since I moved here that myself, along with a team of people, have been working to bring substantial changes to the community through different means. For achieving a higher success rate, we are working to include government bodies, change-makers and the stakeholders of different industries out here. We have a common goal, to bring sustainable agriculture, livelihood, education, and amenities to the community.
On a personal level, education amongst genders and women empowerment have been my top goals, and I have been striving for the same in this community as well. It is my goal to bring more and more women to the mainstream society, where they become self-dependent, entrepreneurs and policymakers to bring a better fortune to the community. At the same time, I am working to initiate the Green Revolution in the district.
For all that I am doing and have done, it is the work of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam that has taught and guided me to go further and develop rural areas in such a way that no one needs to migrate for jobs, amenities, and services. As a human, an Indian and a woman, I extend my hand towards you to join in and create a sustainable ecosystem where everyone gets a fair chance, share and opportunity to succeed and grow.