Bishnupriya works to better the depressed communities living in Kandhamal, emerging as an effective social worker in her own community and others.
Kumari Bisnupriya Pradhan, 20 years old, works is a Community Resource Person (CRP) for the Pathways Program in G. Udayagiri Block, Kandhamal. Bisnupriya is of the Kui tribe, local in the villages in which she serves.
Besides working as a CRP, Bishnupriya is a college student completing her graduation requirements remotely. She studies from her site in the mornings and the evenings. But she also enjoys visiting and gossiping with friends and neighbors and playing local games like khoko, kabadi, and kaudi with girls in the village.
She officially slips into her role as CRP at 9 AM, but works as she is needed by her community. She works with members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and other organized village institutions who often meet outside of her designated hours.
In January of 2012, PRDATA was conducting a survey of Bishnupriya’s region, and she started her career as a surveyor. CARE conducted a survey of collectives in the area that same year, and Bishnupriya was hired for her knowledge of the area and relationships in the community. Proactively helpful during surveys and familiar with collective members, Bishnupriya was identified as a Community Resources Persons for the Pathways Program.
Bishnupriya was motivated by what she saw during the surveys. The communities, and women in particular, were facing many challenges: poor literacy, no venue for vocal expression, limited insight on their social and economic situation, little understanding of their resources and its productivity and value, antiquated agricultural techniques.
Once selected as CRP, Bishnupriya received a lot of training and support from CARE. She was trained in technical skills including farming technologies to enhance productivity, livestock care, and marketing and value addition for surplus produce. But she was most impacted by trainings in gender, including implementing equity and equality for her project villages.
But the trainings didn’t just impact the communities. Bishnupriya was able to use them to advocate on her own behalf. As is the social custom of her tribal community, Bishnupriya was expected to marry at 18 years old. Unwilling to be forced into marriage by her parents, Bishnupriya requested of them and community elders that the marriage be delayed.
Though it took some convincing, the elders and her parents ultimately agreed, and she has become a role model for other girls and their parents in nearby villages.
– Contributed by Pathways India