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Empowering Rural Women: Tapaswini’s Inspirational Journey

Meramandali: In the tranquil village of Kurunti, nestled within the Odapada block of Dhenkanal district, a captivating narrative of empowerment and resilience unfolds. Tapaswini Naik, a shining beacon of hope and determination, has emerged as a symbol of women empowerment, inspiring her fellow villagers. Transitioning from a humble homemaker to a self-reliant entrepreneur, she stands as an exemplary figure within the community.

Tapaswini’s path towards self-reliance commenced with the inception of the Women Empowerment & Entrepreneurship (WEE) project by Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) in the periphery villages surrounding the Tata Steel Meramandali plant. This initiative aimed at fostering gender equality and uplifting rural women. With the support of TSF, Tapaswini established a grocery shop in 2019 through the WEE project. Despite the adversities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, she emerged as the sole provider for her family, showcasing remarkable resilience and determination. Presently, her business flourishes, yielding a monthly profit ranging from Rs. 12,000 to Rs 15,000, elevating her stature within her family and community.

Within the framework of the WEE initiative, the “Gruhalaxmi Bahumukhi Mahila Utpadika Samabaya Samiti Ltd.” was founded under the Orissa Cooperative Societies Act of 1962. This cooperative has served as a platform for over 2,000 women, including Tapaswini, to delve into micro-enterprises and enhance their socio-economic standing.

Tapaswini’s entrepreneurial prowess not only thrived but also led her to assume a leadership role within the Gruhalaxmi Cooperative as a Board Director. Beyond business, she actively collaborates with governmental and non-governmental entities to drive community development initiatives.

Tapaswini’s narrative echoes as an inspiration for women in her community, who now regard her as a role model and primary source of guidance and support. Her empowering message resounds clearly: “I wish for women to find their independence, because confidence is something that can open doors to miracles.” Through her transformative journey with the TSF’s Gruhalaxmi project, Tapaswini embodies the essence of empowerment, encouraging women to explore entrepreneurship and embrace self-sufficiency.

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