Stories

Woman Breaks Norms To Make Money In Dairy

We speak highly of women empowerment every day and women stepping out of their houses to script success in all fields stereotyped to belong to that of men. And while you see many women proving their prowess in every field imaginable, it is undeniable that even now in some of the remote villages, women are not allowed to step out and help out in managing the finances for the family. She is not allowed to assist her husband or her father in managing the family, a family that she is a member of.

Every day there are women who break out of these shells and contribute the best way they can, making their family and the nation proud. And what we are seeing here is yet another success story of a woman who became the hero (or should we say heroine) of her family, her village and is truly an inspiration to many. This is the true story of Sajjanben Patel from Dhakha village in Banskantha, Gujarat.

Now if you are thinking she is a big shot in the village or she is a business woman, then you cannot be more wrong. However she is in no way less to those who have accomplished with their education in the cities. Her annual income today is more than 50 Lakh Rupees which given that she comes from a background where women cannot step out of their houses is an achievement in itself.

At 45 years of age, she is a woman accomplished and content with what she does. She supplies almost 400litres of milk to the dairy in her village every day and makes nearly half a Crore every year.  Belonging to the dairy society of Banaskantha, one of the largest dairies in the Asian continent, she has more than 100 cattle for milking at her farm.

As Sajjanben Patel recalls, “Setting up a dairy or for that matter running any business was often considered to be the job of men. However it was probably my destiny and thanks to the support of my family, I was quite successful in the dairy farming.”

Sendhabhai, husband of Sajjanben Patel says,” She (Sajjanben) always used to wake up quite early in the mornings. She fed all the cattle by herself and took them out for grazing to the nearby farmland. She was quite capable of handling everything individually. She was also helping out with our family’s crop farming and was handling this on the side.”

Sajjanben Patel hails from a village and caste which forbids women from stepping out of their houses and also imposes quite a few restrictions on them. And yet she had managed to lend a hand to her husband when required, in crop farming and also by starting up a dairy farm.

Did she imagine or dream that she will one day be earning half a Crore every year? When asked, she smiles and replies, “Never. Initially we had only couple of milch cows at our farm and the milking them was just a way to lend a hand in managing the finances in our house. I never imagined or dreamed of owning 100 or more cows, leave alone running a dairy farm. “

It may not have been possible for her without the support of her family. They supported her decision when she wanted to buy more cows and they have now shifted completely to dairy farming which seems to provide them with more profit. When Sajjanben was married into the village, her family was into crop farming. And as we all know, with rains overdue, drought was killing the farms and indirectly the farming families too. Sajjanben Patel’s house was no exception. They had to battle against Mother Nature and grow their crops to make a little profit. But thanks to the dairy farm, their living standards have gone up since then and they have managed to shift to dairy farming now.

Not only did Sajjanben help her family with financial assistance, but she also made them proud with the many awards and accolades she received. Both the government and the Banas dairy itself have conferred a lot of accolades on this inspirational lady. She has brought pride to her entire village.

In the words of the milk society’s secretary in Banaskantha, “The popularity of Banaskantha spread across the state, thanks to Sajjanben. There are people who visit our village and her dairy farm just to know how she manages and to see for themselves the accomplishments she has made in the field. We are very proud to have her from our village.”

That is not where the story ends though. Sajjanben managed to form a dairy society exclusively for women, by the name of Dhaka Village cooperative society. And thanks to her efforts and her intelligence, the society has been quite prominent in empowering women across the society in the village of Dhaka. The name of the society has become quite popular and there are more women who are joining it every day.

Being from a state that produces the most milk, it is no surprise that she found a strong foothold in the dairy industry and has a farm of her own now. This is the story of a woman who found inspiration in herself to go an extra mile and had made it successfully. Not only did she turn out successful, but she has also managed to inspire many women in the process.

The dairy societies have indeed brought on a lot of cheers and smiles all over the country and Sajjanben Patel is one of the many examples of families that have profited from this. It is quite an understatement that cows give lives. Looking from such stories of real life, you know that they definitely do give a chance for every person, man or woman, to survive with peace. For Sajjanben Patel, cows are her livelihood and she worships them along with her family.

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