How a child bride from Bihar grew up to become a woman rights activist for tribals

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Jaya Devi stopped going to school after sixth standard, and was married off at the age of 12. By the time she was 18 she already had 3 children. But none of that stopped her from treading her own path through hostility and regression. Through tree plantations, water harvesting and community participation she has brought about a green revolution in the Munger district of Bihar, and is known as the Green Lady of Bihar.

With the deep conviction to make women self-reliant, she has promoted 285 women self-help groups with a cumulative deposit of over 2.5 crore. According to Red Rickshaw Revolution, Jaya started out setting up self-help groups in the Karaili village to serve the marginalized community, especially women to become financially independent and avoid money lenders. She says,

“What makes me proud to be a woman is that I don’t need a man to take care of me – I am self-reliant and have helped other women achieve the same. Today, every woman should work towards improving her status in the society and for they need to know that by demanding equal status they are just practicing their right.”

She has educated 2,000 women, helped people with important documents such as ration cards, voter id’s and pensions. She continues to fight against sexual harassment of tribals, to make her region pollution free zone and to ensure proper infrastructure, education and nutritional facilities for the children in her area.

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