How this 23-year-old woman from a Chhattisgarh village became a mechanic and opened a garage to support her family
With the help of iLEAD, Satrupa Anant, of Bhaandi village in Bilaspur district, Chhattisgarh, became a mechanic to support her family. Later, she opened a garage of her own and is now a successful woman entrepreneur.
Like most villages in Chhattisgarh, people in Bhaandi village in Bilaspur district work in farms, with agriculture being the primary occupation.
While women have not made great inroads when it comes to employment, one woman is showing others what will and determination can do, if you put your mind to it.
Twenty-three-year-old Satrupa Anant, a resident of Bhaandi village, decided to become a two-wheeler mechanic to support her family. She did not just stop at that. She went on to become an entrepreneur and opened a garage, where she also provides training to youth from neighbouring villages.
Her story is important because a number of women in villages in India’s interiors are still bound by shackles of patriarchy and tradition that prevent them from going out to work.
Fulfilling her father-in-law’s dream
After completing her Class 12 from the Higher Secondary School in Bhaandi, Satrupa got married into a joint family where she was the elder daughter-in-law.
She says, “I had always wanted to contribute to the family income. As I lacked formal education, I could not take up a job - something that troubled me often and that I wanted to change about myself.”
She also felt that after getting married, it was also her responsibility to support her in-laws.
“My father-in-law, who passed away after I got married, always wanted to open a garage but because of financial constraints, he could not do so. I decided to fulfil his dream by enrolling myself in the automobile course at Initiative for Livelihood Education and Development (iLEAD),” she says.
The 75-day training Satrupa received from iLEAD was comprehensive and included every aspect of automobile repairs – from identifying faults, servicing vehicles, and more. She also received training in basic computer literacy, communicative English, and a few sessions on personality development.
A complete transformation
This decision, Satrupa says, transformed her life many times over. After completing the course, she started her career as an assistant supervisor at Jaspar Car Care, Bilaspur, where her role included tele-calling and maintaining service records of vehicles and customers service. Later, she was shifted to the technical support unit where she was responsible for diagnosing faults in vehicles that had come for repair and also servicing of two-wheelers.
Noticing her hard work and determination to go further, iLEAD approached Satrupa and asked if she would like to open a two-wheeler garage of her own.
“I prepared my business proposal with the help of the iLEAD team, which was accepted, and soon started to look for a place for my garage. The setup, from branding to toolkits and other equipment, was in place. The iLEAD team was always there to guide me at each and every step, be it account handling, or maintaining the stock register. Now I have been successfully running Satrupa’s iGarage for the past one year and also provide training to youth from neighbouring villages,” she says.
Helping her family
Satrupa’s day begins at 8 am and involves interacting with customers from various walks of life, attending to their complaints, and repairing two-wheelers.
“I was lucky to receive support from my family and well-wishers. It took me some time to gain confidence of people as they had never thought that a woman could also do such tasks, which are usually done by men. My husband has been my biggest support; he also helps me in managing my enterprise now,” Satrupa says.
The young entrepreneur has also been able to help her family in many ways. “We used to live in a kuccha house, but with my savings I am helping my family construct a pakka house,” she says.
She earns around Rs 10,000-12,000 in a month which, she says, is much more than a conventional job would have offered her.
Choose the unconventional
iLEAD is a flagship programme of Aide et Action, which focuses on promoting livelihood education among youth from under-privileged families and those with low educational qualifications through short term-training.
“Satrupa’s success will inspire more women to strive for their financial independence and challenge the stereotypes,” says Dr Aishwarya Mahajan, Director, iLEAD.
Meanwhile, Satrupa urges more women to come forward and opt for unconventional job choices.
“If I can become a mechanic, why can’t other women? Women may face several challenges initially such as resistance from family, but should take them in their stride. It is important to believe in your dreams and face obstacles with courage and fortitude.”
In the future, the young entrepreneur wants to expand her venture to new locations. “I also intend to add on a host of services. My ultimate goal is to have more happy customers,” Satrupa says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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