Lured by money, rewarded with respect
Why were you chosen as a trainee?
I was interested because of the money I could earn. Over a period of six months, 15 other poor women like me were trained.
Are all of them caretakers of handpumps?
No, only nine of us were assigned pumps. We undertake repair works too.
How about your family?
I have four children. One them is married. We have no land. My husband works as a daily-wage farmhand when he is lucky enough to get work. Our main source of income is the Rs 410 the Jal Nigam pays me every month.
Has the situation changed after you started working?
I make all the major decisions in the household. I have a lot of izzat (respect) in the community.
What was the reaction in the village when you and the other women started working?
Since we were the first women to work for a salary, we were spurned and jeered at by the villagers. My mother-in-law created such a furore that I felt like quitting the job.
What about the villagers?
Even the village elders respect me now. Because I cycle down to nearby villages and sometimes to the town, they often consult me about any work they have outside the village