Success Stories of Skilled Women from Empower Pragati

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Promila Sarang – Trainer

EMP_TR_PROMILAPromila is one of the oldest and most experienced trainers working at Empower Pragati. She began her career in 2001, soon after completing Class 12, when she joined Chetanalaya as a special educator and SHG promoter. She worked there for 11 years before joining Empower Pragati.

After completing her Class 12 she did not think it necessary to continue with her studies. She wanted to start working and was never too keen on pursuing a formal education. She says that it was a Herculean task for her parents to get her to study as a child. She loved playing sport and was the crowd puller in her street, so much so that even until today, her street is the hub for children to play in. “Ye ladki toh ghordi ki tarah dordti hai” is what the neighbours would say to her parents every time they watched her scampering down the street. She never had any inclination or the desire to score marks unless it meant getting a gift from her teacher. She says that it is this great love for sport that has lead her to inculcate numerous activities in her training delivery. She confesses to making her classroom sessions as lively and participatory as possible as she feels that it helps the trainees learn better.

As she was just 18 years old when she had joined Chetanalaya she was initially looked down upon by the senior staff. No one believed that such a young girl was fit for the job she had been hired to do. It was also difficult for her to lead a team of people as no one really wants to listen to a young girl. However, she slowly gained the confidence of her staff members and others through her hard work and friendly attitude. As part of her work she would deliver awareness sessions on issues such as women empowerment, domestic violence, dowry, health and hygiene, pregnancy etc. in the communities that Chetanalaya worked in. She was also a special educator for physically and mentally challenged children. She conducted special education/tuitions for these children where the focus was on how to make them self sufficient when it comes to day to day work. Another sphere of her work was working with the elderly by providing them with medical treatment and medicines.

In 2011, Promila met a community counselor from Empower Pragati and just after a brief interaction an interest towards skill development training was aroused in her. She was hugely motivated by the idea of empowering people through livelihood generation. She had always wanted to work with the youth and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. Promila spent an entire month training her co-workers at Chetanalaya before leaving and until today is in touch with the people in the community that she worked in.

She joined Empower Pragati in 2011 and what motivates her to keep going everyday is watching the lives of so many young people transform in front of her eyes. She believes that a single positive transformation can be a huge change agent in the society. The youth will directly affect his/her family, which will in turn ring about a change in the environment. After working in Empower Pragati for sometime Promila was encouraged by others to pursue her higher education. She was very reluctant to do but in 2013, she managed to complete her graduation.

Promila’s father was a DTC foreman and her mother a home maker. She says that in all her days spent with her family she had never witnessed any kind of violence or disturbances at home. Her father had left his family behind at their native village and migrated to Delhi alone and so it was a nuclear family that she had been brought up in. Until today, Promila’s parents are an inspiration for her. She says that she is forever guided by her parents’ love and compassion toward others. Since the street outside their home was risky for children to play in, their father would keep the hall beneath their house open for the children to come in and play. He loved children so much that he would invite them over and would also give them his daughters’ toys to play with. Today, Promila feels the same love and compassion for her students. A lot of parents come and leave their children under Promila’s charge. They leave it up to her to instill confidence in their wards and change their lives. Today, she has won the trust of the community to such an extent that a lot of students see her as their second mother.

While sharing some interesting anecdotes about her childhood period, Promila recollects that the moment the siblings had completed their 10th standard, their parents would switch roles with them. The girls would now be called ‘Ma’ and the parents would be ‘Beta’. From that day onward, her parents would transfer all their responsibilities to them. The girls would now have to look after their parents and manage the household too. Her father would come and give his salary to his daughters, who would then decide how to spend it.

When asked about the most trying period in her life, she remembers the time that followed soon after the death of her mother. Her father had gone into deep depression and was lost from home for 15 days. No one knew of his whereabouts. The family went berserk looking for him for days only to find him sitting on a footpath chatting with rickshaw pullers one day. He had no recollection that he had been away from home for the past 15 days. He was completely conscious about his whereabouts and recognized his children too. However, he was never the same man again and he too passed away two years later.

After the death of their parents, the daughters married each other off independently. They were able to do it because their parents had taught them how to be independent from a very young age onward. Promila has had various opportunities to move ahead in her career but she chooses to stay on because she loves this job of hers. She still remembers every candidate she has ever trained and is in touch with them too. She does not think she will receive so much love in any other job. When her father was lost for 15 days, she had hundreds of well wishers helping her look for him, all because of the small but crucial part she has played in their lives. “Never be afraid of struggle.” she says, “The more you struggle, the stronger you become.”

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