Kalpana Saroj was born into a Dalit family in a small village named Roperkheda in Maharastra. She was forcibly married at the age of 12 and faced many hardships that eventually drove her to attempt suicide.
At 16, she left her husband and was ostracized by society.
But that didn’t stop her from finding a new future. She moved to Mumbai with one of her uncles, who taught her how to operate an industrial sewing machine. Kalpana went on to take a government loan to start a tailoring business. Soon, she opened a furniture store and eventually paid back her loans. Remembering her past, she started an NGO which gives finance to other underprivileged people.
For most, this is where the story would end, and routine life takes over. Not for Kalpana.
You can watch the rest of her amazing story here:
By 2000, she had experience in three powerful spheres of life – personal struggle, entrepreneurship and the finances of blue-collar workers. Perhaps this is why she was approached by the bankrupt workers of the Union of Kanmani Tubes, a metal engineering company.
They had an interesting request for her NGO. They wanted someone to help them overcome a debt of Rs 116 Crore. Kalpana agreed.
When the company went into liquidation in 2001, she took over as the Chief Executive Officer, and after a long battle, not only did the company overcome the debt but also became highly profitable!
For such efforts, and her personal spirit, in 2013, Kalpana was awarded the Padma Shri for Trade and Industry.