Rupali Ushakant Saatpute’s journey of self-discovery helped her break societal restraints and reach her full potential. Today, the proud entrepreneur is even able to contribute to her children’s future.
G D Anderson once famously remarked, “Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” Mrs Rupali Ushakant Saatpute is the perfect example of this.
Rupali lives with her in-laws, husband and two children. In her family, a woman stepping out of the four walls of her home to earn a living was virtually unheard of. This narrow mindset was not restricted to just her family members either, but extended to her neighbours as well.
Rupali picked up tailoring at a very young age, thanks to her parents who were both tailors. Although she was ambitious from the very beginning, she never got a platform to express her talent.
Four years ago, her opinion didn’t hold much weight with her family members. She would spend her days completing her daily chores, shuttling her daughters to and from school, and taking care of her in-laws. Her entire life revolved around her family and the thought of starting her own tailoring business never occurred to her, nor was she motivated to do the same.
Her two daughters studied in St. Catherine’s School where she found out about Animedh Charitable Trust (ACT). She learnt that it was conducting a tailoring class and decided to join it. In 2013, after completing a 3 month tailoring course, she decided to join their personality development class.
The class brought about an immense change in her personality. It helped her realise her potential and made her more confident, not just about herself but also about her tailoring skills.
The change has been quite drastic for Rupali and she is glad about the way things have turned out. Three years ago, Rupali was a homemaker while her husband, Ushakant Satputte worked in a photo studio. Her husband earned Rs.12,000 a month, on which their family of six was forced to survive. Today, Rupali earns Rs. 5,000 a month. This has not only helped her contribute monetarily to the family and see to its advancement, but has also helped her gain a stronger position in the household.
Her remarkable journey from being a housewife with no income to becoming a businesswoman who earns enough money every month to support her family, has made her an inspiration to a lot of people. She is also viewed as a shining role model in her peer group.
Currently, she is in charge of ACT’s Project Shivan, an incubator that helps women tailor garments in bulk. Here, women are given orders from government or private factories for different types of garments, which they learn to sew. In Shivan, she is directly mentoring five other women to become entrepreneurs like her.
“When I used to step out of the house earlier, I used to feel very scared and used to say ‘What will the neighbours say?’ After I completed the tailoring course, I started stitching clothes for my children and then began to take outside work as well. The first order I took up was to stitch school uniforms and post that I was asked to interview the ladies who were keen on joining the tailoring course. This made me quite confident. I was then offered to take charge of the ACT tailoring project ‘Shivan.’ Tailoring has completely changed my life,” says Rupali.
Rupali’s story is an example of the wonders a woman can achieve if she is unshackled from the restraints society places on her.
“Have confidence and don’t fear anything. Go out, meet people and trust your instincts. The world is not limited to just four walls. Explore the world out there and find yourself,” is Rupali’s word of advice to other women life her.
It is time we saw the value in helping a woman realise her full potential. Families where women are allowed to work not only help the economic status of the household but also serve as an inspiration and role model to their kids.
To follow similar stories of hope and change and how you can be a part, visit: www.animedhtrust.org
The volunteers of Animedh are currently raising funds to organise workshops and promote the objectives of ACT towards Children’s Education, Women Empowerment, etc. You can also contribute on http://www.animedhtrust.org/DonateNow.aspx