Growing up in Aurangabad with no connection to farming, Savita Dakle never thought she would become a farmer one day.

Raised in a financially unstable household, she started working at a factory at the young age of 15.

By the time she was 17, Savita was married off and was forced to work in the fields.

“I was married into a family of farmers and I knew nothing about farming, having grown up in Aurangabad. I had spent so many days crying,” she recalls.

She recalls not being able to walk properly in the fields but the only thing that kept her going was that she did not want to let her father down.

In 2004, she heard about a workshop being conducted by SEWA, an organisation that works exclusively to uplift women. She was eager to learn and attended the workshop.

After vigorous rounds of interviews, she was finally chosen to be a part of the organisation. This gave her a sense of independence and Savita worked harder to perform well.

“I would go to the field at 10 am and work there until sunset, when I would come back and make dinner and spend time with my children. It is only after dinner that I left home again to work with the women and help them with organic farming methods,” she says.

It was this desire that pushed Savita to launch her Facebook group, Women in Agriculture in October 2017, which has over 7 lakh members.

Working with the organisation gave her a sense of self that she wanted other women to have too.

“On this online community, I teach women about organic farming, tips and tricks of sowing and harvesting different types of crops, pricing them and even some marketing techniques,” she says.

In recognition of the work that Savita’s online community has done, in 2018, she was invited to visit the Facebook office in Gurugram.

“Earlier, I was dependent on my husband to take me out for even small errands. Now I am an independent woman. Even for that, I am thankful to her [Savita],” says Meera Sable, one of the women who was mentored by Savita.

Meanwhile, Savita notes, “We must take ownership and ensure that we are financially independent.”