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Rural Women Form a Dairy Cooperative, Earn Wages and Respect

As a woman living in a rural village in India, Kamlesh “had no means of empowerment.” Today she is the president of a women’s dairy cooperative. A CFC-O-supported charity paid for training in dairy processing techniques, management, bookkeeping and marketing for the members of the dairy cooperative. While these women once lived in poverty, they are now earning steady incomes and own equipment to help their business grow.
These ladies wanted to earn money for their impoverished families, but they feared breaking social norms. They worried, “What will people say if I go out? If I speak to men?” After mustering up the courage to start the cooperative, the women faced some internal friction. Kamlesh says, initially, “there were arguments and difficulties in managing our time and duties.” But that soon subsided. “Now we all work seamlessly (…). Now we can all deal with clients, poor or rich; we can deal with traders and journalists,” shares Kamlesh.
The dairy has been a model for women’s cooperatives across their district and the state. Kamlesh explains, “In fact, we have become a training and resource agency.” The members of Kamlesh's cooperative are currently training two new dairy cooperatives.