Shipra Rathi The Rozgar Didi

Shipra Rathi: The Rozgar Didi

Success Stories Women

When contemplating the adage ‘If you educate a man, you educate an individual; if you educate a woman, you educate a family,’ Shipra Rathi felt compelled to translate these words into meaningful action.

A Gold medalist in M.A. Sociology from M.J.P. Rohilkhand University, Shipra incepted Khajani Welfare Society in 2007 to empower women of weaker sections by imparting skills in IT, Fashion, Beauty and Craft related fields. In over 16 impactful years, the NGO has touched the lives of over 15,000 women and supported 25,000 families once the students of Khajani Welfare Society have now become entrepreneurs, running parlours and boutiques not just in Mathura but also in bustling metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and overseas. 

How did you come up with the name “Khajani”? Is there any story behind this name?

The name ‘Khajani’ comes from ‘Khajana’, which means treasure, (‘Hunr ka Khazana’). Since the NGO is all about empowering women and is started and run by women, I wanted a name with a feminine touch. People naturally started saying ‘Khajani’, and I loved it. So, ‘Khajani’ became the perfect fit. And that’s how it became the ‘Khajani Welfare Society’.

Tell us more about the Khajani Welfare Society. What was the inspiration behind establishing the NGO? How far has the NGO come in 16 years?

I started the Khajani Welfare Society in 2007 in the heart of Braj, known as the land of Lord Krishna. I used to visit Mathura often. During my visits, I observed that women here didn’t have an identity or their own space. Motivated by my deep love for Lord Krishna and a personal connection to the cause of women’s empowerment, I chose Braj as the foundation for my efforts.

Currently, there are 18,000 women in the NGO where we teach them those skills that allow them to earn from the comfort of their homes. We provide classes in Arts and crafts, Stitching, Computer classes, Beauty Parlour courses, Traditional crafts, Advanced designing, and Fashion designing. 

The short courses provided by us span six months each and give proper training. Today, we have empowered over 15,000 women and supported 25,000 families. The students of my NGO run parlours and boutiques in Mathura and metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and abroad.

Your mission is to make Women of substance. Share one example that has touched your heart.

Shipra Rathi Nari Shakti

Although there are countless stories to share, I remember a girl who shouldered the responsibility of her family after her father became disabled due to an accident. As the eldest daughter, she not only took care of her father but also looked after her three sisters. She had artistic hands in paintings and mehendi. Through this talent, she supported her entire family.

When the Covid hit Mathura, a city heavily dependent on tourism, we took an initiative. I identified 50 women who were willing to work and invited them to the NGO. Despite resistance from some families due to the challenging circumstances, these women gathered, and I provided them with training in stitching cotton masks. They stitched over 12,000 masks each month. Not only did these women find a source of income, but their family members also joined in, boosting their overall earnings.

As the support continued, I  earned the title of ‘Rozgar Didi’. People started seeing me as a woman who could provide jobs. 

What are your plans for the future, especially for the NGO?

My focus for the future, especially for the NGO, has evolved with the responsibility that came with the name ‘Rozgar Didi’. We initially trained children, jail inmates, and ladies in Nari Niketan, but now the training modules are connected to entrepreneurship. These training courses are transforming women into ‘Job Givers’ rather than ‘Job Seekers’. Each trained woman here becomes a source of employment for other women, fostering a positive change in society.

Furthermore, I want to focus on their grooming and training, connecting them with banks and loans, teaching them how to create a self-help group, and inspiring them to learn digital marketing and sell their products online. It will help these women train others and help create a network.

We charge very nominal fees for each course and secure funding from different sources, including CSR funding and other supporters. We encourage the ‘Support the Supporter’ concept, wherein we ask women who have benefitted from NGOs to sponsor the fees of other women who seek training. 

Khajani is a place where women do not just receive basic training but also advanced training. Girls delve into in-depth knowledge about stitching machines – their types, names, and applications.

A Message From Shipra Rathi

The Khajani Welfare Society is always with you. As a woman, I want women to believe in themselves and focus on their goals. Parents should motivate their children to become independent. I urge others to support girls’ education by donating and joining us by becoming volunteers and taking online sessions such as communication skills and entrepreneurship sessions. Together, let’s support girls’ education and empower them to reach their dreams.

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