Historically, most of the tribal villagers of Gambharia, India, earned a meager living as agricultural laborers. They worked hard during the monsoon season, but were unemployed the remainder of the year, leaving them in a cycle of poverty.
Saraswati Devi had the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty when she enrolled in the Intel-Udyogini School of Entrepreneurship. Along with thousands of other women in the program, she acquired business management and digital literacy skills, as well as training in communication, healthcare, and gender issues. She also found the confidence to speak out and help transform life in her village.
Devi and several other villagers began producing lac, a resinous material derived from secretions of insects found in Jharkhand forests. Lac is used in applications from medicines to jewelry. Devi now runs a Village Service Center that enables local entrepreneurs to combine their efforts to maximize profits. The center provides insurance and healthcare services, and has a market that allows villagers to purchase essentials locally rather than being forced to travel to distant markets.
Devi also volunteers for a literacy program. In recognition of her achievements, the government selected her service center to house a rural library to help boost literacy, and Devi now runs a night school at the library. Dainik Jagran, India’s most widely read newspaper, recognized Devi for her work to reduce poverty and bring essential services, opportunities—and hope—to others in her village.
Saraswati Devi overcame tremendous odds to redefine herself as an entrepreneur. She is one of thousands of tribal women who have gained business, digital literacy, and life skills through the Intel-Udyogini School of Entrepreneurship.
Devi has helped create a cooperative center that enables local entrepreneurs to maximize their profits. The center houses a store for essential goods and a library where Devi has opened a night school.
"Now I'm able to take care of all the needs of my family very effectively. I want to educate my daughter, too, and make her a good citizen of our country."