Harshita Bage, who works at a parlour in Ashok Nagar, Ranchi, is inspiration personified. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Bindo Kumari, Santoshi Ekka and Harshita Bage can easily be subjects of envy for many women.
The tribal trio, who hail from extremely poor homes and battled social evils like child marriage and domestic violence, are today proud owners of or workers at beauty parlours in the state capital, thus not only carving out a different life for themselves but also showing the way to others.
While 27-year-old Bindo of Dibdih runs her beauty parlour, Queen Herbal Ladies Beauty Parlour, from a rented place near Dibdih bridge, Santoshi Ekka (23) caters to female customers at her aunt’s house at Piskanagri.
Harshita, also aged 23, works at a beauty parlour in Ashok Nagar.
The three were part of a batch of 10 that successfully underwent a three-month (March-May 2014) free vocational training on beautician and hairstylist course, courtesy Chotanagpur Sanskritik Sangh. The non-profit socio-cultural civil society organisation conducts the training for needy women with financial support from Functional Vocational Training Research Society, Bangalore.
The Sangh also finds jobs for the women or help them set up their own businesses once they complete the course.
“My husband, who was a para-teacher, was unable to meet the expenses of our family. Eventually, he lost his job and became frustrated. He started beating me up. After tolerating domestic violence for years, I finally left him and returned to my parents’ place three months back. Life was hard, as my parents are unable to support me. With no formal education, I had lost all hopes till this parlour happened to me,” said Bindo, who has a five-year-old son.
“Life is far better now. I pay a rent of Rs 2,500 per month for the parlour and earn Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per month,” she added.
Santoshi, who resides at Piskanagri with her aunt, was a victim of child marriage. She was married off when she was barely 15. A year later, her husband left her.
“I somehow came to my aunt’s house and started carving out a life for myself. I am very happy. I want to expand my parlour and have applied for a bank loan,” said Santoshi, who earns Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 a month.
Harshita had been almost married off by her parents at a young age. But she resisted and somehow managed to convince her parents to let her stay single as of now.
“We are very poor people and didn’t have money to pursue education. Now, I am earning around Rs 3,000-Rs 3,500 per month,” she said.
Director of Chotanagpur Sanskritik Sangh Rahul Mehta hailed the women, saying it was commendable that they successfully completed the course despite all hurdles.
“Initially, all three tribal women were hesitant to do the beautician course. We counselled them, as they were mentally disturbed because of myriad personal problems,” Mehta added.