There is an urgent need to create mechanisms to empower widows in Yavatmal and Vidarbha, and give them the support they need to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward. However, such initiatives are rare. One of the few such projects for the welfare of the helpless women is run by Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) and its sister organization Sampada Trust.
Ujwala Kavthekar is associated with WOTR since 2002. She is currently working as ‘Senior Officer-Health and Women Development’ in Aurangabad RRC and handling health projects of WOTR and Sampada Trust. Read on to know her story
"I am from Ahmednagar and after my 12th I did GNM (General Nursing and Midwifery) course. After becoming a trained and competent nurse, I worked in hospitals in Shevgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune. In 2002, when I applied for a post for health officer in WOTR, I thought I would give 5-6 months to see if I would want to work in development sector. However, after joining WOTR, I started enjoying my work which involved continuous interaction with rural community. Mentoring received in my early days ensured a smooth transition in my career from health to development sector. The jourey begun from 9 villages in Pathardi block of Ahmednagar district in 2002 still continues. Today I am working as ‘Senior Officer-Health and Women Development’ in Aurangabad RRC and handling health projects of WOTR and Sampada Trust.
Few years ago, we conducted a workshop for adolescents in which we discussed human anatomy; reproductive, sexual and mental health etc. After the training, a boy in 10th standard, went home and told his mother that now he understood menstruation was a natural process in women and that he would help her in household chores during those days. His proud mother narrated this incidence publicly in cluster level melawa. Such inspiring instances remind us the importance of our work and help us work with continued enthusiasm. One of the main challenges I face in my work, is to make people understand the importance of health and nutrition. Sometimes many are not willing to accept new knowledge even after investing considerable time and energy of ours. In such situation, I have learnt not to give up on them and be patient till they are able see the benefits of our interventions. My training in nursing also comes handy in many situations. For me WOTR is my family, where I get necessary support in doing my work and also get different opportunities for my personal growth. In future too, I will continue trying to build healthy communities and continue fighting malnutrition and anaemia: the two major maladies seen in rural society. "