I am a 27 year-old Nomad Traveller, entrepreneur, social worker, youth activist and a student.
An Indian Correspondent at Commonwealth, I am also a World Economic Forum Extended Shaper, a Global Youth Ambassador at Theirworld, Delegate – Pune Austin Sister city.
I Founded Mitti Ke Rang (MKR) in 2014 to address gender equality and widows empowerment, to provide them resources and support.
Moreover, I founded the Social Network Startup “Connecting 196 Countries”, a forum that seeks to connect young change-makers in the world to bring ideas and share best practices which will foster development in their communities.
We often talk about issues facing women but have rarely spent time thinking about the wellbeing of widows in our society. In India alone, there are more than 42 Million Widows out of which 60% live in very dismal conditions.
I come from a lower middle-class Indian family and have faced many hardships. My father did not live long enough to see me become something. My father passed away when I was four, leaving behind his wife and two sons and lots of loan behind. Due of the outstanding loan, from a very early age I was used to listen the words like Nilami and Jhapti. I worked hard for academic success throughout school. I wanted to be an engineer but had to shift to Commerce due to lack of money.
So, what now? Many said that with BCom degree you won’t be able to get a job, but I thought let’s give it a try. I wanted to overcome poverty. I moved to Pune in 2012 with just 1,000 rupees. I did not have a place to stay and did not know where to apply for a job. One month and many interviews later a company hired me. Our condition started improving and in 2014 I shifted my mother to Pune.
I have lived in so many challenging situations that Widows and their children have to face, often feeling frustrated and helpless. I couldn’t find any information or get access to support groups that could help widows. It was then that I made it my mission to fill the gap and start Mitti Ke Rang.
Our Society does not have the openness to accept widows as strong women who can contribute. Just because my mother is a widow, she was not allowed to take part in prayers/rituals, marriage ceremonies, or apply mehendi (henna). After my father passed away, my mother didn’t know what to do. She was not aware of her rights. In a fraction of a second everything changed, and she was completely unprepared for it. Raising two children with no financial stability was not an easy feat. This was my trigger to start working towards widows empowerment because I do not want anyone else to feel so helpless.
Amit Jain | Founder Mitti Ke Rang