We’ve all heard the expression “opportunity knocks just once!” But it is not true; the world does not work that way, and hence opportunity does knock, but only on the door of a few. There are those who must battle just to get by, and life does not provide them with equal opportunities to succeed. Such is the life story of Dil Afroj from Kota, Rajasthan. She was raised in an extremely orthodox society that did not believe in providing the same opportunities to men and women in any sector.
But, as the saying goes, circumstances can never overcome a person who refuses to give up. Dil Aforj proved to be a warrior who refused to give up no matter how difficult things were for her. She never slowed down.
The initial struggles
It was definitely not an easy road for Dil Afroj to even gain basic education, in her village women were not even allowed to study till secondary level. This is why when she reached 8th standard, all the people started pointing fingers at her family, trying to coax them to not let her continue further. But it was the support of her parents that motivated her to keep moving forward. She dropped out of her Bachelor’s program in the final year as she realized that it was not her calling. She wanted to do something that could change the view of the society that she lived in and thus when she got an opportunity to create a self-help group with the support of an NGO, she didn’t back down.
She became the president of the group, which now includes 100+ women who weave and stitch Kota Doriya Sarees to support themselves as well as their families.
The road to empowerment
This initiative brought a wave of change in her village as more and more women started connecting with the group. There are now more than 3000 mills in her area and women manufacture these handloom sarees either in the factory or at their homes. Needless to say, her area is now emerging as a recent hotspot for authentic Kota Sarees and the women are not only getting the opportunity of gaining financial independence but also higher education due to the change in the mindset of people. More and more women are now taking inspiration from Ms. Dil Afroj and want their daughters to be capable of providing for themselves in the future.
Aims and goals
Dil hopes to keep empowering and supporting women of underprivileged households by growing her group even further. She usually markets her products through exhibitions and fairs and knows that this industry has the potential to grow even more as currently the price of a single handloom saree is about Rs. 2000.
Dil Afroj is truly an inspiration for society, at such a young age she has managed to create a change and achieved a goal that many only dream of. This is definitely just the beginning of the making of many other Dil Arojs in the country who dare to stand up for not only themselves but for others as well.