Dhanada Kahta finds joy and income in washing sheaths

Life should be lived the fullest, is the motto of Dhanada Kahta, aged 50 years, since her husband passed away 15 years ago. Because you never know when it ends. When she married, Dhanada had thought she had the assurance her husband would look after her for the rest of life. Instead, Dhanada took that role and became an independent role model for her two daughters.

Happily married
As a girl Dhanada had no big dreams. First shy but soon open, she answers the questions of the Women on Wings team that visits her village in Barpeta, Assam. Getting married was the one goal all girls in her village had. Dhanada finished school till class 4. Fortunately, her parents found her a nice husband and Dhanada got married at the age of eighteen. She remembers it was a happy day and she had a good relationship with her husband.

Finding job life-changing
After her husband passed away, Dhanada had to manage her children and household all by herself. Her youngest daughter was only two, her eldest already fifteen. Dhanada shares: “My family lived in the neighbourhood and one time when visiting them, I learned about Tamul Plates and soon found myself a job in washing sheaths of the arecanut palm which are the sources for Tamul Plates’ biodegradable dinnerware. I have full control of my earnings and even some savings.”

Earnings bring joy and prosperity
It gave Dhanada a secure feeling that family was living so close to the place where she worked. Especially because she had a very young child at the time. She likes her work and starts her working days already fifteen years at the same time: 5.30-6.00AM. “Because of my earnings I could built my own house and over the years improved it with more furniture, electricity, gas and a bathroom. I am very happy to work, have food and share as much with family”, continues Dhanada.

Dreaming of daughters’ independency
Today Dhanada’s daughters are 30 and 18 years of age. The eldest is married and the youngest is still in school. Says Dhanada: “Because I work, my youngest also has the aspiration to work, but she must focus on school first. I want my daughters to have a better future. And that they too can make their own choices. I dream to see my youngest choose her husband herself. But it still is our culture that after marriage, her husband will decide whether she will work or not. I will surely give her my blessings to work. My work has made me proud since I could manage all by myself. It has surely made me more confident. I wish my daughters the same.”