Conversations with Durga Yadav during corona lockdown

Durga Yadav was one of the artisans engaged with Sadhna – a Women’s Handicraft Enterprise, Women on Wings’ first ever partner in India. Over the years, the Women on Wings team has met Durga on many occasions and recently reached out to her to learn how she is coping with the corona lockdown.

Hope despite lockdown
The many conversations with Durga (picture left) over the years, have always shown her drive to work and earn an income to create a better future for her three children, and especially for her daughters Anjali (picture center) and Anchal (picture right). Seema Dawar, communication coordinator at Women on Wings, spoke to Durga this and last week. There was excitement in Durga’s voice, hope in her words and happiness in spite of the total lockdown which was announced by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, 2020.

Wheat in stock
Durga and her family live in Devigarh, a small village in Mewar district of Rajasthan. She was happy to receive the calls from Women on Wings. Says Seema: “During my first call, Durga told me how there is no work, and everyone is locked in their homes. How it’s so silent and lonely, but she kept insisting that she and her family are fine. Her enthusiasm didn’t wane.” When Seema asked Durga if she is stocked up, she said: “Yes don’t worry. Our village panchayat (village council) is looking after us and I have wheat for a few months”.

Business to a stand still
Durga is grateful about her family being safe. Her children can study from home. But Durga misses the human connect, her work and generating livelihood. An entrepreneur herself since a number of years, Durga normally sells her handmade silver jewelry at exhibitions, like most of the handicraft enterprises that Women on Wings is collaborating with. Obviously, in total lockdown, there is zero income from exhibitions.

Cooking for less fortunate
This week, Seema Dawar again called Durga. She is now helping the village panchayat cooking food for the less fortunate than her while taking full precautions. She was informed enough to know that the virus had not reached Devigarh but had reached Bhilwara which is 3 hours away. When asking Durga if it was confirmed as it could be rumors, she said: “No it’s no rumor, there were two people who had come from New York”. Durga and her family make sure they are well informed and take utmost precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Meeting Durga
Women on Wings and Durga have met on many occasions. In 2016, Durga was one of three last mile beneficiaries from Rajasthan who were chief guests at Women on Wings’ 9th anniversary event in New Delhi to share how having a job and income changed their lives. One year later, Durga won the hearts in the audience of Women on Wings’ 10th anniversary event in the Netherlands.