Location: Neb Sarai, New Delhi, India
Date: June 2014
Interview and tranlation by Lena Dorfschmidt
My name is Nirmal Kaur. I have been working in Nav Srishti since 1998. It was a long journey.
Nav Srishti gave me lots of opportunities to attend different trainings and workshops. I joined Nav Srishti as an informal teacher but now I am working as project coordinator.
In 1994 I graduated from Khalsa College for women at Punjab. I was 22 years old. In the same year I got married and moved to Delhi with my husband. I married right after I finished my education. That is how things are in India. Girls are parents’ responsibility, so they marry as soon as possible.
After this I thought I would not get further education due to family and office responsibility, as I was working in a government job. My whole family, my parents, my brother, everyone wanted me to stay at home. But I didn’t want to. That was difficult, but I managed.
[It is definitely not easy for Indian women to study and work] A lot of struggle. So many responsibilities. I still have so many responsibilities. I get up at 5:30 and go to bed at 12PM. That means I work 18 hours a day. That is not possible for everyone. I don’t have enough time for my children. We had a maid. That was very expensive, but otherwise I would have had to decide to choose either children or job. I didn’t want to have to decide.
[Fortunately I had my husbands support] I don’t do anything without my husbands support – and the support of my children of course.
Men [in the Indian society] are afraid that woman might get to involved in work and forget about their responsibilities.
But then I talked to our chief functionary Mrs. Reena Banerjee along with our team members who were not only working for society, but they all are doing different courses to enhance academic qualification. I got motivated by their commitment.
I decided to take more education and 2009 I enrolled for a Master of Sociology at Indira Gandhi National University Delhi. After 18 years I had got the degree of Master of Sociology. For me it was always: first kids, then education. That is why it took me so long to achieve my bachelor’s degree. I will never forget that day because when I received my degree my 17-year-old son stood in front, to click a photograph of me.
Education is necessary for everyone. Without it, we can’t progress, we can’t achieve anything.
For this I am very thankful to Nav Srishti. Today I am not only considering myself as an active woman’s worker in organization but I am very confident to raise my voice against any inhuman behavior with women. I was shy. Very shy. [But I learned that] if women are dependent, they need to make themselves independent. Women are strong, only sometimes they forget to make the step.
Improve your decision power!
In India usually men make decisions, but women can do this too.
Start with small things. Make decisions together with husband.
Handle all problems yourself. You can do it if you want.