Komal Ganpat Chunarkar is a 24-year old bright and confident girl and is amongst the first female welders trained at Skill and Entrepreneurship Development Institute (Chandrapur) run by Ambuja Cement Foundation. Komal is proud of her achievements and talks about her journey.
Currently, Ambuja Cement Foundation has 27 SEDI centres across India.
Welding is a field which is generally not considered suitable for women. While I was looking for a vocational training course, even I was surprised to find out that SEDI is offering welding course for women – something which was unheard of. But when SEDI staff shared with me that the opportunities in this field are open for both men and women, I was interested in exploring the field. There are very few women in the welding sector and hence the competition is low.
The urgent need to earn money and an opportunity to do something different from others motivated me to take up this course.
Most people cautioned me that I have chosen a wrong field which was not meant for women. They felt that welding needs a lot of physical work and working in a factory setup is not a woman’s cup of tea. I, however, don’t think so and I feel that I have proved all of them wrong. Today I work at Taikisha Engineering at Pune and that too at the shop floor with my other colleagues.
I belong to a poor family from the rural area of Chandrapur district. There are five members in my family, including my parents and two younger brothers – all of them working as daily wage earners. It gives me immense satisfaction to be working in a good company and sharing the financial responsibility at home. It feels really good that in last two years I could significantly contribute to my family’s income that has helped uplift our socio-economic status in the village.
Yes, it is true. But the scenario is changing now. Earlier the systems in my company were different and there were only three women workers, but now more of them are joining in.
As a trainer, I did not face any challenges. The training process at SEDI was quite smooth and so was the placement. But later, when I shifted to Pune, I had to struggle a bit – making arrangements of accommodation, food and commute. It took me some time to get comfortable with the city atmosphere. Even at work, I had to push myself to build rapport with my colleagues and manager. I believe, if you trust your abilities, no challenge can stop you for long.
Soon after I finished my training, I started working in the company. I have not provided any direct training. However, I have motivated several girls to pursue training in their preferred area of work.
My life has changed completely. I am much more confident, have better communication and am financially secure. I am keener to learn new things and am more optimistic.
I still have a long way to go but from my experience I would say that every girl should trust her abilities. Both men and women are equally efficient if provided the right training and environment.
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