Deepa Mer- A fighter all through

“That is the B2R office.” The cab driver pauses and points at a yellow building cocooned amidst lush green mountains. His tone is tinged with visible pride, for his sister, who once seemed to have no future except getting married is now working there- working in a senior position with an impact sourcing  company located in a remote village in Kumaon- something unthinkable till B2R came and set up shop.

Down in the deep valley of Talla Ramgarh, popularly known as the fruit basket of Kumaon, the B2R office signifies many things to many people. To the average villager it is the sign of unprecedented progress- “things which earlier used to happen only in big cities are also happening here” one of them tells me . To many of the village girls -who even after receiving satisfactory education were restricted by families from doing a job and instead constrained to enter marriage and  settle  down to a life of mundane domesticity- it is like a window to a world of opportunities. But to Deepa Mer, an employee at the Ramgarh centre, B2R is like a Life saver, one which nurtures her very existence.

A little more than a decade ago, just on the verge of completing her graduation, Deepa suffered an acute, inexplicable attack of arthritis, one which left her almost paralyzed. Her limbs grew stiff and deformed and painful knots developed at places, severely restricting her movement.

Earlier she was teaching in a primary school situated in the neighboring village. But after contracting arthritis, she was forced to give up the job and was confined to home. “It was an extremely depressing time for me.” Deepa reveals. “Girls of my age were getting married and moving into a new stage of life and mine seemed to be just going downhill.” It was at this time she heard about the B2R opportunity. Deepa appeared for the written test at Letibunga centre (near Mukteshwar), cleared it and the subsequent interview after which she was inducted into the BPO.

Deepa joined B2R at their Letibunga center where she worked for four-and-a  half years. When B2R’s center was started closer to her home at Ramgarh, she was happy to be offered a position there, and since then she’s worked for four more years there. The Ramgarh centre located right next to her home has come as a boon for her.

Every morning, sharp at 9 am, as she walks  into the centre which is 200 meters away from her home, and logs on to her computer, her eyes light up with eagerness. In a matter of minutes , she is totally transformed – a different person altogether. Her fingers quickly get down to work at the keyboard to document conversation of her next caller (changeseeker in a Citizen Support Helpline). Her work-delivery and performance is comparable to any other team member and she cherishes every minute of the time she spends at B2R., for it ushers in a sense of equality and well being which life otherwise denied her.

Her employment at B2R has provided her financial empowerment because of which she has not only been able to continue her treatment, but also look after her aged parents. “I have now developed skills that help me earn better in comparison to the earlier days. In-spite of being physically challenged, I am not dependent on my family.  I am managing the cost of my monthly medicine”.

Now in her eighth year with B2R, Deepa is proud and grateful of the support and opportunity to work with B2R. “I want to explore new work opportunities in the organization and test my abilities”, she says with a winning smile.

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