Deepa Mer - A Fighter Through Life

“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. Too many of the village girls -who even after receiving a 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 center, B2R is like a Lifesaver, 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, still – unexplained 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 confined to home.

“It was an extremely depressing time for me.” Deepa revels. “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 two and half-years there.

The Ramgarh center located right next to her home has come as a boon for her. Every morning, sharp at 8 AM, as she walks into the center which is 200m 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 digitize an American magazine. Her work-delivery and performance are comparable to any other team member and every day the hours she spends at B2R, she cherishes every bit of it – for they usher 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 seventh 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 explore my abilities”, she says with a winning smile.

Mamta Joshi – A Representative of Resilience

Resilience. The ability to stand up quickly after a fall. Armchair experts will have many theories and offer many perspectives about how to be resilient in stressful situations, but how many of them could do what Mamta has actually done in real life.

When Mamta could not attend a pre-scheduled B2R interview due to the sudden death of her father, the very next day after his cremation, she turned up at the center and requested for an interview to be conducted for her. Needless to say, she cleared interview with flying colours and got inducted into B2R.

Her response to what she did comes from her realization of the basic realities of life. ”My father was the only earning member in our family. After he was no more, I had  to fill in his place. And for that I needed a job.” For Mamta  there was no choice except for moving on with life  after losing one of the most crucial persons in her life. “No matter how much I cry or weep, father will not return. But my mother is there. I need to look after her, take care of her needs.” Her voice gets choked filled with emotions as she trails off.

Mamta may look like just another face in the crowd, but is actually a person of extraordinary grit, and amazing courage.  Every day she takes a local bus to get to the B2R center. Hailing from the village of Sashbani, she comes from a family of extremely humble means.

I was 18 years old and I knew very little English, had no real experience using a computer. Everything was new for me on the computer but I learned it at B2R and worked hard in order to clear training. Initially, I hesitated in asking questions however after the training, I now am comfortable and speak openly, learn and share my best practices, and operate computer independently”.

Post training, as part of publishing delivery team at B2R, her work involves extracting and tagging of articles for an American digital magazine newsstand. Her supervisor, Vikram shares “Mamta is shy by nature but one of the hardworking members of the team. She tries her level best to achieve desired output” while center manager of Letibunga center Abhishek adds “Mamta is one of the disciplined team members on the floor, though the role is challenging but with support, she is confidently delivering”.

Currently the stable rock in the family, she continues to give shape to her future. “My father had very limited income and used to stay sick most of the time. Most of whatever he earned got spent on his medicines. He could not even afford the badly needed repairs of the house” she says, stating that now that she has a stable job, she is able to pay for her brother’s college education and has plans of getting their house repaired in the near future. When asked about her future aspirations, she just smiles confidently and says she will think about herself once she has been able to fulfill her basic duties towards her family, leaving me inspired and touched.