A young girl walks up a mountain road. Not quite twenty yet, her thoughts are full of the celebrations planned for the annual day event on the morrow, and the outfit she is going to wear. On her left is a sheer valley drop, with small buildings dotting the green hillsides, some habitats in tight cluster, others in solitude. A cloud hovers over the sun in the rural mountains of Uttarakhand, and patches of fog are visible over the horizon. On her right the side of the mountain rises upward, reminding Janki that she has about twenty minutes of uphill climbing before she can reach her destination.
Janki graduated high school a couple of years back. At that time, her parents were beginning to plan her wedding, and talking about starting the search for a prospective groom. Her family’s livelihood was rooted in agriculture, and since women do not typically work the fields, it was expected that she would contribute to household chores until her wedding, after which she would do the same at her husband’s place.
Janki’s vague sense of dissatisfaction with her scenario began to lighten when she saw a flyer posted in the local market, advertising job opportunities with a company that was soon to open a local office. Suddenly eager, Janki read the entire flyer in a rush, and then slowed down to read it over one more time. There were tests involved, and interviews. They would pay well. There could be a chance for a very different life than the one her parents had envisioned for her.
Two years later, Janki’s family income has doubled, because of Janki. At home, there is no more talk of marriage. Her little brother has a look of awe in his eyes as he watches Janki pack her office bag in the morning.
Janki now dreams of traveling to Delhi, and to the US. She dreams of a career in HR and training. Her work with B2R has suddenly opened up the world to her. Her vocabulary now consists of process methodologies, client deadlines, and skill building. Her work with the rural BPO’s top client involves data entry management, exposing her to a world she didn’t know existed. Her desktop wallpaper has the image of the Golden Gate Bridge, reminding her always of her US dreams.
Sighing a little with the strain of her upward climb, Janki increases her pace as she climbs. She is excited about the new day and the rehearsals for tomorrow’s program. The day of the company’s inception is celebrated every year with a cultural program and food shared with the community. It was another chance to do something more, something different. And Janki could barely wait.
B2R (Business To Rural) is a for-profit social enterprise set up with an objective to create livelihood opportunities for rural youth in a self-sustainable manner by providing business support (BPO) services to its customers through its operations centers spread across villages of Uttarakhand . In operation for nearly four years, B2R currently has five delivery centers of 50 to 75 seat capacity each and a team of close to 300 rural youth spread across these five locations, 58% of whom are women. B2R’s vision is to create employment for 6000 rural youth over the next 5 years spread across the region. For more information, click: http://www.b2r.in