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Sisva in Gujarat has an all women panchayat, led by 26 year old Hinal Patel. These girls are not only breaking stereotypes, but delivering results.
In a country, where we are still fighting against female feticide, the Khap Pachayat ordering rape and so on, there is a wind of change blowing in a village in Gujarat.
Meet Hinal Patel 26, who is the Sarpanch in the Sisva village of Gujarat. She also leads a team of 12 council members, who are all girls between the age of 21 to 26. The good news is that, they are doing work that generations of Panchayats has failed.
Under Hinal’s leadership, Sisva was provided with clean drinking water, better roads were constructed, open defecation was ended and solar panels were installed. Now, they want to turn their village into an E- viallge. They are beginning with a village website.
All the girls in the team are either working or are studying. Hinal Patel is a nursing graduate, Nisha Patel is a manager in a motor bike company, Radha Patel is an engineer, while Viralben is a student.
Hinal Patel was only 22 when she was chosen as the Panchayat, she says, ““Having just completed my BSc Nursing degree from Shree Raghavendra College of Nursing I was looking for a job when one afternoon I overheard my parents talking about the upcoming panchayat elections. I was instantly drawn into the discussion because I had many thoughts on how to make things better for the community. Seeing the keen interest I was taking in the affairs of the village my father suggested I share my vision with everyone,”
Once Hinal was elected and she started to speak out more girls got inducted. Hinal’s father says, “When Hinal spoke up a few other girls gained the confidence to put forth their points of view as well. That’s when the village elders felt that we could give our young women a shot at governance. Sisva has previously had women representatives so we didn’t see any problem in handing over the reigns to the girls,”
The girls meet on Sundays and their work is divided. For example, Hinal being a nurse oversees health care and Radha being an engineer looks after infrastructure. All these girls get together to make their village a better place to live.
This girls in Sisva only shows that girls can be anything that they can wish to be. They can be heads of Panchayats and deliver results as gender has nothing to do with capabilities. The good news is that, when changes happen in the grassroot level, we can finally hope for a greater change in the bigger picture.
Hinal says, “Sisva has been declared a Nirmal Gram and we have received the President’s Award in recognition of our efforts. But none of this would have been possible without the support of our parents or our people. They have trusted our judgment and supported us wholeheartedly. After all, we can’t keep the village clean or maintain the roads and other infrastructure without their cooperation. There is a strong sense of ownership that we have been able to inculcate successfully,”
More power to Hinal, her council and her village who has supported to choose them as the council members.
Cover image via The Better India
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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