Sunita Kamble belongs to Mhasvad, a severely drought-affected area in Maharashtra. Livestock farming is the key source of livelihood for the marginalised community in this region. Given the lack of veterinarians in the remote area, the community’s prime assets, their livestock, were highly susceptible to diseases that could prove fatal without timely and appropriate treatment.
Ms Kamble, like other rural women in her community, had limited avenues for growth; the thought of helping the community protect and sustain their sole source of livelihood might have seem farfetched to most. However, Sunita was unlike the others. She persevered in the face of opposition from her family and ridicule from the community to become a doctor. And not just any doctor. Sunita became the first grassroots woman goat veterinarian in the region. Livestock farmers in the Mhasvad region finally had help at hand.
Sunita and her team of seven barefoot veterinarians have performed artificial insemination on over 2,000 goats in the area. The idea to artificially inseminate goats was first introduced by a few state governments in order to crossbreed and create a hybrid that can be a good source of milk and mutton. Sunita and her team have also successfully trained over 350 women in the technique, thus creating an alternative and sustainable livelihood option for women-headed households in the area.
From being jeered by the community for her aspirations to being respected as “Doctor madam”, Sunita Kamble has come a long way.
(If you know undaunted spirits like Sunita, nominate them for the Women Transforming India Awards 2018. Click the link here. Deadline for entries: 30th June 2018)