May 22, 2023
Urmila: Symbol of Resilience
Gahate was the first water supply scheme for the Project for Improving Water Access and Agriculture Income at Balefi Rural Municipality, Sindhupalchok. Access to safe drinking water was provided for 38 households within one year in 2021.
After the project, like many men, Pasang Lama, chairperson of the Dhobinikhola Gahate Water User committee left his village in search for better opportunities for his family to Dubai. The burden of overseeing the water committee fell upon his wife, Urmila Tamang. Urmila, 24 years old, and a mother of two children, took upon herself the daunting task of leading the committee and ensuring that her husband’s roles and responsibilities were fulfilled.
Urmila says, being a woman, she faced skepticism initially from her community members. “I heard some people were agitated about my husband handing over all the responsibilities to me. My uncle even told me that I will not be able to handle the criticism from people if issues arise in the committee and that this job is physically demanding.” But challenging all the preconceived notions of gender stereotypes, she persevered with unwavering determination and dedication. Her innate leadership qualities gradually won over the trust and respect. Her dedication extended beyond the administrative tasks. She regularly worked along with the committee members and repair and maintenance workers to monitor the conditions of the Water Supply System, addressing maintaining and repairing issues promptly, reading meter and collecting tariffs, and ensuring accountability and transparency of the WUC operation. “All the tools and equipment are in my house. The community trusts me now with collecting the tariffs, and the WCU funds.”
She defied societal expectations, and that gender should never be a barrier to taking on significant responsibilities. Urmila serves as an inspiring symbol of resilience, determination, and the transformative power of individual action.
Dhobinikhola Gahate WSS is running smoothly in Balefi Rural Municipality, Sindhupalchok.
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