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Teen entrepreneur is Unicef poster girl

A single box of honey was all it took to transform Anita Kushwaha, a teenager from a nondescript village in Bihar, into a successful entrepreneur.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2006 12:36 IST
PTI

A single box of honey was all it took to transform Anita Kushwaha, a teenager from a nondescript village in Bihar, into a successful entrepreneur. Anita countered gender bias to become a role model for millions of girls in India.

Four years ago, 17-year-old Anita boldly fought and convinced her parents not to marry her off. She had set her sights on something that no woman in her predominantly Dalit village of Pattiayasam had ever dreamed of doing — taking up the male profession of making honey.

Starting with two boxes, today Anita manages 100 beehives with 500 bees. With a jar of honey selling at Rs 40 to Rs 45, Anita manages to save Rs 1 lakh per year.

Anita, who is now a well-known face in her village has also been picked up by the United Nations Children's Education Fund (Unicef) as part of their girl stars campaign.

She is the youngest of 15 girls who have been selected for a Unicef multimedia campaign that create icons of girls from underprivileged backgrounds who have changed their lives by going to school.

Unicef chose her from amongst girls in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Rajasthan. Posters, films and books telling Anita's inspirational story along with others will spread the message all over India.

She has even bought her younger brother a motorcycle with the money she saved. Anita says her school work never suffered because the bees hardly required maintenance. "They took care of themselves," she said.