34-year-old differently-abled woman becomes Sarpanch of 2 villages
34-year-old Kavita Bhondwe did not let her physical disability to stop her from serving the people of two villages in Dindori Taluka, Nashik district.
During her 9-year tenure as Sarpanch, she was able to positively contribute to the lives of local residents by ensuring that villages are provided with roads, drinking water supply, and houses for the poor.
Bhondwe, who became Sarpanch at the age of 25, is now in the second term. Succeeding as Sarpanch was a personal challenge for her as she overcame societal pressures and prejudices against her and her disability.
“Since I was physically challenged, people use to make fun of me. They said if I can’t take care of myself how would I be able to take care of the village. I was not paying attention to them. My family always supported me. My brother and father used to drop me at the office and pick me up. Many did not like the fact that I became Sarpanch at the young age of 25 years,” Bhondwe told ANI.
She brought significant changes in Gram Panchayats’ affairs and stood up against illegal practices in the region.
She gives credit to her father for encouraging her to contest the polls to contest the election.
Bhondwe’s father Pundalik Bhondwe has been a Gram Panchayat member for 15 years but later he started facing difficulties due to lack of education. So, in 2011, he advised his daughter to contest the election.
However, Kavita Bhondwe, who had never been associated with the Gram Panchayat before, was unanimously elected as Sarpanch. She also established women’s self-help groups in both Dahegaon and Waglud villages. After completing her first tenure, she was again unanimously elected as Sarpanch.
Bhondwe has been able to make significant changes in people’s lives in villages in the last nine years. He was instrumental in the construction of concrete roads, houses of villages under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
She also worked for creating awareness among girls for education.
“After she became Sarpanch, we got concrete roads. Toilets have been built in villages. She always takes the initiative of doing the development work in our village,” a local said.