Deepanjali Behera and her husband Kartikeshwar, live with their children Sweety, Deepika and Pratush, in Dhenkanal district, Odisha. As a child. Deepanjali always aspired to learn new skills. She would eventually go on to learn how to design different products and artefacts using cement. Her work with cement progressed and Deepanjali shifted her focus from creating flowerpots and cement rings to making doors and window frames in hopes that this would bring in additional income to support her family. Noticing her interest in creating a workshop, her family were also willing to help in any way they could. Her husband helped her set up a workshop in the backyard of their house. Her daughter, who studies Architecture, helps her mother with new product designs based on the requirements.
Deepanjali, who is also keen on supporting her community, has been associated with Adishakti Self Help Group which works under the Dhenkanal Municipality for the management of waste materials in the village. After learning about Project Nirmanshree – funded by the EU, Deepanjali worked as a Nirmanshree Messenger to raise awareness about the project in support of women in the community. Later, she enrolled as an entrepreneur, aiming to expand her business and to create new jobs for her community.
“Currently, I have one person supporting me in my workshop. I want to expand my business so that I can provide employment to other people in my village. My association with Habitat for Humanity is helping me enhance my skills and diversify my products,” says Deepanjali.
Since the launch of Project Nirmanshree's Entrepreneurship Development Program training, Deepanjali Behera from Dhenkenal, Odisha has become the first woman entrepreneur to be eligible for an enterprise loan under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) to construct a shed so she can manufacture more cement products such as doors, windows frames, pavement blocks, cement rings and ventilators.