The Story of Bisto Bai

'A woman aware of her capacities can work wonders'

Bisto Bai

Born in the remote village of Pantripatra, in Madhya Pradesh, Bisto Bai, 32, seemed to have all the cards stacked against her. She belongs to the “Tribal Gond” community, considered a low caste community, oppressed, tortured and exploited over the centuries. As a child, her family could not pay for her education so Bisto Bai was “married off” at 17 to a young man of 20. As her husband was jobless, she started making fans and brooms to earn a few extra rupees and offer the minimum to her two children.

Workshops and training sessions

In 2015, she joined a self-help village group (SHG) under the Economic Justice Project of Good Shepherd Central East India and started saving, and attending various workshops and training sessions to become a self-sufficient goat-rearing woman. Bisto’s thriving goat modern farm has ensured that her family has plenty to eat all year roundand she gained the respect of her fellow women, who consider her as a role model.

A community leader emerges

Bisto Bai started then mobilizing the women of her community about their rights, capacities, health, and education. According to Bisto, “a woman aware of her capacities can work wonders”. She was appointed the President of a a co-operative formed with 150 women, named Dindayal Antyodoy Mahila Bahu Uddesshiya Sahakari Samiti (Development of Women Multi-purpose Co-operative Society), which helps women farmers to improve and multiply their business and carries out a programme of health, education and social education.

Bisto is now a key figure in the social, political, cultural and economic development of the women of her village. Also the tribal community of Panitripatra as a whole aspires a great future under her leadership.

Candidate for 2019 Women Stop Hunger Award

Bisto Bai is candidated to the 2019 Women Stop Hunger Award, that gives international recognition to the role of rural women in the fight against hunger and encourages initiatives led by women aiming to achieve food security and increase economic development in local communities.


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Link to Mahila: A Women's Movement Rising

Click here for link to Economic Justice Project of Good Shepherd Central East India -

For more information

Anyone interested to know more about this project can contact:

Project Manager, Sr Aruna George at or 

Asia Pacific MDO Regional Manager, Theresa Symons at