Rural outsourcer brings hope to remote village

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Two years ago when she was offered a B2R job, her brother laughed and told her he would never let her take it.

“In my family, girls are not allowed to go out for work,” said Bisht, whose last name is common in the region.

Her mother forced him to relent.

Since then, her family has added a wide brick kitchen and concrete living room to the small two mud rooms of its house. They bought a TV. She paid hospital bills for her brother, kept her family from having to borrow money at 60 percent interest from a loan shark and, in an incredible role reversal, helped pay for her brother’s wedding.

Perhaps more stunning in a society where daughters are often viewed as an economic burden, Bisht is putting money away to pay for her eventual dowry.

Dewan Singh Bisht said he turns to his daughter whenever there is a financial emergency.

“I am very proud of her,” he said.

Listening to her husband, Devki Bisht, 44, cries quietly as she squats over an electric stove, heating milk for tea.

She wants her daughter to be independent, to have a better life.

“It’s not just a man’s right to go out and work,” she said.

Though they have talked about marrying her off, Devki Bisht now says she is prepared to wait years for the right family, one that will let her daughter keep working.

B2R faced some resistance when it moved into Simayal. Some families didn’t want their daughters to work with men. Local youth, angry they didn’t get jobs in the first round of screening, vandalized the office, Dolwani said. The company held a town meeting to ease the tension, and now holds similar gatherings before opening new centers.

It hopes to attract clients by charging at least 25 percent less than urban competitors, Dolwani said.

Rent here is 15 times lower than in the city, electricity is cheaper and with little competition for staff, turnover last year was just 4 percent. Urban outsourcers face 40 percent turnover, according to a report by the Monitor Group.

While workers in the Delhi suburbs make about 8,000 rupees ($160) a month, B2R’s start at about 4,700 rupees ($95). Dolwani said the lower salary is justified by the lower cost of living here, and many workers say they are still saving significant portions of their salary.

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