In the heart of rural Rajasthan, amidst the challenges of regressive norms and limited opportunities, emerged a beacon of resilience and empowerment—Ruma Devi.

An 8th-grade dropout turned speaker at Harvard University, Ruma Devi’s remarkable journey is a testament to the transformative power of determination.

From her early struggles to becoming the president of Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan (GVCS) and impacting the lives of 30,000 women, Ruma Devi’s story is an inspiration that resonates far beyond the borders of her village.

Early Life Challenges:

Ruma Devi’s early life was marked by profound challenges—losing her mother at a young age, familial abandonment, and early marriage at 17.

Despite the adversities, Ruma’s spirit remained unbroken.

Drawing inspiration from her grandmother, she learned the art of sewing and embroidery, igniting a spark that would eventually illuminate the lives of many others.

Initiating Change:

Armed with skills and a vision for economic empowerment, Ruma Devi persuaded her in-laws and two other women to join her in creating handbags adorned with her special hand embroidery.

Breaking free from the regressive norms that confined women to their homes, Ruma Devi’s venture began with ten women each contributing Rs. 100.

This modest investment marked the inception of a transformative journey.

Recognition and Honors:

Ruma Devi’s dedication and creativity caught the attention of Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan (GVCS), leading to her becoming its president in 2010.

She showcased her work in various exhibitions, including a notable one in Rafi Marg, Delhi, in 2010, and participated in the Rajasthan Heritage Week 2016 fashion show.

Her relentless efforts were acknowledged with the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2018, recognizing her significant contribution to female empowerment.

Global Recognition:

Ruma Devi’s impact transcended geographical boundaries as she participated in events and visited various countries, including Singapore, Germany, Sri Lanka, and the UAE.

Her journey took her to the esteemed stage of Harvard University, where she shared her story of resilience and empowerment.

The exposure not only amplified her cause but also highlighted the importance of recognizing and supporting artisans and craftswomen.

Empowering 30,000 Women:

Today, Ruma Devi’s initiatives empower 30,000 women across 150 villages.

Her focus extends beyond economic empowerment, as she works towards promoting the craft of tribal artisans and minorities throughout India.

Through exhibitions and various platforms, Ruma Devi provides these women with a creative and economic agency, allowing them to find fulfillment and independence.

Hope, Resilience, and Impact:

Ruma Devi’s story symbolizes hope, resilience, and the transformative impact one individual can have on a community.

Her journey from adversity to empowerment serves as an inspiration to artisans worldwide, demonstrating the profound change that can be achieved through creativity, determination, and a commitment to empower those often marginalized.


In the tapestry of rural Rajasthan, Ruma Devi has woven a story of triumph against the odds, proving that even in the face of adversity, resilience can create ripples of empowerment.

As she continues to champion the cause of female artisans and impact lives, Ruma Devi’s tale is an example of the extraordinary impact that ordinary individuals can make when armed with passion, skill, and an unwavering commitment to positive change.

Visit: Ruma Devi