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Northeast Today

Women of Substance

Women of Substance
March 26
13:46 2020

Intro: In today’s world it’s quite a challenging thing to quit a well-paid job and go to the less trodden path i.e. help others. Two women from the Northeast dared to give up their dreams in abroad so that they could uplift others in their hometown. Let’s know more about them.


1. Hekani Jakhalu


Unemployment has been one of the major drawbacks of our country including the northeast. These results in either total unemployment or the youths are compelled to take up odd jobs. Eventually this often leads to helplessness and even depression at times among youth. Also, the job-seeking population of the northeastern region migrates to other parts of the country in the hope of getting better scope and job opportunities. Unable to bear this regional ‘brain drain’, Hekani Jakhalu, a Delhi-based lawyer from Nagaland gave up her dream job to generate employment among the youths of northeast.

“When I was in Delhi, I would regularly encounter people from the NE working in various areas in the city. Be it parlours, restaurants, malls or other jobs; the city was full of them. I always wondered if it was a choice or were they obligated. Many had even come from small villages, making the city experience highly expensive and culturally different. The question of what pushed them to migrate began to bother me,” expressed Hekani during a media interaction.

Hekani hails from Dimapur, Nagaland born in a family with army background. Her father would mostly be away owing to his duties, hence, she was primarily raised by her mother. For her family education was an important factor. She feels blessed as she got the opportunity to acquire education at various prominent institutions across the country. Eventually she became a lawyer which was a dream she nurtured since a very young age. Her dreams took a flight when she got the opportunity to study LLM at the University of San Francisco, US for which she had to take a study loan.

Later she got a faculty position at Washington followed by an internship at UN. However, she came back to India where she was offered a partnership in a Delhi-based law firm practicing civil and corporate law.

Returning to India was not enough for Hekani. She finally returned to her state to find a solution for the problem of unemployment. That’s how ‘YouthNet’ started back in 2006 as an NGO guiding and providing knowledge to the youth to polish their skills so that they could become independent. Within a span of few years the NGO was able to help around 1 lakh young people. Since then YouthNet has been taking up many initiatives including ‘Made in Nagaland’ which was launched in 2018 which was a a one-stop shop for all Nagaland-made products procured from 100 entrepreneurs from the region.

Hekani believes that dreams can be achieved only when you for it. With this mantra in mind, Hekani continues to work for the society.


2. Elizabeth Yambem

HerStory 2

This young girl from Manipur left home at the age of 12 for pursuing her education and eventually was working as a Financial analyst in London and then as an auditor in Singapore.

However, Elizabeth Yambem made up her mind to come back to her state, her roots where she belongs.


The natural and cultural atmosphere her state Manipur had always fascinated her. Hence, she came back and started to work to promote the native strengths of the Northeast. Elizabeth always felt an inclination towards tea and decided to use it to generate employment opportunities in the region.

Elizabeth had these plans in mind even when she was working abroad. She was earning to save enough to start her dream plan. When she felt she had saved enough for the business, she packed her bags and made her way to Manipur.


She started her tea business ‘Dweller Teas’ in 2017. Dweller tea blends are inspired by indigenous fruits and herbs, hence increases in generating the demand for local grown produces. In order to increase supply for select ingredients, the start up distributes seeds to growers with a certainty to purchase at the time of harvest. They also hire locals for jobs in food processing and packaging.


“Dweller Sips are based on natural, healthy, indigenous produces I grew up relishing. My childhood favourites are Hei-mang, Roselle and Nong-mang-kha. It’s the Dweller Promise to keep it naturally delightful and make with care, while we strive for sustainable and joyful livelihoods,” says Elizabeth. The blends from the Elizabeth’s ‘Dweller Teas’ has become quite popular among the tea savouring population.


Dweller is currently available on their official website as well as on Amazon shipping aromatic blends of teas across the country. Starting with a few members, Elizabeth aims to see ‘Tea Dwellers’ expanding over the span of five years.




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