Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020 with Deli Sanghera
This week, on the 8th of March, we are celebrating International Womans Day. To celebrate this, I set out to meet a woman who works in the Horticultural industry.
There are women who speak out, there are women who are quiet in their quest and achievements, but they have all one thing: tenacity. This grinding need to keep going regardless of what is thrown at them. When I look at what I consider as a strength, tenacity, that steely determination especially in the face of adversity is what comes to mind.
If you think of the woman around the world that are considered strong, you have people like Michelle Obama, Greta Thunburg, the notorious RBG, Malala Yousafzai, Katherine Johnson, Jane Goodall just to name a few.
I’m now going to bring it in locally, in the Riverland. There are women here whose stories you may have heard about, others not so, but nevertheless, just as inspiring.
I met one of these women the other day. I came back to my office full of awe and inspiration. In fact, when I was talking to this wonderful woman, I became fully aware of her inner strength, sitting at her dining table in her beautiful home, chatting. Inner strength combined with humble gentility. It was like being punched with a thousand butterflies. She spoke of her incredible achievements with such grace and humility, as if what she has accomplished were of no significance. But, my word, there was fire in those eyes when she spoke. Pure Determination!
Her name is Deli Sanghera. She owns and runs two properties: her home property in Lock 4 and one in Loxton North. She grows Navels and Valencia Oranges, Imperial Mandarins, Lemons, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Petit Verdot, Ruby Cabernet, Merlot and Gordo Grapes. She also does vintage each year at the local winery, as a cellar hand no less (anyone who has done a vintage as a cellar hand knows that isn’t light work). She does this on her own, occasionally employing help when needed. She has done this now for 20 years after her husband passed away. She also done this while raising 3 young children on her own.
She has gone through hard times; low grape prices, high water prices, drought, but not once has she given up….tenacity.
When her husband passed away, she had two choices; to sell or roll her sleeves up and learn how to run the block by herself. She chose the second option. At the start, she had limited knowledge of how to run a block. But over time she went from learning the basics to acquiring advanced knowledge in the horticultural and viticultural field.
Deli loves her independence, she doesn’t like relying on other people. I asked her what she loves best about being a block owner. Her eyes lit up and exclaimed that she loves being her own person, her own boss, she can work her own hours; if she wants the rare sleep in, she can. To have the deciding factor on what is to be done that day, to have full control. Her neighbours are there to help if needed like all good neighbours, however I feel that would not be a regular occurrence. I feel that her properties are run like a well-oiled machine.
The theme for this year for International Women’s Day is … “Each for Equal” where individually, we’re responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements…. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme
There are many women in the horticultural/viticultural/agricultural sector who has their own story to tell and I wish I could about all of them. I would write about their strength, their passion for their work, what they have come up against. Here in the Riverland alone, there are stories to be told. Deli is a shining example of strength and what can be done when you have the grit and determination to get things done, not just for women but for everyone.