I headed towards Kolasib at 6 in the morning from Aizawl, the capital of the state of Mizoram, on a gloomy Friday. Kolasib is a 3 hour drive from Aizawl.I booked a ticket with a sumo service to get there. It had rained heavily the night before so the main road was blocked because of a landslide. We had to take a different route to get there which took us longer than usual.
When I reached at 10.30 a.m, I was greeted by Cathy, our WSDS partner in Kolasib. We immediately headed out to meet our borrowers. We first took a taxi and then walked into a gully leading towards Lalramawii's carpentry workshop. We were warmly welcomed by Lalrammmawii and her husband who were busy making a chicken coup. They had a simple and spacious workshop which looked very well maintained. Lalrammawii is a 32-year-old mother of two girls. Her husband is a carpenter and she helps him with his carpentry work. They enjoy working together and they make anything that can be made from wood such as chairs, tables, beds, chicken coup, coffins etc. During good months, their monthly salary is about Rs. 10,000 - Rs. 20,000 and during hard times they earn about Rs. 4000 - Rs. 5000.
Lalrammawii, Vanlalruati, Lalvulmawii, Lalhriatrengi, and Ramherliani, formed a group called Rammawii group to seek an enterprise loan of Rs. 75,000 from Milaap to help them start or expand their own small business such as piggery, poultry and garment business. With the Milaap loan, Lalrammawii, the group representative. bought two grown pigs for Rs. 12,000. Raised them for 3 months and sold them off to earn extra income to build a small tin house to give out for rent. The income they earn from the house rent will help them pay for their children's education. The group members have been repaying the loan entirely on their own. I was informed that one of their group members called Vanlalruati has been facing a lot of difficulty in repaying the loan as her husband passed away and she got T.B. She even lost her job as a cook in a school because of her illness. This has made it very difficult for her to look after her children and repay the loan. They are extremely grateful towards Milaap for the support and opportunity that they have been given.
Lalrammawii making a chicken coop at her carpentry workshop.