A group of inspiring women from Odisha | Milaap

A group of inspiring women from Odisha

Working with Mahashakti Foundation as a Milaap Fellow, I have come across numerous Self Help Groups as well as individuals who have taken loans for various purposes. Among them a self help group named K.G.N.  stood out for the successful manner in which they utilized the opportunities that came their way. Not only this, the resultant success has also made it possible for certain group members to start their own individual business ventures. Let us know more about them.
Sharmeela Bibi- K.G.N. Self Help Group Secretary

Sharmeela Bibi, the group secretary, told me that the reason behind all the members coming together two years ago was due to their goal to do something on their own and provide financial support to their family. "We approached Mahashakti Foundation with a proposal to provide us with an enterprise loan so we could start our tailoring business. In the initial stages, we faced few hurdles as some of our group members didn't have the required expertise, nor did we have any knowledge about working in group and other aspects of running a business enterprise" she said. The group members underwent specific training under Mahashakti Foundation pertaining to income generation, Self Help Group management, financial literacy and book keeping which helped them overcome the hurdles.

"During the training period, we realized that we have to work for the mutual benefit of each other for our venture to work successfully. It helped us to gel well" said the lady. The group members who were good in tailoring taught the less experienced ones the secrets of the trade. Since then there has been no looking back.

Some members of K.G.N at work

Najma Begum, another group member, said " We make all types of ladies dress including saris and lehengas, ladies suits. Most of the times we are able to get orders from our own circle of relatives and friends which gives us ample work". On an average, each group member is able to generate INR, 3,000 per month which is sufficient for them to cater to their household expenses, pay the monthly installments for a loan as well as add to their savings.

A sample of one of their products

With a steady income over a period of two years, some of the group members have been able to channel their savings into lucrative business ventures of their own. Rukshana Begum decided to expand the scope of the clothing industry and started her retail ladies garments business. "I purchase clothes from the wholesale market and sell it to various households in my locality and adjoining areas," said Rukshana with a smile. Sharmila Bibi, the group secretary, has set-up a beauty parlor business at her home. Rubina Begum and Priyanka Tripathi are exploring opportunities in the retail sector after having set up a grocery shop and fancy items business. The rest of the group members are also on the look-out for such opportunities to increase their income. This has been their journey so far.

Priyanka Tripathi, a group member who has started her fancy items business

"Any future plans group specific wise"?, I asked. The very next moment, all the group members enthusiastically started answering the question together which amused me to a great extent, though I must admit I was unable to understand. Finally, perhaps realizing my predicament, they all stopped and we had a good laugh. Najma Begum came forward and stated that they are building accumulating a portion of their savings to build more capital. They will utilize it to purchase more sewing machines to expand their business as well as to start a ready-made garments business.
It was an enriching and enlightening experience to meet this group for me.  The way the group members have bonded and attained success serves as a lesson and is bound to inspire others. The vast amount of potential in terms of creativity and entrepreneurship skills largely remains untapped. However, with the presence of Milaap, many opportunities are being created thereby enabling more people to achieve their dreams.