It was raining quite heavily by the time I reached the small village of Natun Hat, Bakultala in the 24. South Parganas District of West Bengal. We had finally reached the designated meeting place where the women of the group "Belful" were all waiting and quietly chatting with one another. I took a seat on the ground on the large veranda where the rest of the ladies had already gathered. Most of these women had just dropped their children off at the local school and where at the meeting to discuss information regarding their loans with the DCBS loan officers. after some formalities I was introduced to Mrs. Angina Mandal, a local woman who had recently applied for a loan through DCBS and Milaap.
Angina Mandal had been a member of DCBS for a long time and had been receiving loans to help support her "chikan and zari" embroidery business. However her real passion had always been working with sewing machines and tailoring. "when I was a little girl my mother had taught me how to use a needle and thread and since then I've always been creating something" she explained. After the group meeting I was lucky enough to be able to visit her home from where her and her husband do much of their tailoring work, and observed some of their process. Angina's husband started explaining to me how their business worked. On a weekly basis they receive large quantities of cloth from a local vendor. Angina and her husband then start sewing the cloth together and can produce hundreds of shirts or pants a day. The finished clothing then gets sold back to the suppliers and are ready for sale. Angina's husband stated to me that on a good week they can make up Rs. 1000 per order.
Angina explained to me that they had taken the loan for the sewing machine because there was a lot of demand for their services. With the new sewing machine they were able to double their production and are earning a up to Rs. 3000 more per month. Angina told me that she was glad does not have to constantly worry about being able to afford her son's school fee's and now has some peace of mind. Their future goal is to further expand their business. At the moment they have three sewing machines, but plans are being made to extend the room so they will be able to add a couple more. They also plan to employee at least two more family members through their business and are very excited for the future. Angina and her husband are very grateful for the support they have received through lenders like you. For them, one brand new sewing machine has changed their lives for the better.
Angina Mandal, her husband and their new sewing machine