The following post was written by our Fellow, Akanksha who is working closely with our field partner, WSDS in Aizawl, Mizoram. Chawimawii Group took a loan of Rs 1 Lakh in July 2013 to start various businesses. Things have not exactly fallen into place, but they haven't let that deter them. Lalchawimawii the group leader wanted to start her weaving business and buy a loom and yarn from the loan that she borrowed. She couldn't start the business on a bigger scale, so she started selling shoes and clothes with the money instead.
One of the group members had taken the loan to rear chickens. She got divorced after two or three months when the loan was taken. She had to leave her husbands' home in Aizawl and go and stay with her parents in the near by village. The business suffered and she was not able to pay her share of installments. Ms. Lalchawimawii says that all the four members decided to pool in their savings to pay for their friend. They have pooled in two thousand each, till now and would be pooling in another two thousand later.
Lalchawimawii buys her shoes from the main market in the city and sells them to buyers in the neighborhood. They range from anywhere between Rs 300 to Rs 1500. This helps her earn a profit of Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000 in a month. She lives with her husband, in-laws and two children who are six and eight years old. She happily informs that she is five months pregnant. The doctor has advised her complete bed rest. This has taken a toll on her business. She also used to drive a scooty around the city to buy and sell her products, but that would not be possible now. She aims to sell enough shoes in the coming months to pay the installments for the loan. She also hopes to start the weaving business after the birth of her child.
For other members of the group, business is going well as they chose to buy pigs and sell petty items in the market. The fourth member, recently gave birth and is unable to run her beauty parlor.