The day started on a good note. I was in Gandhidham, a small town in the Kutch district of Gujarat; a fabled district that is well known for its art, crafts, music and people. The place had a whole different aura about it. I was accompanied by the branch manager Mr. Prakash. And I was here to check on the progress of Sai Mahila Mandal, a group led by Dhanvantiben Shirokha, after they had borrowed an enterprise loan from Milaap’s community of lenders.
Dressed in a bright blue saree, Dhanvantiben was busy chopping vegetables when we stepped into her house. Her mother-in-law with was helping her along. After the initial greetings, the conversation among us started flowing smoothly. A couple of months back, Dhanvantiben had taken a loan of Rs. 15,000 from Milaap for expanding her business of selling readymade garments. She has been running this home based business for a year now and she is mainly into selling childrens’ clothes. With the loan she could buy a lot of stock in bulk and it also helped her in increasing her overall monthly income.
“The profit not only helps me with meeting the household expenses but even with the funding of my childrens’ education,” she said with a broad smile plastered over her face.
I could see the pride in her eyes when she added that all her children: three daughters and a son, study in English medium school. For her that was of utmost priority. Dhanvantiben is able to save Rs. 1500-2000 on a monthly basis. And she wishes to expand her business further.
She further added that she wouldn’t have been able to run this business successfully without the support and encouragement from her mother-in-law. She gave a coy smile as Dhanvantiben spoke words of appraisal about her.
Dhanvantiben is one among those rural women in Gujarat who are extremely hard-working and devoted. Their sheer sense of willingness is highly inspiring.
Dhanvantiben with her 8-year-old daughter