It was 2 p.m. But still the sun was nowhere in sight. The dark clouds had veiled it completely. After the intense downpour that Gujarat had witnessed in the past few days, it seemed like today wouldn’t be any different. I was in Chandkheda, an area that lies west of the Sabarmati River in Gujarat. And I was here to meet Bhavnaben, the group leader of Nirali Mahila Mandal, a Joint Liability Group.
Bhavnaben, a 46-year-old woman, gave me a coy smile as I stepped into her house. That smile was an attempt to hide the nervousness that she felt; I sensed that. But after she learnt that I was just here to check on how the loan had benefitted her, she comfortably divulged into the details of it. All the uneasiness vanished into thin air.
Bhavnaben used to work as a hospital cleaner before she learnt about Prayas. Prayas is one of the field partners of Milaap in Gujarat and works for various causes; empowerment of women being one of the major ones. With the loan from the organization, Bhavnaben started her business of selling sarees a few months back. And now she is able to save a sum of Rs. 1500 on a monthly basis.
“This business is far better and satisfying then my earlier job,” she said with a smile.
Bhavnaben lives along with her two elder brothers and mother. And she started this business mainly with the intention of being independent and self-reliant. Now that she has achieved it, she feels contented.
Bhavnaben displays her stock of sarees