From Social Workers to Entrepreneurs | Milaap

From Social Workers to Entrepreneurs

I took a bus to Kattaputhur, some 30 kms away from where I live. The journey was lovely with lush green farms on either side of the road since the it had been raining in Trichy district for two weeks, continuously. I met a field officer when I got off at the bus stop who took me to Elagikhan's house, where all the members of her JLG were awaiting my arrival with a hot cup of tea, ready to be served in my welcome. The other members are Anandhavalli, Amutha, Nashiba and Meharbanu. 

Elagikhan and her JLG
Elagikhan (in light blue saree) and others

It's been two months since they availed the microcredit from GMF and started their business. All the members, together, produce masala powder and kundhan jewellery. They also take do stone work in sarees and blouses. They told me they earn close to Rs.1200 a month and they expect this amount to go up with time and experience. Their monthly repayment installment is Rs.800. I asked them what their marketing strategy is, to which they answered that so far they've only relied on relatives, friends and their word of mouth to take orders. They also connect to all the people they know through their Self-Help Groups.
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All these women are part of a Self-help Group called 'Star', for more than twelve years now. They've done a lot of social work as a member and attend regular meetings for the purpose of developing their neighborhood and empowering all the women there. They told me that all the twenty members sponsored one of the member's daughter's wedding, by everyone contributing in cash or kind to the extent of their ability. They also showed me the wedding pictures. Their achievements and initiatives have also been published in local newspapers, the clippings of which were shown to me, with much deserved pride on their part. They all seemed like confident women with a purpose and I am sure they'll turn out to be successful entrepreneurs.
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Elagikhan and others