That Tuesday was pretty pleasant. And I found myself in the twin city of Surendranagar: rural Wadhwan. It had taken me about three hectic hours to reach this town. Supposedly, the bus had been running way too late that day.
I was here to meet the group leader Nashimben Muhat and to check on the progress of Ekta Mahila Mandal after they had been provided with a loan of Rs. 1,25,000 by the Milaap community of lenders in order to expand their respective micro businesses. As Nashimben was too occupied with work that day, so I met another group member, Rashidaben instead.
As soon as I entered Rashidaben’s house, the first thing that immediately caught my eye was a computer lying on a table in the corner of that tiny room. I was undoubtedly surprised, because out of all the field visits that I have had, never had I seen a computer in any house. Upon further asking, Rashidaben gladly told me that her son who is pursuing his course to become a C.A. (Chartered Accountant) needed it, so she and her husband bought the computer with their savings.
Rashidaben then divulged into the details of her business and what made her get into it. At a very young age, her father passed away and that was too much for her to bear. It was then that she got involved in the business of selling clothes. This was the only way out to cover the household expenses. She carried a tremendous amount of responsibility on her shoulders at such a young age.
At present, besides selling ready-made garments, she also does Bandhani work (tie-dyeing). She explained the entire process of tie-dyeing, which seemed quite interesting. With her loan from Milaap, she was able to buy a lot of stock in bulk, and now, she is able to earn a sum of Rs. 200-300 on a daily basis from this business.
Her husband is an auto-rickshaw driver. Together, he and Rashidaben wanted to fulfill the dream of seeing their son as a C.A. and so they took another loan. And now seeing their dream come true is turning out to be utterly joyful. Her husband’s income helps in meeting the household expenses, whereas her income helps in repaying the loans.
Rashidaben displays her stock of bandhani dress materials